Learning is an endless because we never stop learning.
If you ever thought that you were finished learning, think again cause learning never stops. You stop going to school at some point, but that isn’t the end; instead, that is the beginning of a different type of learning.
We are so used to associating learning with school that we sometimes forget that education is so much more than sitting in a classroom. This doesn’t mean that school doesn’t matter; instead, it is to say that school prepares us for learning more in the real world.
Have you ever thought that you were finished learning?
Learning Never Ends, it is a Life-Long Process
For some reason, we often think that learning starts when we go to school and ends when we leave, but that has never been the case. If anything, going to school teaches us how to get started with learning, rather than being the only place where we learn.
These days my daughter has complained about school; she regularly says things like, “I don’t want to learn my letters.” Yet, at the same time, she loves to tell us about all the letters she recognizes while we are driving in the car or looking at books. For obvious reasons, when we are kids, we associate learning with going to school. Of course, this makes sense because this is the only learning we are aware of, or at least as kids, that is how it seems.
On the other hand, my daughter loves to go for hikes on the weekend, and she loves to climb rocks and play by the lake. This is a fun time when she gets to do what she wants, but what she doesn’t realize is that she is learning. Undoubtedly the things that she is learning may be a little abstract, but they are important skills that will help her throughout her life. Walking on rocks and keeping your balance may seem like a silly thing, but it is a pretty useful skill.
In many ways, this is the sort of learning that never ends; when we go to elementary school, we learn how to be students and learners.
School is more about teaching us how to fit into society than anything else.
But when we get to high-school, we learn more about our skills and what we want to do with our lives. After this, we decide where we want to go next, are we going to train for a job or learn something theoretical.
But even this training is still only the tip of the iceberg. When I went to college, I learnt about building websites, which was helpful because it gave me the skills I needed to get a job. But once I started my first job, I realized that I knew nothing about anything important. I also learnt that getting a job at a company that seems cool is fun, but it is also important to think about how that company will make money.
After my first couple of jobs, I landed a job at a decent company that was making money and required someone like me. After being there for a while, my manager told me he wanted me to be responsible for accessibility. At first, the idea of this was scary cause everything I looked at online was confusing and hard to understand. But after I did some more learning and training, I got a lot more comfortable with it.
Many years later, it is my full-time job, but I am still learning about it every day. I’d say I’m pretty good at it, but there is still so much that I don’t know and could learn. However, I suspect that many people go through the same sorts of things. People go to school, for one thing, they use that education to get a job, then they start learning about new things on the job.
For this reason, it seems like we never stop learning, and if we do stop learning, then there might be something wrong.
Learning never ends because there is always something new to learn or get better at. On top of this, there are always things that we don’t know that we don’t know.
What is important is the need to stay curious; if you are curious, you will always have a reason to learn more because there will always be new things to discover. You probably know someone who thinks they know everything, they may even talk like an expert, but they most likely never ask questions.
If anything, this is a sign that they aren’t curious and aren’t especially interested in learning things, so how smart can they be?
Have A Growth Mindset
One way to ensure that learning is never-ending is to cultivate a growth mindset. Some people want to look smart, so they focus on what they know rather than learning what they don’t know. This tends to mean that they avoid challenges, give up when things get hard, and see effort as a waste of time.
On the other hand, people who focus on growth will see challenges as something to be embraced.
They will also look at challenges as something temporary that they can get past and be stronger as a result of. Finally, when it comes to effort, they realize that practice and learning will make them better off in the long run, so they step up to challenges and embrace the unknown whenever possible.
The basis of these two different types of mindsets comes down to how people look at intelligence and skills.
When people believe that intelligence is fixed or that they are born smart, then they don’t have any reason to try harder.
Whereas, when people think that intelligence is something that can grow, they are more open to improvement over time.
To be fair, there are things that we have no control over, as certain aspects of intelligence are outside of our control. But this doesn’t mean we have to limit ourselves to a fixed mindset.
If we believe that we can improve, and there is no reason not to, then focusing on a growth mindset will be better in the long run.
Learning only ends when we give up on it, but you must also realize that learning never ends through your own experience. Look at what you know today, compared to what you thought when you were a child; I’d hope that the gap is immense.
How To Encourage Learning that Never Ends
One mistake that parents sometimes make is telling their kids that they are smart. These words of encouragement, while thoughtful on the surface, actually suggest that the success wasn’t related to the effort that was taken.
It takes a lot of practice for kids to get their letters right, so saying they are smart ignores all the hard work they put into learning.
Another way of looking at this is to focus on practice and effort rather than inborn skill. When kids play sports, they might look at their performance in two ways, either 1) they practiced a lot, or 2) they were good from the start. The goal is to focus on the practice and downplay innate skills.
No doubt, there are things that we can’t control that contribute to our skills and abilities. Our parent’s abilities will give us hints to our own, but this doesn’t mean we are locked into being the same as our parents. If we focus on learning being an endless process, we will know that we can always improve.
Our efforts can lead to success if we can convince ourselves that improvement is possible.
When it comes to learning, we have a choice, do we want to see ourselves as fixed things that don’t change or do we want to see ourselves as dynamic systems that are ever-evolving? The choice is straightforward if you believe that you can keep learning, so be sure to focus on developing a growth mindset rather than a fixed one.
What are you doing to encourage a growth mindset in your own life?