A curriculum doesn’t drive learning; curiosity drives learning.
When we consider the learning pattern of those who are outside of schooling systems, it’s curiosity that drives their learning, not the prescribed milestones of an education system. From Google to TED, from books to stories passed down from our elders, learning is more about readiness than reached milestones.
When our learning is stifled, forced or limited by a curriculum, we can become frustrated and suppress our yearning to learn something new. This is an unhealthy state in which to slip.
When we learn something new, we exercise our brain, improving cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall, and problem-solving.
We become interested in more, and we become more interesting! Adopting this mindset creates fertile ground for healthy decision-making in life, relationships and our finances.
Sahil Bloom, from The Curiosity Chronicle, recently shared a collection of awesome ways to expand our curiosity and become lifelong learners.
Build a learning engine
The “learning engine” is at the core of every lifelong learner. Essentially, it comprises all the knowledge sources that we regularly consume. These could be books, audiobooks, newsletters, podcasts, TED talks, documentaries, blogs… you name it! And, in the last two decades, the internet has opened access to it all.
Avoid noise bottlenecks
Consuming more information does not always equate to knowing more. As you consume more data, you may find the noise-to-signal ratio increases – we call this a noise bottleneck. It slows down our ability to assimilate what we’re learning.
We should consume less, but consume intelligently.
Embrace all styles and levels of learning
There are different types of learning, and there are different levels of learning. Four common learning types identified early on in children are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing.
Most people are a combination of these four styles, but more times than not, we have a preferred learning style. Trying to explore different ways to consume and assimilate information keeps our brains and bodies healthy and helps us move from surface learning (which is quick and easy) to deep learning (which takes more time to mature).
Seek mentors and coaches
Two big challenges to learning are blindspots and the lack of accountability. Coaches and mentors provide a trusted sounding board and hold the space in our lives to spur us on when we’ve been sitting still for too long.
As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Lifelong learners recognize that failures are learning opportunities. They don’t fear them; they embrace them. Failure is not easy, and this is why when we persevere, we grow in strength, skill and knowledge.
Follow Your Curiosity
When you have a spark of curiosity, follow it. From preparing and eating healthier meals to discovering how you can steadily move from living in debt to living in surplus. From learning a new skill or adopting a hobby to expanding your knowledge of how your body, mind, and emotions work, be willing to go on that journey wherever your curiosity drives you.
When our minds are clear, focussed and fit, we can make better decisions. We can see our current situation more clearly and identify the future that we’d like to create.