How to Become a Lifelong Learner

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SUMMARY

Do you love learning? If you just graduated or passed a certification exam, you may feel ready for a long break.

But I want to encourage you to keep going. Learn to love learning. That’s the secret. It’s the learning process that often provides the most enjoyment anyway.

Which of the following scenarios would make you feel happier, more satisfied:

  1. A helicopter drops you off at the top of a very tall mountain.
  2. You research and purchase all of the necessary equipment and plan your route up the mountain. It takes you several days, you have some setbacks, but you finally make it to the top of the mountain.

Again, it’s not the top of the mountain, the achievement, that provides you with the most happiness and satisfaction. It’s the process, the planning and the setbacks that give you the purpose and pride that your heart desires.

Of course, not everything will be interesting to you, but this is where it gets fun—finding out what you are interested in. Discovering an interest, such as carpentry, astronomy, gardening, martial arts, whatever it may be, can be the secret to injecting some passion and purpose into your life.

The trick is to find what genuinely interests you and then develop a learning plan.

To help you learn to love learning and get better at whatever subject you choose, here are a few tips:

  1. Learn about something.
  2. Find a mentor:
    1. Does this person have the humility to say, “I don’t know”?
    2. Vet them on their shared belief system.
    3. Vet them on their knowledge (formal or informal education).
    4. Does this person have some success in your area of interest?

A photo posted by Todd Phillips (@todphil) on

And remember, if you can’t find a go-to person in your area of interest, don’t forget about the large amount of resources available on the internet.

Find a blogger, Youtube channel, or other website that you can subscribe to so you get daily or weekly reminders on your topic of interest. This little push will help you move toward your goal on a regular basis.

God gave us a brain; God gave us a mind to be exercised on a daily basis. After all, God created all of this and He wants us to learn about it.

Don’t forget, however, that there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is accumulated facts and learning, but wisdom is knowing what to do, a gift from God. Even wisdom, however, can vex the spirit:

“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18).

Solomon was appreciative of the wisdom that he asked God for, but still, this did not fill the need that each of us has, until we are in fellowship with Jesus. Only Jesus is able to bring him the comfort and joy that he desires.

“For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

Here’s your challenge:

Pick something that interests you and find a mentor, in real life or online. Combine your earthly knowledge with divine wisdom.

Let me know what you are interested in learning. Perhaps I can help!

Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact the World for God.

TRANSCRIPT

Hey, this is Todd Phillips, your online pastor and personal life coach, talking today about How to Become a Lifelong Learner.

One of the things that I tell my kids—I’ve got a 17, a 15, and a 13-year-old—ever since they were old enough to talk, I’ve been telling them, “Listen, you’ve got to learn to love to learn and learn how to learn.”

  1. Love to learn and learn how to learn.

And I’ve tried to instill that in my children because we really do, we were created by God to become lifelong learners. And some of us get stagnant in that process. We’ll graduate from college or finish a certification if we’re an insurance rep or a real estate professional, and we forget this continuation of learning, not just in our profession but outside of that.

Now, I’ll be quick to sat that the best place to go to learn is the Bible. It gives us wisdom and insight. You know a lot of us can capture knowledge from reading good books and even the Bible but until we apply that knowledge rightly to our life, it hasn’t become wisdom.

[Learn 4 Ways to Gain Wisdom & Understanding]

We’re to be people of wisdom, taking knowledge in the truth of God’s Word, the truth that we learn, and then applying it rightly to our lives. So it starts with the Bible, but I want to expand it a bit further and I want to just suggest this to you: if you fell stagnant right now in relation to learning; if it’s been a while since you picked up a book or a biography, a fiction or nonfiction, I don’t care what it is; if it’s been a while since you’ve read or watched a documentary, or learned a specific topic or read a blog on a given topic, I would encourage you to just:

  1. Find an area of interest and start moving toward it in a couple of specific ways.

I don’t care if it’s learning a new language or studying astronomy, I don’t know, whatever interests you might have, all of us have interests we’ve talked about or thought about learning more about, but we just never got around to it.

So, let me give you just a couple of real quick things to try to move you toward this attitude of being a lifelong learner in any area.

  1. Learn about something

That’s right, just anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be a silly thing or a serious thing—it doesn’t make any difference, but I’d encourage you to do this: if you’ve got an interest in say learning Spanish, or Chinese, another language, or you have an interest in astronomy, or you want to know more about gardening, begin to read and find information today online. Online, there’s so much information available on every topic under the sun.

[Here are some of my Favorite Online Bible Resources]

We can find just two or three blogs even that we can subscribe to that will feed us and drip us information on a regular basis on the thing that we have an interest in, and we can start learning about that. (If you’re not subscribed to my weekly devotionals and insights, you can subscribe here).

And because of the way that computers work and technology works today, you could push that, you could opt to push that information to you. So when you get up every day, there’s new information on that area of study.

The second thing is this: regardless of what the topic is:

  1. Try to find someone in your life that knows more about that topic than you do.

That go-to person that you can ask questions about. Now, this isn’t always something that’s available. You may be wanting to learn more about gardening and you don’t know anybody personally that does any gardening, so you’re having to do that purely on your own.

But there’s a lot of times when someone wants to learn more about the Bible for example. They can find someone who’s further along in their faith with God—who is further along in their study of the Bible—that can be their go-to person.

And every one of us, if we can find that in our area of interest—regardless of what that topic, that area of interest is—having that go-to person that we can talk to, that we can ask questions to, that we can get real-time responses from. It’s a huuuge, exponential help in helping us to learn whatever subject we’re trying to learn, and become, and stay a lifelong learner.

Now, this is really important. When you’re looking for that go-to person, there’s a couple of things that I want to mention about how to find that person and how to vet them if you will, to see if they’re the right person to be your go-to guy or go-to girl. Number one:

  1. Does that person have the humility to say, “I don’t know”?

You know, one of the things that we need to be concerned about is someone who thinks they know everything about anything, right? All of us need to learn something about everything, so whether that made sense or not, here’s the bottom line: we’ve got to find people who have humility to be able to say, “I don’t know.”

And that’s an important thing—so number one, see if they’ve got the humility to say “I don’t know” about a certain area that subject you’re wanting to learn more about. But number two, also:

  1. Vet them on their shared belief system.

This is really important. So, for example, if you’re a Christ-follower, you want to make sure you’re talking to someone who has the same belief system, the same set of values and beliefs and principles that you do, so we’re not arguing about those foundational issues. We’re able to move past that onto the area, the subject, that you have an interest in.

Number three, their education:

  1. You want to see that they’re further along, either formally or informally, based on this topic that you have an interest in.

And finally, number four:

  1. They’ve got some success in your area of interest.

So they’re not just looking into it like you are, but they’ve had some success in this area of interest that you want to learn about.

So again, you want a go-to person and you want to vet them based on humility, based on shared belief systems, based on their education and showing some success in the area that you’re interested in.

So as you’re doing that, this will help you to become a lifelong learner. And remember, if you can’t find that person, there’s so much information online, you can begin to push towards you on a regular basis to allow you to learn more about your areas of interest.

God gave us a brain; God gave us a mind to be exercised on a daily basis. And we’re going to find the most fulfillment in life if we can learn to be lifelong learners about any subject under the sun. Because after all, God created all of this and He wants us to learn about it.

Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact the World for God.


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