Keep learning throughout your life to live your dreams.
Growing up, I wasn’t good in school. If I had been going to school today, I think I would have been diagnosed with ADHD. I couldn’t sit still very well, and it was hard to pay attention. I wasn’t sure why I needed to learn what they were teaching us. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from learning things that I was interested in, such as martial arts, and it didn’t prevent me from continuing to learn throughout my life.
Despite my educational beginnings, I believe in education a lot—so much that I founded educational institutions in my homeland of South Korea. We have a school for character education for high school students, as well as an online undergraduate university and an in-person (before the pandemic) graduate school.
The online university, the Global Cyber University, has students of all ages. In fact, the oldest person in the very first class was seventy-four years old. She dreamed of becoming an essayist and attended the school to fulfill that dream.
That’s the biggest reason I hope everyone can educate themselves throughout their lives: because they have dreams and want to live them. Having dreams makes life worth living, even if they are as simple as living long enough to watch our grandchildren grow up.
Rather than simply accumulating information for the sake of having knowledge, to me, education is about developing ourselves. We learn what we need for achieving our goals or being the kind of person we’d like to be. It doesn’t have to be formal; we don’t have to attend a school. Education can come from various sources. What matters is that we keep learning.
Here are some other reasons for continuing to learn throughout our lives:
- Learn about ourselves.
The process and challenge of acquiring knowledge and skills keeps us from getting in a rut and helps us see our habits and limitations. We get to know ourselves.
- Live longer.
Science has found that people who are better educated are healthier and live longer. They have the information and understanding to take care of themselves and to put themselves in higher paying positions and safer environments.
- Avoid depression.
Adults who actively learn have a lower rate of depression according to a report by The Center for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning in the United Kingdom. The other benefits on this list may be the reason why.
- Gain confidence and self-esteem.
When we learn, we stretch ourselves and try new things. In the process, we can improve our ability to adapt and gain confidence and self-efficacy in what we’re learning. It makes us feel more capable.
- Keep up with change.
In a world that changes at an exponentially more rapid pace, learning helps us keep up and not only adapt, but take advantage of new opportunities.
- Become happier.
Learning helps us fight boredom and keeps us interested in what we’re doing. Achieving goals with learning gives us a burst of positive emotions.
- Get our brain in shape.
Learning exercises the brain so that it becomes more agile. It also boosts the density of myelin in the brain, which helps brain signals travel faster between cells.
- Break bad habits.
Learning also involves unlearning what we think we know. As we learn new ways of doing something, we can re-evaluate long-held beliefs and let go of bad habits.
- Expand our social circle.
Even with remote learning, education gives us more opportunities to meet people. It also provides a chance to form communities of similar interests and be around people who challenge us and help us refine our ideas and habits.
- Teach and inspire others.
Teaching is another form of learning, with the advantage of feeling good about having a positive impact on others. The more we learn, the more we can pass onto the next person.
We all have the power to look back on our lives, to reflect, dream, and choose to be a certain way. This power doesn’t disappear as we get older. It can actually grow stronger with age because our life experiences have shown us that we alone can pioneer and take responsibility for our lives. Continuously learning turbo charges this power and helps us become more brilliantly happy and productive.
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- Benjamin Franklin’s Brain Utilization and Human Happiness