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Developing a Life-Long Learner Mindset

Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner? For women, developing this mindset at midlife is empowering and offers many long-term benefits.

I am a voracious reader, I can’t pass up a chance to see a compelling docu-series. If there’s a new workout routine out there (Hello—barre training, core class and kick-boxing!), I have to try it. And so for a long time I totally identified with the concept of being a life-long learner. What I learned recently, however, is that I actually have a long way to go to achieve life-long learner status.

While I do possess several of the 12 traits that are a mark of the life-long learner, I fall short in some areas. Admittedly, I don’t embrace change as well as I could. My passions in life could benefit from some diversity, and I haven’t taken an educationally-based course since my film school days back in 2006.

Thankfully, reading daily is #1 on the list, so I scored some points there. I also actively seek out situations where I feel out of my element with the hope that I will become more comfortable with the benefits of feeling awkward. I now take care of my body with a regular routine of restorative yoga, and a diet of primarily whole foods. (This was one of the things on the list that I was surprised to find, and one I was glad I was already doing.) Now I just have to focus on the rest—and I will, because there are some impressive benefits associated with having such a mindset.

One thing about life is that if you’re not careful you become bored, you give into a sense of inertia, you fall behind in the technical aspects of running a life at its peak, and your self-confidence wanes.

Life-long learning pursuits help renew your sense of wonder by reminding you about what inspires you and what it is that you really like to do, not just what you have to do. In turn, you feel re-energized, less bored and open up to new opportunities. The concept of ‘life’s possibilities’ are re-awakened and you are able to re-focus on them again.

By staying ahead of the learning curve professionally you will retain relevancy and help keep your mind sharp. Life-long learning pursuits can also sharpen your problem-solving, leadership and critical-thinking skills. And personally, life-long learners tend to be more flexible individuals, who are capable of self-reflection and personal growth.

Finally, acquiring additional knowledge and skills just makes you feel more confident. Putting the time in alone to do so reminds you of how empowered and self-disciplined you are, and provides an added sense of accomplishment. Professionally, you’ll have more confidence to trust in your decision-making abilities and in applying what you’ve learned in a practical way.

Now that’s a lot of benefits! It’s probably time for me to look at that list again!

Should you be interested in developing your life-long learner mindset, we have some resources to get you started in this week’s feature on Career Pivots.

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