Lifelong Learning and Health, Wealth and Happiness
The traditional construct of the workplace and the idea of a standard career trajectory have both evolved over the past decade. Gone are the days when workers stayed with the same company, industry or profession for an extended period. People want more from their careers and employers also expect more from their workforce, including transferable and up to date skill sets. As a result, lifelong learning has become of vital importance.
More and more professionals mid-way through their careers are prioritising their learning and development by enrolling in degrees like the MBA, taking short courses, engaging with mentors, pursuing side projects and even taking up new hobbies. These pursuits are just some of the ways individuals can ensure they’re acquiring new knowledge and skills regularly. In addition to the career benefits, a dedication to lifelong learning can also positively impact health, wealth and overall happiness. Read on to learn how.
Learning new skills has long been shown to assist with keeping the brain sharp in our later years. Challenging activities strengthen neural networks that can defer cognitive aging, while less challenging activities like reading have also been shown to have health benefits, such as lowered stress levels across every age group.
An educated person is more likely to exhibit healthy behaviours across the spectrum, from eating better to exercising regularly. Education itself gives people the tools and awareness to evaluate the right health choices for them, as well as opens them up to be more interested in and accepting off new knowledge. After all, it makes little sense to invest in one’s brain and neglect one’s body.
As parents are constantly telling their children, finishing high school is imperative if you want a comfortable life. And the higher up the educational chain you go, the more salary you can command. In Australia, finishing Year 12 represents a 16.5% income rise over a Year 11 graduate, and a master’s degree increases your ability to earn by a whopping 44.6%. But education does more than set you up for a well-paid career; it also lessens your chance of unemployment.
In a world where automaton is set to replace up to 50% of jobs by 2025, lifelong learning is an essential self-investment. Everyone in the workforce needs to keep their skills up to date and learn new ways of navigating a world where technology leads operation and strategy. Those who are willing to keep assimilating new knowledge will be better positioned to withstand the shocks of automaton and see their incomes continue uninterrupted.
The increased income you’ll earn from investing in your knowledge and skills can’t buy happiness, but the process of learning will have positive effects on overall satisfaction and fulfilment. Educational pursuits and a proactive approach to lifelong learning can open up doors to a variety of fulfilling roles, as well as social status and financial independence. But it’s not just the piece of paper on your wall that determines your happiness: the act of learning also contributes.
Learning fuels creativity and innovation, offering satisfaction to the learner. There is a sense of pride in mastering a new concept, applying it in a practical sense and gaining recognition for the outcome. This process engages the learner in acquiring and applying new skills on an ongoing basis, progressively contributing to their confidence and happiness.
Those who are interested in lifelong learning also tend to make excellent conversationalists. That is, they’ll listen as well as talk, and be genuinely interested in the insight others have to impart. A lifelong learner is more likely to seek out mentorships, attend conferences on subjects peripheral to their current job, or take up new hobbies. Their self-esteem and self-efficiency will benefit, leading to a ‘richer’ and more fulfilled life.