12 Ways to Excel at Lifelong Learning

How to Become a Successful Lifelong Learner

cole schafer business blog

A Brief Introduction to Lifelong Learning 

I am extremely adamant about the concept of ‘Lifelong Learning’. This idea that an individual’s education does not end after graduation, but continues throughout the course of their life. The most brilliant people I know in business and in life have continued to be hungry to ‘learn’ in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60's and so on-- constantly working to understand fresh concepts, retain useful information and create new connections in their environments.

Lifelong Learning isn’t about going back to school to receive a master’s degree, in fact it doesn’t have to cost you anywhere close to thousands of dollars. Due to the advanced age we live in today, learning can happen anywhere at anytime.

The business world is constantly changing, in order to be successful we have to continue to stay ahead of a curve-- taking advantage of any opportunity we have to learn something new.

12 Ways to Excel at Lifelong Learning

  1. Podcasts-- I am sure you have heard about them, but I seriously can’t begin to express the depth of their importance and their effects on Lifelong Learning. Podcasts allow you to learn anything you want, anytime you want and wherever you want. I would say that I personally listen to 10 hours of podcasts on a weekly basis; whether it be in the car or while I am working out at the gym. There are podcasts on practically anything you can imagine; relationships, business, religion, stand-up comedy, music theory. You name it, there is a podcast for it. The best part about podcasts? They are free.

  2. Audio Books (Audible)-- Reading is one of the tried and true ways of gaining more knowledge, but not everyone has the time nor the patience to sit down and read a book. In a sense, it is a little bit inconvenient. You can’t read a book while you drive, while you eat or during your workout. Fortunately, Amazon has come up with a solution… Audible; which allows you to listen to any book of your choosing. Here is a 30-day free trial of audible, start your path to Lifelong Learning now!

  3. Blogging-- I am a little bit biased when it comes to blogging, but I believe it is one of the best tools out there for personal growth and lifelong learning. Blogging has allowed me to explore new concepts, it has forced me to research topics I am not privy to, and it has given me the opportunity to become a better communicator. I highly recommend anyone interested in writing to give it a try.

  4. Mastermind Groups-- There is a famous saying; The only difference between you now and you in 5 years is the people you meet and the books you read. In other words, be certain your are surrounding yourself with other Lifelong Learners; individuals interested in adding more wrinkles to that big beautiful brain between your ears.

  5. Books-- If you have the time, there is nothing more enjoyable than sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and a damn good book. If you are in business, I recommend biographies and of course business related texts. But with this, I think it is really important to incorporate fiction into your repertoire. Fiction improves creative ability and they are enjoyable to read, everyone loves a good story. Here is a book I recommend all business men and women read.

  6. Magazine’s-- There is a difference between Entrepreneur and Forbes Magazine verses say, Star magazine. As entertaining as reading about celebrities may be, I don’t foresee a whole lot of learning being done there. With that said, I think the right kind of magazine can be instrumental in someone’s learning, especially if they are looking to stay up to date in a particular industry. Both Entrepreneur and Forbes magazine put out great consistent work, I think they are totally worth exploring.

  7. Netflix-- If you are looking for some pretty kick-ass business documentaries, Netflix is the place to go. After a long 8 hour work day, sometimes the last thing anyone wants to do is pick up a book and read. This doesn’t mean you can’t be productive during relaxation-- kick back, grab a snack and learn something new with a few of Netflix's fantastic documentaries.

  8. ListVerse-- This site is a little less business related, but I still think it can be useful. While it certainly falls more in the realm of entertaining rather than education, spending an hour on Listverse will most definitely result in a head filled with random trivia facts. If you are interested in learning something random and new, Listverse may be the right place.

  9. Medium-- I love Medium; it is basically the social media for writers, readers and thinkers. Tired of seeing the annoying memes and cat videos? Looking for some in depth knowledge written by the world’s top business thought-leaders? Medium. Medium. Medium. Here writers and bloggers share their thoughts on Business, Lifestyle, Tech, Fashion and so much more. An excellent place to learn for a lifetime.

  10. Udemy-- Have you ever heard of the sharing economy? Well Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit are all part of it. Udemy, is no exception. The sharing economy is basically an industry where people are making millions of dollars sharing their homes, cars and knowledge. Udemy, falls under the later, consisting of an online marketplace for virtual instructors that will teach you about almost any subject.

  11. Duolingo-- I think one of my greatest regrets will be that I have never taken the time to learn a second language. I think that language learning is an essential piece of lifelong learning. In the past, this has been impossible due to lack of time combined with shitty language courses. Duolingo has changed this-- their goal is to teach anyone any language for free. Sounds too good to be true? Take a look.

  12. Ted Talks-- What I love about Ted talks is that it finds the top thought leaders in the world to give a concise twenty minute talk over life-changing subjects. YouTube and Netflix have loads and loads of these talks; if you are bored one night, but want to be productive… definitely check them out. You won't regret it.

Lifelong Learning is a simple concept that has an instrumental impact on your business and life's success-- I hope the tips I have shared will assist you in your lifelong journey of learning. 

My best.

By Cole Schafer