Trustworthy. Kind. Honest. Loyal. Those are all traits I admire in people. I also admire people who are lifelong learners. Recently, I’ve heard that term used quite a bit, and it made me wonder about its meaning. Though there seems to be no single definition of “lifelong learner,” most people would agree that a lifelong learner continues to acquire knowledge and gain new skills throughout his or her lifetime. Lifelong learning implies that education continues after formal schooling has ended. In the words of Albert Einstein: “Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Just like there is no single definition of a lifelong learner, there is also no single way to become a lifelong learner.
Here, though, are a few habits of lifelong learners that I admire and try to replicate in my own life:
– Read often and read from a variety of sources (novels, non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, web sources, journals, etc.)
– Learn new skills. I recently read an article about a 78-year-old man learning to quilt. Now, that’s inspiring!
– Challenge yourself by learning about something you currently know little about.
– Learn or brush up on a foreign language. This can be done through an actual class or with software.
– Take a class. Community education programs offer affordable classes in countless subject areas.
– Attend lectures, readings, and cultural events.
– Discuss issues with others and ask for their opinions. Be willing to listen to new perspectives.
– Never stop asking questions.
### Erika lives in Milwaukie and teaches writing at the University of Portland.