A Lifetime of Learning
They say you never stop learning, and that’s true. Whether or not you realize it every day, your brain is synthesizing and responding to new information. This passive learning plays a significant role in all of our lives. The experiences that we have daily form our personalities and frames of reference for future decisions. However, this article is going to make the argument for why we should actively pursue new and deeper knowledge.
We’ve all seen the caricatures of the eternal student in the media, people who’ve over degreed themselves and compiled supernumerary certifications. Yet, those individuals, often ridiculed, have figured out how to do something many people struggle with for a lifetime. They have figured out how to enjoy learning! I’m not making a case for anyone to go back to school or pursue higher education, but I am making a case for everyone to develop a curriculum for their own lives. I want you to lean into the interests, responsibilities, and passions you already have and become a subject matter expert.
There are two notable reasons why you should actively pursue a deeper knowledge of the things you enjoy: 1) it keeps your mind active and has been linked to keeping your brain healthier through every stage of life 2) having a passion or an interest that you approach in a structured way can yield benefits for your mood and mental health. Additionally, by actively pursuing those interests, you are giving yourself a passion-based purpose. You are providing yourself with the information and skills necessary to take advantage of opportunities that will likely arise. Be prepared to capitalize on those opportunities.
Your pursuits don’t have to be purely academic or technical; they can take any form you choose. For example, if you love Harry Styles’ music, maybe research the inspiration behind particular songs. Do a full-blown lyrical analysis if you want, and if by chance you run into him in an airport, present him with your thirty-page thesis on the subject (okay, maybe don’t do that). The central point is, be intentional about passions and pursuits, and in doing so, you will be prepared for those blue moon moments that will most certainly come.