I have been very fortunate in my life. School came easy to me. I rarely had to work on school work. I grew up in a small school, and was generally able to finish most of my homework before heading home for the day.
Going through college, I had to make some adjustments. I realized some of my friends could calculate the number of days they could miss class, and plan out how many times in a semester they would sleep instead of going to class, whereas I needed to be in the classroom, listening to the lecture and discussion.
Then I graduated, and was faced with a new realm of life: learning away from the structure of school.
Over the past 10ish years since finishing my masters degree, there are a few things I’m starting to pick up. Oh, who am I kidding. Most of this has developed over the last couple years as I realized I want to develop habits now that will help me continue to grow 30 years from now.
So, here are my three tips to develop a lifestyle of learning:
- Learn From Everything. This comes natural, and it’s something I’ve written about previously (click here to read the post). The concept is simple: in every situation, take mental notes about the systems taking place. Go to football games and watch how coaches interact with players, coaches, officials, and fans. Watch the response by leaders to a public tragedy and ask yourself how you would handle those situations. Allow children to remind and refresh you along the way–enthusiasm, excitement, and growth.
- Learn From Others. Surround yourself with people who are a notch (or three) above you (I have another post about this here). Be curious about what makes them tick, and take the initiative to ask good questions. Be willing to learn from them–quick to listen and slow to speak. I had one interim pastor tell me I may not have the wisdom of an 80 year old pastor, but I can always ask an 80 year old pastor for wisdom. You will be amazed at what you can pick up when you set out to learn from other people.
- Learn From Books. I wrestle with this on a regular basis, because I’m such an auditory learner (I think). The reality is, however, I still learn more when I actually read. I listen to podcasts at an almost nonstop rate, but if I am being honest with myself, the written word is still my greatest retention and implementation strategy. Audiobooks are simpler to finish, but several of the ones I’ve finished lately still deal with being able to see images and diagrams, requiring visual effort. On Thursday, I will share some things that have helped me as I try to make reading a regular part of my life.
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