learning habits

Why Great People Never Stop Learning


Image courtesy of Hapal

As infants, we’re presented with a strange new world to discover. And with nothing else to do, we dive in headfirst, devoting all our time to learning how to use our five senses. At first we appear completely hopeless, not even realizing that our arms and legs are parts of our body. But soon enough, we start figuring some things out. Within a few months, we learn how to recognize faces better than a computer can. Our rate of learning in those early days is truly extraordinary if you think about it.

As kids, the world is our classroom. First we learn some basics like how to sit Indian style, how to hold a crayon, how to cross the street, and how to share. Not to mention learning thousands and thousands of words. We get older and learn about Romeo and Juliet, World War II, and photosynthesis. Every year, we can look back on ourselves the year before and be amazed at how much we’ve learned. In college, things get a lot more specialized, but we’re still continuing to learn all that we can.

And then, we just stop.

42% of all college graduates never read another book again. Ever. But continuous learning is vital to making the most of what the world has to offer. You could say that it’s what separates us from the animals. And there is evidence to suggest that it plays a role in staving off mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Here are some ways to make sure you don’t break the habit of learning that most people abandon after graduation.

Travel

Surveys show that a fifth of Americans can’t find the U.S. on a world map. And I’ve heard some Americans say they don’t know where Canada is (hint: up). If people have such a horrible knowledge of geography, I have to think that they probably haven’t traveled much.

Go visit a foreign country, where you’ll be forced to learn a new culture. It’s bound to be a shock to find that not everyone does things the way you’re used to, and a culture shock means a learning experience. Even domestic travel can provide new opportunities, as you get used to a new way of life in a different part of the country.

Take up a new hobby

Simply beginning a new hobby can open you up to a brand new world waiting to be discovered. Wine tasting, skiing, golf, painting…the possibilities are endless. You’ll learn the intricacies of a new craft and meet new people. And these people might be very different from you, giving you more opportunities to learn new things.

Read books

You probably have a library very close to home that’s paid for with your tax dollars. If you just go there and read one book, you’ll be ahead of 42% of all college graduates. If you prefer to read the latest books and have a little money, there’s no shortage of bookstores, not to mention Amazon. Reading is a cheap form of entertainment with practically no risk of injury, and it boosts your brain power a lot more than watching TV.

Read the newspaper

While I’m not a fan of being inundated with the excessively negative news that everyone seems to think is so important, you might consider some other parts of the newspaper (in print or online). Beyond the stories about who was murdered last night or how the economy is destroying your standard of living, there’s this often overlooked part called the Arts section. Here you can read insightful articles on a wide variety of topics that you might not know much about. Best of all, you can read it without feeling depressed.

Read blogs

Obviously, you already do this. There are countless people out there sharing their knowledge on a huge range of niches, and anyone can find plenty of blogs that interest them. Because you can leave comments, blogging offers a level of interaction that can’t be matched by books.

Final thoughts

After you finish school, you’ll never again have someone giving you homework. And while you probably spent many years looking forward to that, it’s important to realize that learning is a big part of what makes life interesting. When your learning is self-directed, it can be a lot more fun than school was. You were given a large brain for a reason. Use it.

 

Hunter Nuttall wants you to stop sucking and live a life of abundance. Visit his site to learn how to improve your life and your income.

  • http://meshugavi.com Avi Kaplan

    I’d add the value of continued professional learning to keep up on innovations and developments in one’s professional life and industry. Some great ways to stay current and keep your thinking fresh include reading industry publications, attending events, and participating in peer email lists relevant to your work. Thanks for sharing.

  • Eric Doi

    I was shocked when I saw the statistics you noted for college students not reading, ever, after graduation. I looked around for where you got that number, because I am skeptical. However, then I thought about myself. How often do I really read books that aren’t related to school (I’m still in college)? I read a couple of novels this summer… and that is the most recent. I guess it really is easy to go through life without reading books.

    But I love reading. I just always put it at low priority.

    I have found blogs to be very engaging reading material. Such as this one. Thanks!

  • http://www.internet-home-phone.com Frank Costello

    I read and blog on a daily basis. Blogging is almost as srimulating as being in school. Every day, I learn something new.

  • http://ourbestversion.com Ari Koinuma

    Hunter,

    Good one! I know I intend to keep learning until the moment I leave this place. That’s the great thing about life — learning new things. I can’t imagine not reading a new book, for example.

    Another thing I recommend is pick up a musical instrument. So what if you suck at first — all of us do. I am grateful everyday for my guitars — that’s an instrument I can play a lifetime and still never run out of new things to do with it. Totally awesome.

    ari

  • http://www.themasterssecretkey.com candace

    We all can learn each and every day. The opportunity is there if we take it.

  • http://www.healthmoneysuccess.com Vincent

    Hi Hunter,

    I was shocked when I saw the stats, “42% of the people who left college never pick up another book again.” I was wondering how can they have personal growth when they stop learning from books or audios? To learn is one of best human traits that we can find in ourselves and often the journey of learning is pleasurable.

    Cheers
    Vincent
    Personal Development Blogger

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Sir Richard Steele

  • http://www.balancedexistence.com Stephen

    That is crazy on the “42% of all college graduates” stat! I would never have imagined that being so. Craziness.

    I agree on the travel point you made. Travel is an experience in constant novelty. Novelty forces us adjust our internal representation of the world to accommodate the new information.

    Well it should. Some people do their best to ignore anything contrary to their current internal map of thing.

    Cool article. Thanks for sharing!

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  • http://www.coachingfromspirit.com Sharon Wilson

    Really Enjoyed this Post- Great Insight. Thank you!

  • http://www.memorystrategy.com/ Kenny from Memory Strategy

    I’ve found that as I’ve grown older, I’ve regretted not learning more when I was younger. I love the ideas you’ve listed here. What I like to do with lists I read on blogs like this one, is pick out the things I don’t do and concentrate on them one at a time.

    For this one, I definitely want to travel. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And while I have quite a lot of hobbies, it wouldn’t hurt to start yet another one.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.codeflow.co.za Juliet

    Yes
    Keep trying things you’ve never done before…even if they don’t particularly interest you initially.
    Juliet

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  • http://www.netmarketing.com.mx Jorge R

    Well, I have a personal thought.

    I’m this kind of person, I been always looking new things, the routine kills me, right now I’m employee and now I’m learning how to achieve financial freedom.

    This post is a great advice, keep learning and above all use your new knowledge. I think that too much knowledge without intention it is useless, I mean, if you learn something use it, take action.

    You say take up a new hobby, like playing golf, then I say, learn how to play golf then be the best player.

    Regards.

    Jorge.
    From México.

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  • neha

    Its a great blog for those who think that learning is not a part of adult life…..
    “learning is a continuous process”

  • http://www.geocities.com/moonwindstarsky/unschooling Ali

    “When your learning is self-directed, it can be a lot more fun than school was.”

    This is why I support democratic education and democratic schools. Autodidacticism allows people to pursue what they’re interested in – as opposed to being ingrained with something rote and not meaningful to them. School must likely crushes the desire to learn.

  • http://www.girlatastartup.wordpress.com girlatastartup

    I feel like I learn more now than during school because I tend to read blogs that actually interest me. That’s the key. Find subjects that get you fired up, and then you just learn via osmosis

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  • Trevor Page

    Hey, When I look up all I see is space. You might want to say Canada is North. Never stop learning.

  • http://mindsparkebrainfitnesspro.com Rajat (Brain Fitness Pro User)

    Hello Hunter. Thanks for sharing this article with us. You are right; one should never stop the learning. No learning means any human growth and success. I have got one great software program which helps me to keep me learning, by keeping my brain active and fit. I will like to share my experience with you on this software. Human brain can perform very well in even older ages and this is possible if we put our brain on some special training. For past couple of weeks I have been using is “Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro”; a very popular brain training software. I use it regularly for 30-45 minutes. It forces us to use eye-ear and hand in co ordinance and forces brain to see, hear, remember and act simultaneously. In starting, it is difficult to clear the stages in this software but after practice I realized though I couldn’t clear its 6 stage yet, it has changed my brain in various areas. My sluggishness and stress level has run far away from me. I realize that I can use my brain for multitasking than my other colleagues. The software improved my memory, remarkably. Its really great product; those who want to use their brain more effectively, should use this software.

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  • http://www.HzJeep.com Soul Ease from HzJeep

    Keep learning from anything that you can learn from, until your dying day. Every era has its own challenges, so don’t get left behind by the new eras.

  • http://www.leadcap.net nibras

    Leaders (everyone is a leader) should be with a ‘L’ board. ‘L’ is for Learning. Learning from a grain to plane.

  • http://twitter.com/Themelis_Cuiper Themelis Cuiper

    Hello Hunter you are right
    Use it or lose it for rest rusts to rot.

    If You do not want to get depressed mind numbed zombified behind the geraniums you should start to serve your kids, the kids who hang on the corner or your grand children. Read out loud for them.

    Teach them to paint, how a motor works, how to play the recorder, quitar or piano, what aerodynamics has to do with kytes and wind, that backing brownies can setup an economical micropayment model while being green and that it is possible to read from left to right and the end of the line backwards to the front again while knowing what you read, and that reading the hut of uncle Tom is fun when you make voices.

    I studied psychology and economics.
    Shure thinking everyday is hard work.
    After 40 years of hard work, a man retired with $9,000,000, which he had gained through courage, diligence, initiative, skill, devotion to duty, thrift, efficiency, shrewd investment, and
    the death of an uncle who left him $8,999,999.50

    Thank you for your article,
    Themelis

    You can follow me on twitter
    @Themelis_Cuiper

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  • http://mikekey.com Mike Key – Entrepreneurial Ninja

    Great, short and simple post. Learning should be a life long process. Most people just get plugged into the TV and stop learning. I believe that’s why we have so many people with brain problems when they are older.

    People who learn and continue to use the brain regularly have been shown to live longer healthier lives.

  • http://www.hild-tuning.de/shop/VDO-Geber-Sensoren/VDO-Oeldruckgeber öldruck

    Keep learning from anything that you can learn from. Thats very helpfull.

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  • http://www.rechungen-online-erstellen.de Rechnung online schreiben

    Great photo, this shows how wonderful live can be.

  • http://www.easyflirt.de Flirt

    … cause knowledge is power. Thats all what i can say and that’s my opinion. Thanks.

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  • http://www.treppenlift-treppenlifter.de Treppenlift

    Surveys show that a fifth of Americans can’t find the U.S. on a world map. And I’ve heard some Americans say they don’t know where Canada is (hint: up). If people have such a horrible knowledge of geography, I have to think that they probably haven’t traveled much.

  • http://www.cookserv.de Catering

    The more you learn the easier your life is, that’s just to simple :)

  • http://www.diamantaquarien.de Aquarium komplett

    Yes, thats true. Nice article by the way :D

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  • http://www.bellacasa-travel.com Michael Sommer

    Keep trying things you’ve never done before…even if they don’t particularly interest you initially.

  • http://www.vervoorts.de Rachel

    Learning by doing is the best way i think. Nice post

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  • http://www.jahnke-schneider.de dwinger

    Thanx a lot for this wonderful article …!

  • http://chickbud101.blogspot.com Toni Rose

    This is like the same reason why I put up my blog Learner Forever :)

    as an education student, we learned that the main goal of teachers isn’t really to teach students the subject matter. but to teach the students the discipline of the subject. they don’t just learn history or math. but what’s important was the process they used for learning…

    that is so that when they leave school.

    and they want to find out about a certain something or learn about something, they can do it on their own without the help of a teacher.

    in simplest words.. teaching the students to be a learner forever :)

    Toni

    http://chickbud101.blogspot.com
    htpp://chickbud.blogspot.com

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  • C Nishina

    Its important to keep learning. I made the switch from Civil Engineering to Software Development. I never thought I’d be back in college but I never stopped learning new things / reading books / constantly challenging myself.

    “42% of all college graduates never read another book again” is a sad statistic. I was there for a while when Halo was released. Thanks for sharing!

    Craig
    http://www.nishina-designs.com

  • Trenamanr

    I could not agree more  http://www.neverstophotspot.com

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  • http://rmctech.net Ryan Critchett

    Love this. It really is that simple. LEARN! To me, as a millennial, it blows my mind to see people that haven’t discovered that learning is like, one of the most awesome things to do, EVER! But I think that’s exactly the problem, they haven’t discovered that. This is because they don’t really know themselves (or their brains). 

    For me, this huge spike in ambition, forward motion and continual evolution, happened when I started to learn my mind and my self more. Meditation, deep thinking and trying a lot of things. :) 

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  • Z-ac-123

    u smart mofo!!!!!!!
     

    • Z-ac-123

       see i now, im afraid to stop knowing, but people jus don’t realize. but ive lost it continue to lose it… yet some remains

  • Full On Mode

    Learning and gaining experience makes life exciting. After all routine make things “colorless”. Great article

  • http://www.facebook.com/CaptainDaniels Aaron Daniel Williams

    Great read, I sometimes think that I may be addicted to learning, I spend so much time reading blogs and doing online research into teaching myself new things. I enrolled myself into some Coursera classes and am so excited about learning new stuff. I find that it is really disappointing that most people spend most or all of their free time entertaining themselves  and engaging in distractions. Not that you shouldn’t have fun or entertain yourself, but this is all they do, and they are content with it. It is strange to me to see someone without ambition to educate themselves to produce their own ideas and works.

  • Gonzalez Nestor

    Great post and yet so simple i used to draw and i was pretty good at it. I know that by not doing something, I’m wasting talent others wish they jad

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  • Dr.T.V.Rao MD

    The great problem effecting many youth in the world is they wish to be consumers of resources on internet and make little contributions of the self,for benefit of many I fell one should not be slaves of some body’s knowledge better to be a creator of many thoughts of self in this free world of expression Dr.T.V.Rao MD Professor of Microbiology

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  • Short Hair

    Good post about Why Great People Never Stop Learning

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