Life-long learning does not have to mean you are constantly studying, taking on courses, and writing exams for diplomas, degrees, and the likes. Life-long learning can be approached in a holistic manner. By allowing our minds to be open to new options, new ideas, and new ways of doing things, we can be learning all the time.
For some, learning new things is tough, and the best way to get into the mode of learning, is to follow and develop your natural abilities.
We are all born with unique strengths and weaknesses. We all have something we are good at, although many don’t realise it till later in life, and most don’t tap into their natural abilities at all.
Finding what is your perfect match can be a life-long journey in itself, but what a thrilling and exciting process!
Have you ever decided that today was the day to sign up for a course? Today would be the day you start a new learning practice. You are inspired and you get stuck in. By day 3 you are bored and eyeing out the pool, which looks like a much better activity.
It is a scenario many go through, and it is because they have chosen a learning curriculum that doesn’t suit their natural abilities. They are beating against a brick wall, they are trying to fit their square into a round hole, and they are feeling uncomfortable about it.
Sound like you?
Well, then take our 5 steps to, firstly, realising what your natural abilities are, and then finally developing what you are uniquely good at.
What are your Natural Abilities?
First ask yourself these questions in order to ascertain what your skill set is:
- Where am I the most comfortable?
Think of scenarios and situations where you have felt quite at home. Maybe it was sitting having a conversation with a fellow colleague or friend. (you may be a good listener). Perhaps you were thrashing it out with a group of people coming up with a great plan of action. (you may be a good team player, and ideas person) Or, you may feel your most comfortable quietly sitting at your desk, working out a problem, making lists, and creating something. (you may be a true creative)
- What part of a project don’t you like?
Knowing what you don’t like, is also a good way to realising what you do like.
Most projects have a defined process, so look at the steps here and decide which part you wouldn’t want to be involved with-
- Idea Phase
- Planning Phase
- Collation Phase
- Work Phase
- Executing Phase
- Reporting Phase
How can you develop your Natural Abilities?
Now that you know or have a very good idea of what your natural abilities are, you can look to honing and developing said abilities.
- Practice makes perfect
There is no doubt that by repeating something, you will become good at it. Again, if it isn’t part of your natural ability scope, it will take longer. So, by repeating a skill set that you know you are good at, will, not only, be a pleasure, but also come easier to you.
When you are searching through courses to sign up for, make sure the course speaks to your natural ability and skill set. This way, you will not waste your valuable time and money.
- Keep checking that you are engaged and you find purpose within
You may start off very excited to develop this skill you have, but if you find, at any time, that you are drifting off continuously, or lose interest quickly, then you either haven’t found your skill set, or the mode you are using to hone that skill, isn’t the correct one.
Depending on when you are practicing, you need to look at the environment in which you are, the mood you are in, and whether you are tired or not. These aspects can affect your ability to focus on the task at hand, no matter whether it’s a natural ability or not.
Ensure that you find some purpose in the exercise. There are many courses and studies out there that are not very good. They shimmy around the actual point, and you end up feeling frustrated and exhausted. Choosing a good education institute or even the right person to grow your ability, is vital to success.
- Slow and Steady Wins the Race
This is life-long learning, so don’t rush into it. Take small chunks and you will learn so much quicker and retain it better. It should also be enjoyable. You should get a feeling of accomplishment and achievement once you are done. If you land up feeling depleted and brain-dead, then it was too much.
Consider, just signing up for one course at a time, and check that the course material suits you and your timetable.
Good luck and happy life-long learning!