7/21/17

Learning is a Lifestlye

Most people today spend the first 20 or so years of life in some sort of educational setting. Pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, trade school, college, junior college, community college, vocational school... the list goes on and on, and I bet anyone reading this has been to more than one of these schools. Clearly education and learning are a crucial components of our modern society (that or else we are really wasting a lot of our time), but that doesn't mean learning has to stop once school is over. Attending a school is not the only way to learn, and finishing school does not signify the finish line for learning. To be successful in any aspect of your life, personal finance or not, learning is a life-long habit you need to pick up ASAP!




What's in it for me?

The benefits of learning can vary drastically from person to person, certification to certification, and degree to degree, but there are a few benefits that are almost universally true.

Increased Job Opportunities and Career Advancement

The more diplomas, degrees, and certifications you have, the better chances you have at landing a job; plain and simple. I'm not necessarily suggesting that you quadruple major at college, or seek out every certification at vocational school, but the point is if you further your current education in a field of interest, there's a damn good chance you'll qualify for a job you otherwise might have had trouble getting. The same holds true for your current job, too! Taking extra courses and classes shows your employer you want to grow, and it can help qualify you for that promotion you deserve. If you're lucky, some employers will even pay (or help pay) for you to continue your education. If this opportunity is available at your workplace, take advantage of it!

Don't Fall Behind; Stay Trendy

Today more than ever we live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. Regardless of the industry you work in, shit is changing, and it is changing fast. Many schools, colleges, magazines, books, and conferences are on the forefront of these changes, and have experts devoted to preparing people for the future of the working world. Whether you want to pursue a full MBA program, or just want to brush up on your management skills, get out and exposure yourself to the most recent industry trends.

More Than Just Your Job

Sure, learning has a lot of "formal" benefits that are geared towards career growth (and more money), but that's not all. In my opinion, learning has even more informal benefits that make it all the more worthwhile. Here are my top 5 informal benefits of learning:

  • Open your mind - believe it or not, there is more than one school of thought in this world. Learning something may introduce you to a new perspective and enhance your point of view.
  • Deeper conversations - don't get me wrong, I certainly don't mind light conversations about sports and traveling. But deep down, the inner-nerd in me loves talking about deeper, more complex topics, too. Alex and I spend quite a bit of time talking about video games and sports, but as we've continued to learn over the years, we often find ourselves talking about career goals, corporate culture, investing, and whole slew of other boring topics. Continuing to learn about topics of interest will allow you to make deeper connections with those around you.
  • Develop new skills - what's better than learning something new? Learning how to do something new. It's one thing to become more informed about a topic, but it's even better if you can take that information and convert it into action.
  • Live longer - I'm not a medical professional or a scientist, but a quick Google search will show you a handful of articles that connect continued learning with longer life expectancy. In my opinion, an active mind = a young mind. 
Alex and I wanted to claim that reading Smart Money Seed will lead to a higher life expectancy, but our lawyers advised us otherwise.
  • Feel good - at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs is Esteem and Self Actualization. In layman's terms I think this equates to feeling accomplished and achieving one's full potential. What better way to reach these needs than continuing to learn? Whether you're learning advanced calculus or how to change a tire, understanding and mastering a new concept will make you feel good.

Keep It Fun and Easy

All too often learning is associated with a boring classroom and a teacher with a monotone voice. Don't let this stereotypical image stop you from embarking on a journey that could change your life; keep learning fun and exciting. Here are two essential keys to keep learning enjoyable.

1. Find Something You Love

First things first, you need to find something you're passionate about. If you don't, you're going to waste your time. Take some time to reflect on what motivates you and what interests you before you buy a new book or subscribe to a magazine. It's easier said than done, but focusing on your passion will drive you towards success.

2. Learn With Friends

Learning doesn't have to be a solo game; in fact, learning with people you know will probably give you a deeper, more meaningful understanding than learning alone. Convince a friend or co-worker to learn with you and I bet you'll end up having a lot more fun, too.

As simple as it sounds, if you follow these two steps, I doubt you'll have many regrets! Alex and I follow both of these steps almost every day by managing this blog. Yes, we know know we are nerds, but we really do love budgeting, career development, and goal setting; and finding ways to equip our generation with the tools to be the most successful generation ever really does drive us. In my experience, running a blog solo would be unbelievably hard (props to the solo bloggers out there), but being able to lean on Alex has made blogging really fun.

Do What Works for You

Outside of this blog, I strive to learn on an every day basis. I read other blogs, watch documentaries, listen to podcasts, and read books (admittedly infrequently, but I'm working to improve!). In addition these forms of media, I also frequently seek the advice of mentors, family and close friends.

To really optimize your learning, you have to find what works for you. Learning doesn't have to take place in a classroom; it is simply a habit you can start practicing right now. Do what works for you, and make learning a part of your day!










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