Children are new to the learning process. They constantly see and experience things for the first time. They pause to listen to noises, try things over again until they master it, observe language until they can speak it and ask if they don’t know what something means. As we grow, we identify other ways to efficiently gather information. However, with this, we sometimes stop paying attention to the details in our everyday lives that could provide us with fresh insight and information. Consider these tips on how to rekindle this childlike process for obtaining knowledge.
Take Time to Observe
Start paying more attention to the things around you. Take time to appreciate the clouds in the sky. Pay attention to how your coworker’s day is going. Become aware of the people you are in line with at the checkout counter. Have a purpose in your observation, whether it’s to better understand human nature, be more effective with your time or gain appreciation for others.
Coming across things you have not seen or experienced before can help you appreciate things like a child. Hike on a new trail, visit a place you’ve never been or try a different route to work. Look at the things you see every day with a new eye. Consider how you would perceive them if it was the first time you’d ever noticed them.
Learn From Everyday Moments
Pause to think about the things you do every day. This can be a good practice if you feel you don’t have much opportunity to learn new things, or if you feel you are not progressing in your lifelong pursuit of education. Assess what you have learned during your day. For instance, did a conversation not go as well as you planned? Evaluate what went well and what could have been different. Consider how you can avoid a similar situation in the future. Write down the knowledge you have gained in a journal and review them occasionally. See where you have made improvements and how you have grown from these experiences.
Model Other People’s Good Qualities
Start paying attention to the good qualities in others. Make a list of these traits and determine how you can emulate them. Work on the qualities one by one until you master them.
Take Time to Read
If you are busy, which most people are, look for ways you can incorporate reading into your schedule. Listen to audio books in your car, read on the bus, take a couple minutes of your lunch break or put a book next to your bed where you can read a couple pages before you go to sleep.
Try different genres. Ask people what their favorite books are and read them—not only will you gain more knowledge from the books, but you will learn more about those around you by understanding the books they like. Study famous and influential people and events in history. Read both fiction and nonfiction. Do some research on the life of the author. Find out what world and local events were taking place at the time the book was written.
Talk to Others
Share with others the things you are discovering, whether it’s something you read in the news or heard about in another conversation. By talking about what you are learning, you can better understand and retain the knowledge you gain. It can also help you to discover fresh perspectives.
Be a Hands-on Person
Find a new creative outlet. Research how to prune rosebushes and practice on the ones in your yard. Follow instructions on how to cut tile and create a mosaic table. Take something apart to ascertain how it works. Enroll in a continuing education course on NorthOrion such as photography, ceramics, yoga or bowling.
However you decide to do it, incorporate learning into your every day routine. Select those methods that come natural to you. Be willing to look at gaining knowledge as a child does, unembarrassed and optimistically. You may find that you can gain their same enthusiasm.
Byline: Kimberly Bowen, NorthOrion Staff Writer (www.northorion.com)
I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.