When we think of education, we think of school and college, accompanied by exams and assignments. But when we leave education, we don't think of ourselves 'in education' but in our career.
We no longer take exams, and we no longer set ourselves assignments. We learn what we need to learn when we need to learn it. Personal growth happens through necessity, usually through the requirements of a job role.
We stop learning.
So what are you studying? If you're currently in education this would be a much simpler question to answer. But pay attention to what the future may hold. If you're not in education you might think of the things you're learning but not necessarily studying.
What's the difference between learning and studying. One is about the desired outcome of a new skill or understanding. I'm learning how to paint. I'm learning how to write better. Your measure of success is in the acquisition of a new skill, then it ends.
But to study, you are looking at the subject as a series of unknowns waiting to be discovered. You don't quite know where you'll end up. "I'm studying the art of writing". It feels different. It feels more wholesome, more mysterious and more rewarding when you unlock its secrets.
To be a lifelong learner, you need the hunger for curiosity and a discipline to act upon it. Your curiosity will be your guiding compass, while your discipline will be the strategies that you employ to explore it.
The question you need to ask yourself is what is it that you're doing to be a true life long learner. Reading books is a great example. Do you take notes? Do you think deeply on the subject and solidify your understanding by teaching it to others? Do you test your knowledge to find the gaps that you can revisit? Do you focus your questions deep into the material so that you can find answers?
That's what it means to be a lifelong learner.
If you're curious to explore the techniques to become a deep thinker and make your knowledge actionable, then check out my upcoming book Atomic Note-Taking.
Today's 'ah-ha' moment is that we may think of ourselves as continually learning, but framing it in the context of what we're studying has a much more wholesome shift in mindset. It allows you to develop stronger strategies to become a lifelong learner. You have to truly study the material to become a deep thinker in the topic.