We’ve all had periods of learning.
But are you a lifelong learner?
Quite frankly, it’s hard to answer that will full accuracy as…well, we all still have more living to do.
However, if there’s any indication of lifelong learners, it is their habits.
If you’re a lifelong learner, you probably have these six.
Let’s dive in.
1) You read regularly
Reading is, without a doubt, one of the most common habits of lifelong learners.
Yes, there are many other ways to learn nowadays, and we will mention some of those later in this post, but reading is still top of the list.
If you are an avid reader, you are in the good company of other people who could only be considered lifelong learners.
- Bill Gates reads 50 books per year.
- Legendary investor, Warren Buffet, read 600 to 1,000 pages per day when beginning his career.
- Mark Cuban reads around 3 hours a day.
- Elon Musk learned to build rockets by reading.
The list goes on.
While reading was obviously going to make the list, the next habit might come as a surprise.
2) You travel
There is no better satisfaction for a lifelong learner than traveling.
I know this from experience.
When I am not writing, I am exploring different countries and the cultures they have to offer.
Originally from Ireland, I now live in Vietnam, which has a lifetime of lessons within its borders. I love exploring the country by motorbike.
I am also fortunate to have spent time in many other countries, including Thailand, Singapore, India, Cambodia, Australia, The US, England, Scotland, Spain, and Portugal.
But I know there’s so much more to see and learn.
Traveling is a different type of learning; learning through experience.
Lifelong learners make it a habit of throwing themselves into the deep end when traveling.
If you are a lifelong learner, you know that cultures and countries other than your own have a lot to teach you.
You learn about new ways of doing things, new perspectives on life. Most of all, you learn more about yourself.
3) You exercise
So this might seem like a strange habit to have here.
What does taking care of your body have to do with learning?
A lot, actually.
If you’ve ever tried to focus for a long time, you will know that the returns are diminishing.
And if you are a lifelong learner, you’ve probably realized that physical exercise is like pressing a reset button.
Taking care of your physical health also helps your mental health. According to an article by Harvard Health, exercise benefits your memory and thinking ability.
Here’s what works for me.
I do some light exercise (usually swimming or golf) first thing in the morning to get my day started, and in the afternoon, I go for a walk.
I read about the benefits of walking in Ryan Holiday’s best-selling book, Stillness Is The Key, and have made a habit since.
As it turns out, it was a habit of countless lifelong learners.
- Author Henry David Thoreau once said, “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
- Charles Darwin is to have taken three 45-minute walks a day.
- Beethoven took a long walk every afternoon.
The list goes on.
I like to walk through a park near my apartment, as a Yale study I read suggests that even a short time in green spaces (2 hours a week) is beneficial for psychological well-being.
If you are big on learning but haven’t yet incorporated exercise into your daily routine, I’d recommend you try it.
4) You take online courses
Do you regularly take online courses?
If so, you may be a lifelong learner.
Yes, I mentioned reading as the first point as, in my experience, it is one of the most prevalent habits of lifelong learners.
But nowadays, there are many more options to satisfy our cravings for knowledge. One of the most popular is online courses.
With countless platforms and universities offering online courses, you can learn almost anything online.
Compared to books, they have the added benefit of offering a multi-media experience and, often, feedback.
That is, many online courses are delivered through video, and many include multiple-choice quizzes to test your knowledge.
Some even come with access to online communities, where you can learn more and share what you have learned.
While I still read books more often, courses are great for learning practical skills.
I have taken many online courses ranging from marketing to video editing courses.
5) You watch documentaries instead of movies
Although many movies have lessons to teach, most are designed to simply entertain.
Documentaries typically have more to offer for lifelong learners.
Nowadays, we are fortunate to have access to so many documentaries, many of which are free to watch.
Lifelong learners take advantage of this.
They don’t avoid movies but certainly opt for documentaries more often than most people.
6) You listen to podcasts
Podcasts are the modern equivalent of physical books.
Yes, I know we have e-books and audiobooks. But podcasts are so suited to the audio form.
I don’t know about you, but listening to audiobooks is weird. It doesn’t feel natural to have a book read to me.
I often lose focus on what is being said. I prefer to actually read and internalize it. It feels natural.
And that’s why I say podcasts are the new books.
Podcasts, with their conversational format, are easier to pay attention to and more entertaining than audiobooks.
Best of all, unlike movies or traditional books, you can take advantage of them wherever you are.
I often listen to podcasts when I go for a walk in the afternoon. It’s a great way to clear my head and still learn something new.
They are also great when commuting, traveling, or even sunbathing!
If you are big on podcasts, you are probably a lifelong learner.
The bottom line
So there you have it.
If you have all of these habits, you are likely a lifelong learner.
As always, I hope you found this post as enjoyable to read as I did to write.
Keep up the learning habit.