Should we ever stop learning? Do we ever stop learning? I don’t believe so.
For me learning new skills and continuing to learn and be taught new things is important for self growth. It’s important to keep the brain active and to develop in a new way.
I have a couple of qualifications that really don’t relate to one another, I have a degree in physical geography, I’m pharmacy technician and I am currently learning to teach English as a foreign language. Although these are qualifications, I worked really hard to achieve them and the skills that I have gained along the way have definitely shaped me into who I am.
I also began learning British sign language and Spanish; both of these I really want to get back into. I have spent many a holiday in Spain throughout my life and my parents have a place over there so learning to speak Spanish is important to me, a bucket list item really. To me anyone that can speak or sign two or more languages are my absolute inspiration! It’s a skill that deserves massive props.
Another skill that I have acquired is practising meditation. For me this is a skill because I have learned how to do something and I use it in my daily life. It impacts my mental health in a positive way and it’s really quite easy.
I guess I could say I have a skill in writing, although I’m not quite sure I can really say that…not yet anyway. I’m still very new to this blogging thing. I really enjoy it and I seem to get good feedback from friends but to say I have a skill I feel like in some way I need to have mastered it first. So I’m still learning this one and I’m okay with that.
I think enjoying something you’re learning to do is really crucial. I didn’t always enjoy my degree and my technician course wasn’t always easy so having motivation to learn wasn’t necessarily immediate when deciding I was going to study that day.
However, making learning interesting and enjoyable can be relatively easy, depending on your mindset that particular day. If what you are learning is taking place over a longer period of time then it’s important not get burned out quickly. Pacing yourself is vital. For me I never really work well with plans for learning; this doesn’t mean that I don’t love to procrastinate by making pretty schedules but following them has always been tricky. So instead of scheduling a future time to study in a present moment, I decide in a present moment when I am going to study and I just do it. Otherwise I feel this pressure I have put on myself to make myself motivated. If I’m not motivated at a specific time then I know it will be really difficult to get any sense out of what I am studying. So rather than writing in my calendar that Wednesday and Thursday will be my study days and ignore any other time before that that I am motivated, I study when the motivation hits.
I’m not one to plan or set myself goals because realistically life is unpredictable, as we have learnt this year especially. However there are some skills I would love to learn and master. Like I mentioned earlier, learning a new language is a big thing for me. Spanish would be ideal but more recently the idea of learning Japanese has entered my brain. I really want to visit Japan, with what I have seen and learnt about the country and culture through television and friends stories, I think it could be a place I would like to live for a period of time…and the food! So being able to be understood and to understand what is being said to me would be really helpful. Mastering this, however I think would definitely take time and patience…maybe one day.
I think whatever skill you are learning or have mastered, it is important to give yourself credit for what you have achieved. Whether that be learning how to knit, how to cook, how to do a podcast. It’s important to make time and space in your mind to feel proud. This will motivate you for potential new skills in the future.
I think learning something new this year with all of its weirdness and uncertainty, has really helped my mind and made the year a bit more bearable. Learning to teach English as a foreign language will be a skill I will have forever and it will helpfully benefit me in the future.