If I asked you to name one thing that all successful people have in common, what would it be?
Maybe you would say they are hard workers. Perhaps, you might suggest that they have found the correct work-life balance. You might even say that all of them take care of their health.
I agree that all of those are true for most successful people, but I will also argue that what really makes people succeed in any field is the drive to always learn. In fact, I will even say that lifelong learning is the single most important component of success in every field.
What is lifelong learning?
To understand how lifelong learning contributes to success, you first need to know what makes someone a lifelong learner. Simply put, lifelong learning is the idea that education doesn’t end when you graduate from school.
Whether someone graduates from school or drops out, most people don’t make any real effort to continue learning after they leave school. The result is that the things they learned in school either become outdated or they are eventually forgotten.
A lifelong learner is someone who works to maintain that knowledge. He continues to learn new things even long after he’s done with formal schooling.
Lifelong learning can take many forms and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Some people like to learn skills such as painting, computer programming, auto repair or dancing. Other people might prefer to learn from books and study subjects like history, science or economics.
All of these can be considered lifelong learning. It is just a matter of preference. What really matters is that you never stop learning whether you are 18 or 95 years old.
What are the advantages of lifelong learning?
Success requires you to always learn new things so you can keep your competitive edge. This is especially true in any field that requires you to become a creator, such as in business, product development or writing.
To succeed in a creative field, you have to always be on the leading edge. After all, that is the very nature of being a creator. You don’t follow the path; you create it. To do that, you have to always be learning new things to stay at the head of your field.
This is precisely why most people don’t achieve the level of success they desire. This is true regardless of how you want to define success. It doesn’t matter if you are after money, fame, reputation or even happiness and fulfillment. There is one commonality you will see among everyone who has ever found success: they were creators.
But most people don’t reach their definition of success because they never become creators. They stop learning and settle into becoming a consumer.
This is because most people stop learning when they leave school. As their knowledge becomes outdated or forgotten, they no longer have the skills required to take on the task of being creators.
The advantages of lifelong learning can help you to be successful in life and work. If you dedicate yourself to becoming a lifelong learner, then you can continue to maintain and grow your knowledge and maintain the skills required to fulfill the core human desire to create something.
See Also: A Mom’s Story of Going Back to School
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Author: Aaron Wright
Aaron Wright is the founder and owner of Lernabit, a learning platform designed for self teaching. In college, he studied microbiology, but then he learned that you can't do much with that so he taught himself coding and business skills and starting building businesses. He is relentlessly passionate about encouraging and enabling others to make learning a lifelong pursuit. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.