How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner

Learning is fundamental to surviving and thriving in a world where knowledge is power. Lifelong learning allows you to stay ahead of the trends, keep up with changing technology, and maintain your personal brand as an expert. It also provides opportunities for connecting people from around the globe who share common interests or passions.

“How to be a lifelong learner essay” is an article that discusses how and why people should become lifelong learners. This article also includes a few tips on how to achieve this goal. Read more in detail here: how to be a lifelong learner essay.


Our primary “work” during the first twenty-two years of our life is to learn. The majority of our time is spent in classes learning new things. Then, after we graduate, we feel as though our education is complete and it is time to go out into the world. Have you ever considered how strange that concept is? That just a quarter of our life should be spent learning, and the other three-quarters should be spent resting on our laurels?

It’s a false belief that many people have picked up on, at least unconsciously. However, education does not have to be your exclusive source of knowledge. Just because you’ve completed your official education doesn’t imply you’ve completed your education!

Many, if not all, of history’s greatest men were autodidacts, or self-taught individuals who pursued self-education in addition to or instead of conventional education. Author Louis L’Amour is an excellent illustration of this. L’Amour was a prolific and manly fiction writer in the United States. He wrote nearly 120 dime Western books and various collections of short tales and poetry over his lifetime. The fact that Louis L’Amour was almost completely self-taught makes his narrative all the more amazing.

Louis L'Amour sitting in chair drinking coffee cowboy hat.

Louis L’Amour is a lifelong student.

Due to familial troubles, L’Amour dropped out of school at the age of fifteen and spent the next eight years doing odd jobs on cattle ranches, farms, lumber mills, and even mines throughout the American West. To supplement his income, L’Amour competed in local prizefights around the nation, earning a reputation as a tough opponent. L’Amour became a merchant mariner in his twenties and traversed the world by steamer.

Throughout this period, L’Amour was an avid reader. He’d find the local library as soon as he arrived in a new town. He would miss meals if libraries weren’t available so he could purchase books from catalogs. He was also honing his art as a fledgling writer, penning notes in inexpensive notepads that he carried about with him at all times.

All of his travel experiences, all of the books he read, and all of the notes he took paved the way for his eventual successful profession. But, even after establishing himself as a writer, L’Amour’s quest for knowledge remained, and it paid out handsomely. He is the epitome of the intriguing life that may be created for oneself when one commits to being a lifelong learner. (Pick up a copy of L’Amour’s autobiography, Education of a Wandering Man, to discover more about his lifelong self-education.) It was a fantastic read.)

If you want to be the greatest guy you can be, you must embrace a lifelong learning attitude. We’ll show you how to become a lifelong learner and why you should.

What are the Benefits of Being a Lifelong Learner?

“Our whole lives are an education – we are ‘ever-learning,’ adding to our prior accomplishments at all times, everywhere, and under all conditions.” When the mind’s processes begin, it is constantly at work. In the palace, the cottage, the park, and the field, all men are students, regardless of their employment. These are the rules that have been imposed on humanity.” Self-Education: Twelve Chapters for Young Thinkers, Edward Paxton Hood, 1852


You’ll make more money. You might graduate college and have all the education you needed for the remainder of your career fifty or sixty years ago. In today’s employment market, you don’t have that luxury. Skills that were cutting-edge five years ago are likely obsolete, and the occupations we will do in the next decade or two are unlikely to exist. You must become an autodidact if you want to remain competitive in today’s employment environment and maybe make more money.

Not only can being a lifelong learner help you make more money in conventional jobs, but it may also lead to self-employment and the launch of your own company. There are several historical instances of notable people who learnt how to start successful enterprises without any official education: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford, to mention a few. Countless not-so-famous company leaders have achieved success without ever receiving a sheepskin by teaching themselves what they needed to know and experimenting endlessly.

You’ll be more engaging and captivating as a result. Those who met Theodore Roosevelt were usually astonished by his ability to strike up a discussion with anybody about any topic. Scientists were astounded by Roosevelt’s grasp of difficult ideas, socialites were enamored with his humorous observations on Oscar Wilde’s newest work, and cowboys in the West admired the “Eastern Dude’s” mastery of desert species. How did Theodore Roosevelt become such a talkative, charming figure? By honing your fast reading skills and then devouring books like a ravenous lion feasting on a new kill. He read a book every day before breakfast while at the White House. If he didn’t have any formal obligations in the evening, he would read two or three additional novels, as well as any magazines or newspapers that piqued his interest. TR read tens of thousands of books over his lifetime, including hundreds in foreign languages, according to his own estimations. As a consequence, he was able to interact with people from all walks of life on topics that were actually interesting to them.

You’ll be a better leader as a result. It’s not only that being able to connect with people makes you more intriguing. It also gives you a lot more clout. The larger your knowledge base, the more you’ll be able to meet people where they are, and the more answers you’ll have to solve issues and conquer hurdles.

You’ll be self-sufficient and useful. Growing up, I idolized my grandfather for all of the interesting things he knew. He was constantly fiddling and appeared to know all there was to know about anything. He taught me how to hunt, shoe a horse, garden (he cultivated grapes), and cook amazing pancakes. My grandfather was continuously learning new things and honing new skills, even after he retired. He learnt how to fix ancient horse carriages and phonograph players, for example. He became so skilled at it that he developed a little side business refurbishing vintage phonograph players.


My grandfather’s wide skill set allowed him to fix things when they broke or he wanted something done. He didn’t have to hire a professional to do it for him. If he didn’t know how to accomplish anything, he went to the library and checked out some books on the topic.

Learning throughout the rest of your life is beneficial to your brain’s health. “Anyone who stops learning, whether at twenty or eighty, is old,” Henry Ford stated. Anyone who continues to study remains youthful. The most important aspect of life is to keep your mind youthful.” Nearly a century later, research confirms Henry Ford’s remark. “Education seems to be an elixir that may bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life,” says Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging. Her study found that the more formal or informal education an old person had, the better they did on cognitive tests than other senior people with less education.

Learning new skills may also assist prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in later life. According to one research, elderly people who remain intellectually engaged and interested about the world around them have a 2.6 times lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who let their brains go dormant.

You’ll be happier with your life. Author Dan Pink claims in his book Drive that three elements are required for us to be driven and pleased in our lives: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. All three of these psychological demands are met by being a lifelong learner.

When you’re an autodidact, you get to determine what you’re going to learn about, not your parents, professors, or job. You are actively selecting what you study, rather than being a passive consumer of information. To put it another way, you’re self-sufficient. You’ll love the great sensation that comes with expertise as you acquire new abilities. Setting objectives for your self-education can also give you a revitalized feeling of purpose in life.

The pleasure derived from lifelong learning does not end there. The more you understand about the world, the deeper you can go into it and the more layers you can explore. Whether you’re traveling, conversing, visiting a museum, watching a movie, or reading a book, your library of information aids you in making connections you would not have seen otherwise. The more you study, the more you realize how many references and meanings you’ve missed because the author/speaker just assumed you already had that prior knowledge, that cultural literacy fluency.

You’ll mature into a more human being. As famously said by Robert Heinlein:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, fight efficiently, and die gallantly.” Insects benefit from specialization.”


Frequently Assumed Obstacles to Becoming a Lifelong Learner

Vintage young man sitting in comfortable chair reading illustration.

People frequently make the same justifications for not taking up the responsibility of lifelong learning and instead choosing for a life of idle internet browsing and television viewing.

Time. I understand. You have a lot on your plate. I’m sure it’s difficult to envisage fitting in time for self-study when your day is already jam-packed with job and family obligations. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to stop learning because you’re a lifelong learner. You may take as much time as you want and schedule it whenever you want. As a result, you won’t have to study or practice for hours every day. It will enough to spend 30 minutes here and there over the course of months and years. Furthermore, I’ve found that when I make studying a priority, I generally wind up making the time for it (meaning I was previously wasting my time doing other stuff).

There are several ways to transform idle time into learning opportunities. Instead of listening to the finest singles from the 1980s, 1990s, and now, listen to an audiobook throughout your commute. Instead of thumbing through a two-year-old edition of Sports Illustrated, bring a decent book to read as you wait to see your doctor.

Money. This barrier only exists if you believe that learning anything requires formal instruction. You don’t have it. You can study almost anything (and even take college-level programs) at your own speed and for free thanks to the miracles of the internet. Later in this piece, we’ll go through some of these free resources.

Information. Because of the internet, this barrier is almost non-existent, just as it is with money. There may be certain abilities that need particular in-person tuition, but due to the internet, locating such individuals is much simpler.

Location. This is only an issue if you believe that learning must take place in a structured classroom setting. You don’t have it. You may study from the comfort of your own home, in your vehicle, or in the garage. Granted, there are some situations when you’ll need to be in a specific location to acquire a new ability (for example, you can’t learn to snow ski in Oklahoma), but these are the exception rather than the norm.

What Does It Take to Become a Lifelong Learner?

Encourage a development mentality. The thought that you can’t learn new things is one factor that may be preventing you from doing so. However, research in neuroscience and psychology has demonstrated that this is untrue. Even if you’re 80 years old, your brain remains fluid and pliable, and you may build new connections between neurons and learn new things.

To become a successful lifelong learner, you must develop a mentality that is consistent with how our brains really function. People have one of two “mindsets,” according to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck: fixed or growth. People who have a fixed mentality feel that their intellect and abilities are intrinsic and unchangeable. They don’t believe that hard work and effort will help them progress. People that have a growth mindset think that through hard effort and practice, they can better themselves.


You want to encourage a development mentality among your employees. How do you go about doing that? Here are some of Dweck’s recommendations:

  • Reading study that demonstrates the possibility of development and improvement
  • Increasing your resilience is a good thing to do.
  • Trying out fresh ideas
  • With a growth mindset, you may learn from others by reading about them and extracting lessons from them.

Change the way you think about learning. It is not necessary to learn in a structured classroom environment. In truth, the majority of what you know came from informal sources such as family, friends, and trial and error. To become a lifelong learner, get rid of the notion that you need to enroll in a class to learn anything. There are several learning opportunities all around you. Remember that studying isn’t only about memorizing facts from books; it’s also about developing practical skills.

Set objectives. What do you want to gain knowledge about? When would you want to study it? Set objectives for yourself every year in terms of skills and information you wish to gain. Every year, I normally establish three major learning objectives for myself. This year, for example, my objectives are to 1) learn how to make engaging films for AoM, 2) learn how to use a pistol in self-defense, and 3) learn how to hunt and field dress a deer.

Aside from those three major objectives, I have a daily aim of learning something new every day, whether by reading or conversing with others. Kate and I play a game called “What did you learn today?” to guarantee that we have something else to speak about at dinnertime (besides the blog!). (We really say, “Do you have any tales for me?”) “Have you read or heard anything fascinating today?” is our shorthand.) We aim to learn something new every day so that we may share it with each other over supper.

Setting a reading goal for oneself may also be motivational. For example, AoM’s Managing Editor Jeremy Anderberg has set a goal for himself to read all 100 books on our “100 Must Read Books for Men” list in 100 months, or slightly over eight years. There’s no need to hurry! Jeremy wanted to make sure his objective was reachable while still having time to read other things. One book from the list every month was the ideal option.

Locate your resources. It’s time to collect your resources once you’ve established your learning objectives. To find out what information is accessible online, do a fast Google search. Then, instead of reading online articles, go to the library. I usually tend to uncover greater and more in-depth ideas in books. Start making a list of venues or people who may be able to provide such training if it’s a talent that will need it.

Pose inquiries. Active engagement is required for effective learning. You can’t merely absorb data in a passive manner. Ask questions while you’re reading and speaking with professionals. Don’t know what to inquire about? Check read our piece from last year on how to ask good questions. Don’t be concerned about seeming or sounding stupid. Allow yourself to swallow your pride.


Find a group to join. While many of your learning objectives may be achieved on your own, having a group of individuals to study alongside you might be beneficial. Your classmates may be able to give you with information and resources that you would not have considered otherwise. Furthermore, you will often get constructive input in a group environment that you would not receive alone. It’s also more enjoyable to study alongside other people.

Start with the individuals you already know while looking for a learning group. Perhaps you have some buddies that are interested in learning the same subject as you. With them, begin weekly conversations or practice sessions. Check out MeetUp if you can’t locate any people with similar learning aspirations. There’s almost certainly a group in your region dedicated to your learning objective. Online communities may be an excellent social learning environment, even if they don’t give the same level of dynamic engagement as in-person groups.

It’s all about practice, practice, practice. Don’t rely on reading or listening to get information. Look for a method to apply what you’ve learned. If you’re studying art, go to a museum and attempt to figure out which paintings are from the Romantic era. If you’re studying about wilderness survival, go out into the woods at least once a month to practice your bushcraft abilities. If you’re learning to code, keep going.

Vintage ad with son in garage workshop working on machines.

Teach yourself what you’ve learned.

Teach yourself what you’ve learned. Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my all-time favorite books. One of the techniques Covey teaches in the book is that in order to properly learn anything, you must first teach it to someone else. When we teach, we become sincerely driven to understand the content because we want to guarantee excellent education, according to Covey. Teaching also requires us to see an idea through the eyes of a novice, which might bring the clarity and insight that we were missing. Furthermore, the “production effect” might help you cement ideas merely by talking aloud to someone.

As you gain new knowledge, pass it on to others. Blogging is an excellent method to pass on what you’ve learned. Many of the abilities I’ve developed over the last five years have sprung from my decision to write a blog post on a certain subject. When I wrote “How to Change the Oil in Your Car,” I had Kate’s Uncle Buzz teach me; when I wrote “How to Throw a Knife,” I went to a dude ranch and spent the day with owner Tom Warren; and when Kate and I wrote our series on the history of honor, we read dozens of books and scholarly articles on the subject. 

Put yourself to the test. It’s critical to get feedback when learning, and testing is the most effective method to do it. You won’t likely encounter official examinations as a self-learner, so you’ll have to make your own. The method you choose to assess yourself will be determined by the skill or knowledge set you are attempting to gain. If you’re studying marksmanship, your exam may be the US Army’s rifle marksmanship scorecard; if you’re learning Spanish, your test could be going to the local Mexican grocery shop and conversing only in Spanish with the clerk.


Lifelong Learning Resources

Vintage man working at large computer.

As I previously said, there are a plethora of free resources accessible online. Here are a handful of our favorites:

Blinkist. Blinkist is a non-fiction book version of SparkNotes. Get bits of books that may be absorbed in roughly 15 minutes on topics ranging from business to philosophy to history and more. Smarter right now!

Coursera. Coursera collaborates with renowned institutions across the globe to provide free online education. Computer science, psychology, and Spanish are just a few of the areas you may study.

OpenStudy. OpenStudy is a social learning network that connects you with others that have similar learning objectives to you.

Khan Academy is a place where you can learn about many topics Khan Academy is my absolute favorite. Over 4,000 films are available, covering anything from mathematics to business to history. The arithmetic activities, on the other hand, are my favorite aspect of Khan Academy. In an adaptive, game-like environment, you begin with elementary arithmetic and work your way up to calculus. I’ve been working my way through the tasks to brush up on my arithmetic skills.

Duolingo. Learn foreign languages for free on this website. It’s a very nice setup. As you work your way through the classes, you’ll be assisting with the translation of websites and other materials.

Code Academy is a place where you can learn how to code With interactive activities, you can learn to code for free. When I was learning how to develop AoM, I wish Code Academy had existed. It would have been quite beneficial.

edX. Harvard University and MIT collaborated to produce free online courses that are interactive. The courses on edX were designed by the same world-renowned academics that teach at Harvard and MIT. You may discover classes on almost every topic. I’ve enrolled in a course titled The Ancient Greek Hero. Although the class began last week, there is still time to enroll. Come along with me!

Udacity. Udacity is a platform that is comparable to edX and Coursera. Classes at the college level are offered for free online.

CreativeLive. I very recently found CreativeLive. It’s an intriguing idea. You may watch the live broadcast of the course being taught for free, but you must pay if you want to watch it afterwards and at your own leisure. Videography and web marketing are among the more creative and business-oriented topics covered in the courses. I’ve sat in on a number of the free classes and was pleasantly surprised by the content.

TED is a website that collects talks and lectures by intriguing individuals from many areas of life, not just academics. TED presentations are less formal than academic lectures, are often humorous, and focus on fascinating ideas and concepts. Most are around 20 minutes long, making them ideal for folks with short attention spans.

iTunes U is a subscription service that allows you to listen to Thousands of free audio lectures presented by the top academics from around the globe are available to download and listen to while driving.

YouTube EDU is an educational channel on YouTube. Instead of watching a bunch of auto-tuned cats, use YouTube EDU to expand your thinking. They feature thousands of movies on a wide range of subjects.

Check read this article for additional free learning resources: How to Become a Renaissance Man Without Spending a Dime.


Also, make sure to listen to Scott Young’s podcast on ultralearning:




reflection on who is a lifelong learner
The “reflection on who is a lifelong learner” is an article about what it means to be a lifelong learner. The article discusses the different types of learners and how they can become lifelong learners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you become a lifelong learner?

A: When you are a lifelong learner, it means that you always want to learn more and improve yourself. You never stop learning!

Why do you need to be a lifelong learner?

A: I need to be a lifelong learner because if we dont learn something new every day, then well never get anywhere in life.

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