People often say that the key to success is to become a lifelong learner. This is because as you continue to learn new things throughout your life and career, you’re better able to adapt, innovate and grow — all of which are necessary components to a successful business. And continued curiosity around your passions can make for a fulfilling life.
To get started, follow these steps recommended by the members of Young Entrepreneur Council and begin your journey to becoming a lifelong learner today.
1. Study Your Idols
Thoroughly look at what they do that works for them. What makes them successful? What are their habits? Take notes and then implement them into your life. Why reinvent the success wheel when it’s already working? Simply emulate the stuff that works and add your own style into it.
2. Leverage Audio
Having access to all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips makes learning easier than ever before. Podcasts and audiobooks are great ways to stay updated on current events and learn new things. Podcasts can be played while driving, exercising, etc. You can gain more knowledge by listening to an audiobook as you read it. You have to start somewhere to keep learning.
3. Learn by Implementing
Focus on learning by implementing, not just by understanding. If you want to be an expert in something, then read books and articles and watch YouTube videos about the subject. Then, try out what you’ve learned. Brainstorm ideas, take notes, sketch diagrams or illustrations and explore related topics online, as this helps you learn, understand and further tailor and improve it to fit your style.
4. Get Organized
Getting organized and figuring out what areas you want to learn about and when is the first step to becoming a lifelong learner. Keeping a list of the top areas you want to learn about will help you take that first step.
5. Study Your Genuine Interests
Study something you have a genuine interest in that you simply don’t know much about today. With the internet, a Google search can help you easily find and vet a number of resources until you find the right information you’re looking for. From there, keep building your knowledge and allow your curiosity to lead you as deep as you’d like. When you’re ready, restart the process with a new interest!
6. Find a Mentor
Find someone you admire and ask them to be a mentor. Learning from books and courses is fantastic, but there’s much that a textbook can’t teach you. Regarding “soft skills” especially, a personal relationship with an older, more accomplished professional can teach you more than most paid courses ever could.
7. Sign Up for an Online Conference
Sign up for an online conference. Innovation summits, leadership conferences, technical courses — they’re all available online and happening all the time nowadays. All it takes is a little bit of research!
8. Start Reading
The best way to establish yourself as a lifelong learner is to pick up a book and start reading. The hardest part of maintaining the student mindset is resisting the temptation to act on what we think we know. When you continuously read and learn new things, you’ll have an easier time challenging your initial assumptions, which can lead to long-term personal and professional growth.
9. Join a Local Community Group
Join a local community like a running club. Meet people and talk to them. Find out what people like and what their hobbies are. By talking to people in communities you enjoy, you’ll open yourself up to learning about broader topics such as travel and culture. The more a person can get outside of the house and try new things, the more likely they will be open to learning.
10. Be Open to Various Topics
The important thing about lifelong learning is to open yourself up to a variety of topics. Don’t restrict yourself to business and leadership content just because you’re an entrepreneur. Learning about history can teach you about great leaders of the past. Exploring art can help you make creative twists in your product or business. Explore everything and you’ll never run out of things to learn.
11. Ask Questions
In becoming a lifelong learner, it’s crucial to ask questions. There’s no such thing as a dumb question and there’s always something new you can learn by speaking up. If you’re truly interested in learning more and expanding your knowledge, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mentor or someone you admire in your industry to ask for advice.
12. Work on Your Observational Skills
Work on your ability to observe and your sensitivity to details that go unnoticed by most. I like to think of life as a book because, for me, each daily experience is open for reading and learning. In real life you realize that to be successful and make assertive decisions, you must be aware of the real logic of the facts, and this is not taught by anything more than life itself.
13. Be a Good Listener
You don’t always need to read a book or engage with a scholar to learn something new. Even the simplest conversation with a small kid can sometimes teach you lessons that you haven’t learned before. So be alert in your daily life.
14. Commit to Excitement
A lifelong learner should always be excited and passionate about learning. The first step in becoming one is to have the commitment and zealousness to learn more every day. Dedicate a certain time of the day for you to learn more. Be creative and observant. Some learning can be found on social media if you’re just smart enough to figure out the strategies people use when posting.
15. Feed Your Curiosity
Curiosity — That’s where it all starts, and you can start now with whatever job or project you’re working on. Someone said that whatever gets measured gets improved, and that has been my experience. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with what you’re working on. What do you like about the project? Where do you need to improve? Then, how should you improve? That’s how to be a lifelong learner.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.