What if you could earn compound interest on yourself? What if you could increase your value to yourself, other people, and the planet exponentially over time? Guess what? You can.
The following article is a concept that has changed my life and can change yours too, my friends. It's easy, cheap, and highly effective. You just need the discipline to do it.
Traditional school teaches you a little bit about a standardized group of subjects that are not necessarily valuable to you, your earning ability, or your value creation potential. We are taught English, History, Math, Science, French, or whatever standard subjects the school system wants to teach us for 12 years. Then we graduate high school. Mandatory school is over and it's time to go to college or get a job.
If you stop learning after school, you'll be stuck with the knowledge and skills you learned in school for the rest of your life. You'll rely on those skills alone for earning an income, which is proportional to the value you deliver to society.
Note: I won't go into detail in this article, but in short, your income is a reflection of the value you deliver to the marketplace.
If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
- Jim Rohn
If you want to increase your ability to earn money, serve others, or even help solve the world's biggest issues you must learn more stuff. Unlike in school though, you don't have a teacher making sure you do the work. It's up to you to educate yourself about whatever you desire to learn. You must make learning a habit.
Becoming a lifelong learner will change your life. What you learn and apply to whatever you're trying to accomplish will have a compounding effect over time. It's a domino effect. You'll tend not to forget useful knowledge and skills that you apply in your life - unlike the analysis of Othello back in 10th grade English class. In this way, knowledge will build upon knowledge over and over again, compounding until you can achieve things you never thought possible.
How do I become a lifelong learner?
“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.”
- Jim Rohn
Most people will say they're too busy to spend time learning anything. They say "I have no time." While it may seem like you have no time, you actually have the same amount of time as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos - about 24 hours daily. The question is what are you doing with that time? In order to start learning you may have to stop doing other things that may give you temporary enjoyment, but add no value to your life when you switch off the TV or close Facebook. Here are 3 ways you can make learning a lifelong habit with little to no added time expenditure:
1. Listen to audiobooks in the car
If you drive a car, you have time to learn. The habit of listening to audiobooks in the car will change your life! Instead of listening to the same music over and over again or listening to the news (poison for your soul), get yourself an Audible account and listen to audiobooks while driving. Audiobooks are just regular books that are read to you out loud by someone. You can get hundreds of audiobooks on nearly any topic that interests you.
An audiobook contains high-value information. It represents an expert's sum of knowledge on a specific subject that they've acquired over many years or a lifetime. Incredibly, all of that knowledge is available to you for less than $10! It takes no extra time and is very easy. If you drive 1 hour per day, over the course of a year you will have listened to over 40 books! Turn your car into a university on wheels. Listen to audiobooks in the car. Not sure where to start? Here's my list of most influential books so far.
2. Watch educational videos and documentaries
There are thousands of smart video creators on YouTube and other video platforms that make educational content. The great thing about educational videos is they are self-contained packets of information, they deliver the information in a visual and audible format, and they are available anywhere with an internet connection. You can watch educational YouTube videos on a computer, phone, or smart TV while you're eating a meal or having your morning coffee. With YouTube though you need to be careful not to get click baited into watching useless videos served to you by its algorithm. If you subscribe to high-quality creators and watch high-quality content, YouTube will learn to serve you other high-quality content. Some of my favorite YouTube channels can be found here.
If you regularly watch movies, try replacing some of those movies with educational documentaries. Pick something that you're interested in and has good reviews. You'll find the documentary could be just as entertaining as a movie, and you'll have learned something valuable about the world in the process. You can find documentaries anywhere movies are available such as Prime Video, Netflix, or Apple Movies. Additionally, if you're worried about getting distracted and end up watching "Princess Diaries 3" for the 7th time, there are services such as Curiosity Stream that exclusively offer high-quality documentaries and other shorter educational videos.
3. Subscribe to learning platforms
If you want to take the next step toward learning a particular subject, there are several learning platforms available online that you can subscribe to. Platforms like Brilliant teach you a range of skills in engineering, math, and science through courses composed of quizzes that teach you then immediately make you apply that knowledge. They have courses in probabilistic thinking, mathematical fundamentals, computer science, finance, electricity, and even quantum mechanics.
If you're going to learn something new, the fastest way is to learn from someone who is already an expert in that arena. Platforms like Skillshare and Masterclass offer content in video and written form by experts. Those experts will teach you their craft through a video experience. Need to learn how to get organized with Evernote, get started with Photoshop, or learn how to run an effective Instagram ad campaign? How about if you want to learn tennis from Serena Williams, the strategies of chess from grandmaster Gary Kasparov, or how to impress your dinner guests from chef Gordon Ramsay? These platforms will give you a better education than school ever did because they are taught by the world's best, and you can learn at your own pace.
It's up to you whether you want to continue learning throughout life. Just know, the results you get will ultimately grow out of the actions you take based on the roots of your knowledge. Every great innovation, and even the small ones, only came to be because somebody learned something - or more accurately, lots of things. Learn more stuff, improve your life.
“The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit.”
- Jim Rohn