Why should I value life-long learning?
An opinion that I hold without ever examining before now is this: “There must be a point to what you are learning.” There should be an immediate or short-term use for the skills / information. That is why I never bothered to try in French class and regretted that choice years later when I visited Cambodia and couldn’t communicate with people.
This attitude of immediacy is prevalent with many people. A practical post-secondary program that leads to a job is a useful endeavour while a bachelor of arts should be mocked. Why are you wasting your time? You’ll never get a job out of that!
This is just common sense. If you don’t learn how to use a smart phone, you will not be able to access some jobs, modes of entertainment, special offer coupons, etc. You must learn new things. I celebrate every day when I learn something new. If it happens during class, I will tell my students that I’m relieved because I’ve learned my new thing for the day.
Life-long learning will make you happy. “In general, having higher qualifications is associated with greater happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and reduced risk of depression. There is some robust evidence that having higher qualifications has positive effects on these outcomes.” (Sabates and Hammond, 2008)
Your health will also benefit from life-long learning. “Evidence of the benefits of learning during the latter stages of life is overwhelming, from research by the Alzheimer’s Society showing delayed onset of the disease, to reduced dependency on welfare support.” (Monahan and Clancy, 2011)
So, why should I value life-long learning? Well, life-long learning can make me rich, happy and live longer. The real question is, why shouldn’t I value life-long learning!
Monahan, Jerome and Clancy, Joe. (2011). Lifelong learning is the secret to happiness in old age. https://www.theguardian.com/adult-learning/lifelong-learning-key-to-happiness
Sabates, Ricardo and Hammond, Cathie. (2008). The Impact of Lifelong Learning on Happiness and Well-being. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/253807608_The_Impact_of_Lifelong_Learning_on_Happiness_and_Well-being