"Learning is ever in the freshness of its youth, even for the old."

-- Aeschylus
Lifelong Learning is not about being smart, it's about being curious, asking questions and being open. Learning is a natural process. Instinctively we learn every day -- simply by doing. We live in the "Information Age" and the learning explosion we are currently experiencing requires us to engage in lifelong learning, especially if we intend to stay current or get ahead in our chosen profession.

1. Create a plan that is right for your needs.
Put in writing your plan for learning. Take into consideration your interests and what you need to learn for a job or to finish a task. Be sure to include the method of learning that will work best for you. Today there are a variety of ways to learn in addition to signing up at the local college or university. Technology has allowed distance education to explode.

2. Step out of your comfort zone and experience the joy of learning something new.
Comfort Zones are safe but restrictive. Break out of your comfort zone and discover the wonders that await you.

3. Focus your attention.
When we focus our attention on something, we become more knowledgeable about it. The secret is to only focus on a few things at a time so you can master them all. This system also allows you to learn a variety of new things without getting overwhelmed with all that you do not know.

4. Teach someone else.
Teaching someone else is the best way for you to strengthen your own abilities and knowledge. It keeps you sharp and helps build your confidence and self-esteem.

5. Libraries and librarians are wonderful resources.
Ask for help and advice. Become best friends with the resource librarian at your local library. In addition to being great resources, they are big time savers and have great suggestions.

6. Be willing to make mistakes.
Mistakes often lead to opportunities and always can teach us something.

7. Keep an open mind.
Anything is possible if you believe it to be. Don't assume you know something. Re-examine your beliefs with an open mind. Don't assume you know it all.

8. Partnership is powerful.
Two people working together create a synergy that magnifies their combined power exponentially. Find a study buddy, someone who you can bounce ideas off of and who will encourage and challenge you to learn about the wonders around you.

9. Questions are perhaps more important than answers.
Don't be afraid to ask them. There are no dumb questions.

10. Unhook yourself from the outcome.
Learn for the sheer pleasure of it. You will be in a better position to see all sides of a debate and will then be able to see the broad picture. Learning is not a destination but a journey.

By Carol Daigle Ptacek who can be reached at
1. As part of my business plan for this year, I have added
learning goals. What are your learning goals?

2. One of the best ways to retain your learnings is to share it with others. This week as you learn new ideas and concepts, share it with three more people so it becomes part of you.

3. Close your eyes and dream for a minute . . . what would you like to learn more about this year? Take the first step to learning about this topic.

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