Lifelong learning is acquiring new knowledge, skills, and attitudes throughout your life. This is a necessity, joy, and a source of empowerment. It can help you cope with changes, challenges, and opportunities in your personal and professional life.
It can also help you discover and unleash your creative potential, generating original and valuable ideas that can make a positive difference.
But how do we become lifelong learners? Like how a seed germinates and grows to display its beauty. How do we overcome the barriers that prevent us from learning new things or pursuing our passions? How do we develop a mindset and a habit of learning that will enable us to grow and thrive?
Much like a river gathering droplets from the whispers of the wind or the distant mountains, my blog post ideas coalesce from the digital echoes and tangible touches I encounter daily. For this post, I will share my journey of becoming a lifelong learner and unlocking my creative potential.
How I side-stepped my dyslexia and dyscalculia to achieve a doctorate in engineering. Why I started blogging and continuously pushed for new ideas. I will share some latest research and best practices on lifelong learning and creativity.
By the end of this blog post, I hope you will feel inspired and motivated to embrace lifelong learning as a way of life and to tap into your inner creativity as a way of expression. I hope you can learn, create, and make new things happen.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
My Journey: Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Lifelong Learning
I’ve always been a learner, driven by a love for new knowledge and a passion for stepping outside my comfort zone. But my journey hasn’t been without its hurdles. I’ve grappled with dyslexia and dyscalculia, making the simple acts of reading and writing a battle. I’ve also wrestled with self-doubt and fear, questioning my abilities and aspirations.
Yet, these challenges didn’t deter me. Instead, they fuelled my determination, resilience, and creativity. I tackled them head-on, drawing strength from my sportsman spirit and a love for overcoming the impossible. This led me to pursue a doctorate in engineering, a feat considered unattainable for someone with my learning difficulties.
But, for me, quitting has never been an option. Like a bulldozer, I persevered, riding the emotional roller-coaster until I reached my goal. My motto, “To find the edge, flirt with the edge, then find peace on the edge, and eventually with time, things will give way,” has been my guiding light.
It’s helped me face challenges head-on, whether starting a blog or expressing my creativity through writing. A task which should be challenging for someone with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Or developing a wellness website from a template to prove that I can accomplish tasks outside my knowledge base. Each challenge has been a learning experience, pushing me to expand my horizons and embrace my creative potential.
In the end, it’s the desire to learn, create, and innovate that keeps me going. It makes me a lifelong learner, constantly pushing the boundaries of what I thought was possible.
The Interplay of Creativity and Lifelong Learning: A Research Perspective
The research underlines the pivotal role of creativity in lifelong learning. It’s not merely about gaining new knowledge or skills; it’s also about nurturing the capacity to view things from diverse perspectives, solve problems innovatively, and adapt to novel situations.
Creativity is a vibrant process that sparks curiosity, imagination, and originality. It’s about questioning the norm, challenging assumptions, and venturing into new ideas. Creativity can kindle a sense of curiosity and a desire to learn in the context of lifelong learning, making the learning journey more engaging and enjoyable.
Moreover, creativity isn’t confined to artistic or musical expression. It spans various activities and disciplines, from science and technology to business and entrepreneurship. It’s about thinking outside the box, devising novel solutions to problems, and generating fresh ideas.
Additionally, creativity can bolster the psychological well-being of adults. Participating in creative activities can offer satisfaction, enhance mood, and boost self-esteem. It can also assist adults in dealing with the challenges of ageing, such as cognitive decline and physical limitations.
Furthermore, research suggests that creativity can be cultivated and nurtured throughout life. It’s not a fixed trait but a skill that can be honed with practice and effort. This makes it a key component of lifelong learning, encouraging continuous growth and development.
Creativity is a vital aspect of lifelong learning. It enriches the learning experience, fosters personal growth, and contributes to well-being. As such, it’s crucial to weave creativity into adult education and lifelong learning programmes.
Lifelong Learning: Overcoming Obstacles
Lifelong learning is a rewarding journey, but it has challenges. We all face internal and external barriers that can hinder our progress. But don’t worry, they’re not insurmountable. Let’s explore these barriers and how to overcome them.
The Barriers We Face
Attitudinal barriers: Negative attitudes like lack of confidence or fear of failure can hold us back. But remember, everyone learns at their own pace, and mistakes are okay. That’s how we grow!
Practical barriers: Time, money, and location can all challenge learning. But with the rise of online courses and free educational resources, these barriers are becoming less significant.
Structural barriers: Sometimes, the system itself can be a barrier. But by advocating for more inclusive and flexible learning policies, we can help make lifelong learning accessible for everyone.
Breaking Down the Barriers
Overcoming these barriers is all about changing our mindset and making the most of the resources available to us. Here’s how:
Change your attitude: Embrace lifelong learning as a journey of self-discovery and growth. Remember, every step you take is a step forward.
Make learning flexible: With online learning platforms, you can learn at your own pace, in your own time, and on your own terms.
Make learning relevant: Align your education with your goals and interests. This will make the learning process more enjoyable and meaningful.
While my athletic discipline was sprinting, lifelong learning isn’t a sprint but a marathon. So, don’t be discouraged by the barriers you face. Instead, see them as challenges to overcome on your personal and professional growth journey.
Embracing Lifelong Learning and Creativity: The Journey Begins
Lifelong learning and creativity are not just concepts; they are ways of life that have personally transformed me. They have allowed me to push boundaries, overcome obstacles, and continuously evolve. The lifelong learning journey is only sometimes smooth, but the challenges make the trip worthwhile.
Understanding your motivations and goals is the first step towards embracing lifelong learning and creativity. For me, it was about proving to myself that I could overcome my limitations and achieve things that seemed impossible. It was about pushing myself to learn, create, and make new things happen.
The next step is to find or create learning opportunities that suit your needs and interests. This could be anything from online courses, reading books, or even starting a blog or a website. The key is finding something you are passionate about and challenging you to step out of your comfort zone.
Finally, it’s about applying your learning to real-life situations and challenges. This is where the real growth happens. It’s about taking the knowledge and skills you’ve gained and using them to solve problems, create new things, and make a difference in the world.
So, are you ready to start your own journey of lifelong learning and creativity? Remember, it’s not about the destination but the journey. It’s about the growth, the transformation, and the person you become. Embrace the trip, and let lifelong learning and creativity be your guides.
- Kuan, Chen & Tsai, Kuan Chen. (2012). ‘The Necessity of Creativity Development in Adult Learners for Lifelong Learning’. International Journal of Learning and Development. 2.
- United Christian Broadcasters, (31 July 2023). ‘Break Out of The Box‘. U.C.B. [Accessed 01 August 2023]
- Venckutė, Milda & Mulvik, Iselin & Lucas, Bill. (2020). ‘Creativity – a transversal skill for lifelong learning. An overview of existing concepts and practices. Final report.