It’s time to question our assumptions about “lifelong learning.” What does the term mean? What could it mean?
Assorted doses of training over a 50+/- year career will not be enough to thrive in the future. Rather than default to a vision of instructor-led courses aimed at fixing every gap in what we need to know, we can pursue a sustainable diet that feeds our daily development as a whole person.
Lifelong learners should also be aware that “Top 10 People Skills for 2024” lists are misleading. Complex humans should see themselves as holistic beings, not an assembly of parts and specifications. Our social skills are integrated and inseparable; we are not fleshy robots.
For instance, negotiation skills require every one of the skills typically found on Top 10 lists. And why is “problem solving” on these lists, but not “problem preventing”? What year will “wise reasoning” suddenly appear as a hot skill? Hopefully before it’s too late to save ourselves.
In real life, ego development and cultivating the habit of extracting more learning from everyday experience is what matters. It’s about lifelong growth as a person, not skills checklists.
Social learning clubs (or circles) are a model for self-reliant, lifelong development. They offer a supportive, inclusive home base where anyone can practice mining for nuggets of wisdom from their own everyday interactions. In contrast to doses of instructor-led training, social learning clubs foster a spirit of curiosity and caring about how other people see things. In other words, they are an antidote for the wide range of self-esteem issues–the ego-centric, ego-maniac and the weak ego-driven sources of havoc–that waste our time and starve our brain cells.
Above quote: David Brooks, The New York Times, “This is How Scandinavia Got Great: The power of educating the whole person” (paywall) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/13/opinion/scandinavia-education.html
and re-posted here.