Three Steps to Becoming a Learner
An active mind thirsts for knowledge. Take a moment to assess your ‘mental health’ by asking yourself this question – “Do I like to learn?”
Everyone knows that learning shouldn’t stop at graduation. For a lot of people, it practically does. Half of American adults read less than five books a year. In fact, they are watching over four hours of television per day. Yes, they are learning, but pop culture is the only subject that many people study!
No matter what you know, there is always room to be a better learner. The three simple steps listed below are all that it takes to be a learner.
First Step: Internalize the Value of Learning
I could wax eloquent on the values of learning, but everyone recognizes its worth. Have you internalized the value of learning?
It is often helpful to ask this simple question: ‘where do I want to go with my life?’ Think about this question. Write down answers. Think about your obituary. What were you notable for? Did you know anything? Were you an expert on anything? Or did you, like the vast mass of humanity, simply accept the basic facts that you were taught, without ever digging deeper, or investigating the immense knowledge available to you? As I mentioned in the past, you are gifted beyond comprehension to live in an age when so much information is available.
Once you understand who you want to be, this will help you to internalize the value of learning. Perhaps you will recognize that you will never become that person without valuing learning.
Second Step: Identify Your Interests
This is a simple step, and you have probably already done so. What are you interested in? What intrigues you? You don’t have to know anything about the subject to be interested. Simply recognize that you are interested in the subject.
I once heard that any subject is interesting if you know enough about it. While I have never tested this hypothesis, I am quite certain that it is true. I am not a numbers person, and I find mathematics to be a sleepy subject. Yet I know that, if I studied numbers in detail, I would find it incredibly fascinating.
So whatever the subject is that piques your interest, determine to investigate it further.
Third Step: Invest Odd Moments
How much time do you spend on your smartphone, social media, television, and surfing the web combined? Answer: more time than you think. What benefit do you get from it? Only a minimal amount. What if all this time was spent, not on useless distractions, but on learning?
I only have a 14-minute commute to work, but I listen to audiobooks during the ride. I’ve completed several such books in this year alone. You may not think that 14 minutes is enough time to do anything useful – but it is a few odd moments that anyone could wisely invest.
Get a book from your local library. Research a topic on the web. Connect with people who know about this topic. Go do the activity, or shadow someone who does it. However you can, gather the odd moments and use them wisely. Stay up a few minutes late. Quit Facebook. Get up early. Take advantage of ten-minute breaks.
The great British preacher Martin Lloyd-Jones was remarkable for his thirst for knowledge. “He would astonish his daughters by sitting, fully clothed and wearing a hat, shoes, and socks, on the beach. While other fathers were in shorts swimming, making sand castles, or playing beach cricket, the Doctor would be immersed in the Puritans, devouring seventeenth-century theology in the way that the other fathers near him would devour ice cream!”
In the book of Proverbs, the Bible describes how knowledge is gained. In the words of the old King James Version it says, “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom” (Pro. 18:1). In modern day language this means – ‘when a person desires wisdom enough to separate himself from the cares and distractions of this world, then he is able to seek after and attain that wisdom.’
 Martin Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century