They say that “Knowledge Is Power”, and I very much agree, but not in the way you might think.
I don’t believe we should increase our knowledge in order only to be powerful, rather to improve our lives on a much deeper level. The smartest people don’t brag about their smarts, don’t belittle others for their lack of understanding and only continue to educate themselves for, well, themselves.
In an ever expanding world, it is not possible for a person to know everything about everything, but understanding the constant changes and the need to continue learning about the world around us will put you a step in the right direction.
From technological changes to societal issues, environmental concerns to political developments, the basics of geography, history, mathematics and English. The information out there is never ending, our learning opportunities are infinite, so why do so many people decide to stop learning after their compulsory education? This may well be due to these individuals experiences of education at a young age, the pressures (or lack of) in their immediate community or perhaps they just don’t want to.
Whatever their reasons may be, it is still important to look at the reasons for continued education and learning (whether that be at an official education provider or through personal development while sat at home on the couch).
The skills that come hand in hand with learning as an adult are invaluable for all areas of life. Educating yourself as an adult requires immense time management skills to succeed around the business of life.
It also increases social connection, particularly if educating yourself via an outside organisation (e.g. Open University or FutureLearn).
Education also increases your knowledge, which in turn will increase your social network and connections, giving you a wider range of topics for discussion and debate.
Whether your newfound knowledge takes you onto bigger and better things in terms of employment and challenges or not, your confidence is bound to grow. An extra bit of knowledge helps you feel more confident in discussing relevant topics, without fear of sounding like you know nothing.
For example, I recently gave myself the challenge of improving my geography knowledge (for some reason it just never clicked with me in school!). I can now name all US states, all counties in England and all countries in Europe (and place them on a map). It may not seem like much to some, but it has definitely increased my confidence in this area, which in turns makes me want to keep learning and expanding my geography knowledge (next step — Asia!).
Rate of depression is lower in adults who are actively involved in learning
There are studies showing the lower rates of mental health issues in those who are embarking on education. If this isn’t reason enough to hit the books, I don’t know what is (perhaps my next point?)!
This isn’t to say that learning is the answer to all mental health issues, it isn’t. But it can greatly help you battle the demons of depression. The increase in confidence and self development skills previously mentioned , will help only add to the benefits for your mental well-being.
(See NHS website below for more information)
Learn for mental wellbeing
Learning all through life is linked to better mental wellbeing, whether it's getting new qualifications or teaching…
Link between education level and life expectancy
There is a scientific link (see below link) regarding the relation between level of education and life expectancy — in basic terms, the higher your education level = the longer you will live.
I believe that while this states that having higher education qualifications (degree, masters etc) is shown to lead to longer life expectancy, it does not necessarily mean you have to run out and get a degree. Any continued learning will aid itself to this, keeping your brain cogs turning and increasing your knowledge in any way possible will only have positive side effects towards your health— both physical and mental.
This should really be the main reason for continuing to learn and grow our understanding of the world.
If we enjoy something, we are more likely to stick to it and excel. Learning can be fun, if you want it to be. From learning games and quizzes to personal challenges — the more motivation you have to do well, you will!
I love a challenge, especially against myself! Beating my own “record” makes me proud of what I achieve, and has been one of the main things keeping me motivated and enjoying my learning.
I am also about to go back to University (Open Uni) in September, to study creative writing. It will be hard, but I’m determined to make in enjoyable and learn lots more about the English Language and creative writing!
Whatever you want to learn, there is nothing holding you back. Get out there and increase your knowledge, in any way you wish!