You have probably heard the expression “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” at least a few times during your life. While in its most literal sense it means that your 10-year-old pooch may not pick up commands like a young puppy would, many people have applied this saying to their own lives.
As a result, they may feel they are too old to learn a new language, figure out how to use all of the features of their fancy new phone, take an online college course or learn how to change the oil in their car.
Here’s some good news: that saying is definitely not true. Not only are we never too old to learn new things, we should want to strive to be lifelong learners. Here’s why:
Learning Teaches Us New Ways of Doing Things
To be a lifelong learner, you have to toss aside the idea that you already know everything there is to know about everything. Lifelong learning can improve your understanding of the world around you, as well as improve your quality of life. For instance, if you are frustrated with your high energy bill, you can either throw up your hands in acceptance, or you can research ways to bring down your power usage; this can include going on a time of use plan with your electric company that you didn’t know existed, installing a smart home thermostat to automatically raise the A/C when you are away from home and investing in new appliances that use less power. By realizing that you still have much to learn about your energy usage, you will not only boost your knowledge, but you will save some money in the process.
Education is Not Finite
Sometimes, people who are extremely well-educated may feel like have completed their learning. They may be skeptical of the need or desire to expand their mental horizons, which can cause them to become rather narrow minded in their views. This is why even the most well-learned people should be willing to keep their minds open to new ideas and facts. An interesting example of this happened to a man who was introduced to and then decided to work for a well-known direct sales company.
In an article that sets the record straight about Amway pyramid scheme facts, the authors also included stories about real people who are working for Amway, despite their initial hesitations. One man, Jeff Miller, admits he had a lot to learn about the company. “As an engineer, I was trained to be a skeptic and pick things apart,” Jeff said. “I dug in and realized I didn’t know anything about Amway, and the seeds were planted. It’s not about convincing people, it’s about educating people. If you educate people, they can convince themselves.” By being willing to learn new things, despite the fact that he was already well-educated, Jeff was able to join a successful company and enjoy a good life working in direct sales.
Actionable Ways to Keep on Learning
Once you realize that you still have a lot to learn in this world, it is time to take the steps to be a lifelong learner. You can start by being curious about a number of topics and reading as much as you can about what interests you. Keep a running bucket list of things you want to learn—this can include finally learning to play the piano, mastering sign language and/or taking a course in dog grooming. You can also look into the different ways to learn new things and see which ones you prefer; for instance, you might find that you love researching online, joining a study group or going old school and heading to the library to check out some books.
You are Never Too Old to Learn
The next time someone says that ridiculous expression about the old dog not being able to learn, kindly advise them that you have no intention of ever stopping your education. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you have the interest and the passion to learn, your world will continue to expand, your quality of life can improve and you will keep your mind sharp and active.