Before talking about Lifelong Learning Benefits, I believe necessary to define what Lifelong Learning is, so to understand that it refers more to an attitude than to a skill.
In words of Wikipedia
Lifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, rather than competitiveness and employability. You could read the full article at Wikipedia Definition
According to French economist and politician Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, there are four pillars of learning
Learning to Know.
We are talking about the traits that you need to be able to learn. Reasoning, memory, imagination, problem solving, and other abilities like critical thinking. This pillar could be considered two-fold as you have to learn and practice those same abilities in order to be able to use them. More than the actual knowledge it relates to the abilities we need to acquire knowledge and apply it to benefit both others and yourself.
Learning to Do.
Here again, instead of stressing the particular individual skills -considered from the know-how point of view-, the focus is set on his/her competence, higher-order skills meaning adaptability to change. These are not the skills but rather the way you use those skills, like adaptability and resourcefulness, teamwork competence, communication strengths, and leadership potential. In an increasingly fast- changing society and labor media, these high-order skills are much more appreciated than the actual technical skills.
Learning to Leave Together.
This is probably The Most important pillar from Delors point of view. We really need to learn how to share experiences, how to understand differences and to look for similarities, understanding diversities and developing dialog aptitude as a mean for conflicts resolving. To summarize it, learning to leave in a community.
Learning to Be.
Although the pillar is defined as Learning to Be, I believe it's missing "Human" as the last word. Learning to Be is actually Learning to Be Human, in all possible aspects of human nature. Knowledge, physical strength, shared values, imagination, aesthetic sense, and creativity. Learning to be an individual, but at the same time learning to be a member of a family, a community, a nation and the world.
Let's talk about benefits.
I commented on a fellow blogger post on the same subject, 5 Key Benefits of Lifelong Learning, how difficult it is to understand WHY do we have to convince others about the benefits of Lifelong Learning.
I guess I'll try answering myself and say that it is necessary because it seems to be the only way out of the mess where are all living in.
The list of benefits could be stretched as long as you want without fear of repeating yourself.
I'll mention the main benefits I've received from the conscious practice of Lifelong Learning and hope that it will gain me a couple of new members of this unofficial community of Lifelong Learners.
Using dialogue as the main tool for conflict resolution.
Negotiators all over the world many times fail in their objective because the other side is unwilling to talk. I learned this the hard way, but I'm proud of finally being capable of making a point of interchanging opinions with the other party.
Understanding that we are all different and that we all have the right to have a different opinion.
This is a hard one, especially when you find a fellow human telling you that he has the right to think nobody should think different from him. LOL.
I know it shouldn't be a joke, but you shouldn't be surprised about how difficult is to dialogue with somebody totally convinced that HIS/HER point of view is the only one worth considering.
Lifelong Learning helped me to adapt to the many changes I had to endure in my life.
My specialty seems to be surviving in undeveloped countries with long-lived economic problems. Adaptability has been my secret to surviving.
I benefited from a life of health consciousness.
I neglected my weight a couple of times in my life and, as a matter of fact, I have to get rid off a couple of pounds right now, but I always managed to do a little exercise and it helped me well. I smoked for a few years ( Our Lord knows why) but I managed to dump that habit.
I've done some online brain exercise which I believe helped me in my everyday tasks.
What I'm trying to say is that we are facing a very necessary process. Just like a boat keeps drifting sideways due to winds and waves and the captain has to bring it back into the course with gentle but firm hand, the same way we could be aware of any aspect of our life deserving attention and work on it, slowly but steadily.
Please let me know what you think about Lifelong Learning. I do love learning about others opinion. I enjoy the effort of making a synthesis ( The combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole) of all it, actually I go by the screen name of syntesys in most of my online activities.