“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”
One of my favorite questions to ask my kids is “what did you learn today?” At age nine and almost seven it isn’t always well-received. Sometimes the answer is “nothing” or “I don’t know” but a lot of the time I am surprised by what they are learning each and every day. One of the traits that I want to instill in them is a deep thirst for learning. That every day is an opportunity to learn something new and grow, even if just a little bit. I want them to lean into every day looking for opportunities to learn.
A spirit of learning and growth is very intentional. It’s not the same as looking back and realizing you learned something. That happens by on a daily basis almost by accident for everyone. Practicing active reflection and considering what has been learned is really important, and something we should all do. But what I am talking about is starting the day with the specific goal to learn something. The deliberate practice of seeking out new knowledge and information.
I have found that when I do good at framing my mind for learning (and I certainly don’t do it well all the time) I will discover far more than when I am in a transactional “get it done” mode of thinking. A simple conversation in the hall at work, an article read, a conversation with a friend. Those can all be platforms for new learning if you made the active choice to live every day with a goal to be able to answer the question “what can I learn today?”
A day where nothing new is learned, or perhaps even more importantly, where there is no attempt to learn something new, is my definition of a wasted day.