Embracing Lifelong Learning to Become a Better Leader in the Community

Benjamin Franklin, Florence Nightingale, Walt Disney, Ruth Bader Ginsburg—these are just a few of many prominent figures who embraced the concept of lifelong learning. They knew that it was an integral part of their success as leaders in their communities and in the world. The quickest way to lose effectiveness and become out of touch with the world around you is to stop furthering your knowledge and skills. 

Whether you aspire to run for a public office or are simply exploring how you can better serve your fellow neighbor, here are a few questions to consider as you step into a life of continuous learning.

Why Should You Embrace Lifelong Learning?

First of all, knowing the reasons for pursuing lifelong learning will help you maintain your long-term motivation.

  • The world is rapidly changing, which means that you have to constantly learn new things to obtain (and maintain) success in almost anything. 
  • Your career prospects become much better when you grow your knowledge and skills.
  • Lifelong learning increases social awareness and perspective, which helps you to be a better leader in your community. 

How Can You Keep Learning?

Once you know the why, it’s essential to figure out practical ways that you can keep learning each day. 

  • Pursue formal education by attending seminars, undergoing training, and/or acquiring an online master’s degree.
  • Seek out ways to learn on the job, such as job training, skill acquisition, and other forms of professional development.
  • Attend community workshops, and volunteer regularly in your community at food banks, homeless shelters, and other establishments. 
  • Put yourself in the position to learn unexpectedly by engaging in meaningful conversations with others, developing new friendships, and traveling. 

How Do You Know What You Should Be Learning?

Knowing specific areas where you can expand and improve your knowledge and skills will help you stay on a path to success. 

  • Figure out what kinds of knowledge and skills you need in order to become the leader you aspire to be in your community.
  • Consider the knowledge and skills you have acquired so far, along with those that need improvement. 
  • Take a personality test (or five) to get an objective perspective of what areas you should focus on the most.
  • Get the opinions of your peers on where your current strengths and weaknesses lie. 

Effective leadership requires a variety of qualities. If you have the heart to be a leader in your community, make sure you are taking any steps you can to further your knowledge and grow your skills. And plan to do it for the rest of your life!

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