• minman

ON THE WORD ROAD, The Importance of Being a Life Long Learner, Pt 2

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Have you ever had a desire to improve yourself in one way or another?

Would you like to improve your vocabulary or be a better public speaker?

Would you like to learn a new language?

Would you like to learn a new skill or improve a talent such as playing the guitar or banjo or piano?

Would you like to learn how to manage your time better to accomplish more in a day?

Would you like to become better in golf or tennis?

In our last article we started a discussion and dialogue to discover some important facts and information related to life long learning. We cited some examples and opportunities as well as some benefits.

In this article we would like to define life long learning by introducing two concepts of life long learning. They are professional development and personal development.

Wikipedia gives an excellent definition of life long learning as: “The ongoing, voluntary, and self motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. It not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability.

I really like that definition especially as it mentions self sustainability, competitiveness and employability. So we could say that the benefits are as follows: More sociality, new acquaintances if we take a class, but more importantly, more self sustaining, more competitive in a competitive world and becoming more employable. We will discover more benefits as we go along

Generally, the term “life long learning” can be pretty broad but again Wikipedia suggests that as we go beyond the traditional “Brick and Mortar” schooling, there are several contexts for life long learning, such as:

*Home Schooling – involves learning to learn or the development of informal learning patterns.

*Adult Education – the acquisition of formal qualifications for work or license skills later in life.

*Continuing Education – such as extension or not for credit courses usually offered by higher education institutions.

*Knowledge Work – such as professional development and/or on the job training.

*Person learning enviroments of self directed learning using a range of sources and tools including on line applications.

To continue our definition, according to Wikipedia: “Life Long Learning is all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competences within a personal, civic, social and/or employment related perspective.”

Or we could say it is the education or training of which we avail ourselves instead of what we may be required to do.

From a publication: “Learning: The Treasure Within”, published by UNESCO in 1996, we learn of the four pillars of learning:

1- Learning to Know.

2- Learning to Do.

3- Learning to Be.

4- Learning to Live Together.

Uniquely, all of these pillars are incorporated in personal development.

Before we go on and discover the different facets of professional development and personal development as parts of life long learning, lets look at more benefits. Again from Wikipedia from studies in Canada, “According to the Alzheimer Society, it is estimated that more than a million Canadians will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by 2030. Exercising the brain may preserve the brain, mind and intellect forestalling mental decline.”


If you are a teacher, an engineer, a health care professional, or even an accountant or attorney, I am sure you know what professional development is. Even in my profession as a former publisher’s representative, we were invited to a convention during the summer months after school had let out. At these meetings we were introduced to new products and usually met in smaller group meetings to discussed methods of marketing.

According to our distinguished reference source, Wikipedia, professional development is defined as follows: “Learning to earn or maintaining professional credentials such as academic degrees to formal course work, attending conferences, and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practices, lesson studies, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance.”

As part of our meetings, we could always count on a meeting with our manager to discuss the status of our territory, our sales revenue, etc. We always knew to be prepared for this meeting.


I am sure that a good majority of people are not concerned or involved with professional development unless they are professional people.

But, we should all be concerned with keeping our bodies and especially our brains exercised. Just as we should be involved in a regular physical exercise program to replenish our endorphins, I am certain the same need applies to keep up a brain fitness program!

So now the fun begins!


Again referring to Wikipedia for a definition: “Personal development covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital, and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.”

I love that definition! It also says that personal development takes place over the course of a person’s entire life. It is not only limited to self help only but covers a multitude of activities.

I have always been fascinated with personal development or self help and have read many books from such authors as: John C. Maxwell, Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar, Denis Waitley, Paul Harvey, Earl Nightingale, and others.

In my career in book manufacturing and publishing I have worked with an author and publisher of vocabulary books. He was located in the little southern Idaho of Preston, Idaho, a very unlikely place for a publishing company. I was fascinated with his books and the interest led to my joining of “Toast Masters”, an organization designed to help a person develop a better vocabulary and to become a better public speaker.


History tells us that early Abrahamic and Indian religions practiced and encouraged prayer, music, dancing, singing, chanting, poetry writing, sports and martial arts.

These practices led to becoming more healthy both physically and mentally. Eventually these activities led to self discovery or the meaning of life or living a better life and eventually the “good life.”

Other historical figures such as Aristotle and Confucius fostered their own philosophies related to self improvement or development.

These developments led to the science of psychology or the study of personalities and the reasons people do what they do, which is a discussion for another article!

However, one of my favorite psychologists and theories is Abraham Maslow who lived from 1908 to 1970. Again using a definition from Wikipedia, “Maslow proposed a hierarchy of needs pyramid with self actualization at the top defined as: The desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”

Maslow’s theory goes on to say that only one per cent or a small group of people self actualize, while job security, good working conditions or meeting the basic needs of life fulfill the basic needs of the masses. A very interesting study!


The self help industry is a billion dollar industry!

A person can hire a coach or a mentor for almost any field of activity or endeavor, such as:

*A Life Coach

*A Tennis Coach

*A Golf Coach

*A Weight Loss Coach

*A Yoga Coach

*A martial Arts Coach

And the list goes on!

But, in closing, some scholars claim that about 80 per cent of self help and motivational customers are repeat customers and they keep coming back whether the program worked for them or not. Others have said that the more people read self help books the more they think they need them — as encouraging an addiction!

So, a word to the wise,”All things in Moderation.” BE CAREFUL!

Continue to read good books, or listen to good tapes, or more importantly, ENJOY THE GOOD THINGS!

Thank you for reading, we hope this information has been helpful or informative!

In future articles we will preview and feature good sources of books to read and tapes to listen to!

Michael Inman


Encouraging literacy and learning!

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