At 39 years old I still gladly call myself a student. I’ve been working on my Master’s Degree in Life, experience being my greatest teacher. Digging into different subjects with the intent to learn as much as I can, often in the brevity of a day or over the course of several weeks, comes naturally for me now.
My passion for learning has become an intentional lifestyle. I can’t help but dig into different subjects, studying as much as I can, whether in a day or over the course of several weeks.
Being curious and interested in the world around me motivates me to grow and change, inspires new ideas, and infuses me with energy every day.
As a lifelong student, I’ve realized it doesn’t mean we are enrolled in a formal course from a professor or taking classes at our local community college, although those might be true.
On a deeper, more basic level, a lifelong student is someone who is joyfully responding to the innate longing within themselves to expand, to evolve, to keep unfolding.
I urge you to awaken, fuel, and revitalize your inner student!
I believe we can never have too many inquisitive people who ponder life’s complexities, ask good questions, hold themselves in a posture of wonder, and are excited to endlessly explore the world within and around them.
There are countless ways you can engage in this lifestyle of learning. And you’ll be glad to know you don’t have to fork over a cent or drive to a campus.
Here are my top 4 methods for learning almost anything for free:
1. Listen to podcasts.
Some of my best ideas and insights happen while I’m listening to a podcast! In under an hour I can gain new parenting tools, be educated on business strategies, learn how to invest, or understand the history between Russia and Ukraine. Be sure to check out this handy little search tool called ListenNotes where you can browse for the best podcasts by category, episode, or guest!
2. Search for best books and articles on… (& insert whatever you’re interested in).
Through a simple Google search, you’ll be instantly connected to hundreds of experts, authors, and their best-selling works. Next, place a hold at the library for some of those highly rated and reviewed books. A few of my recent titles included books on money, walkable cities, and life coaching.
Note: I usually do a brief skim through to see how readable the books feel and whether or not I enjoy the writing style before deciding on which ones I want to bring home.
Also, I know Cal Newport sets a goal of five books a month and lists them on a notecard. Pick whatever number feels manageable to you (I find five works well for me too), and you’ll be on your way to tackling tons of different deep-dive topics throughout the year!
3. Share what you’re learning.
Make sure you have a verbal outlet for the current ideas or topics you’re exploring. The more you talk about the concepts the more they start to solidify in your brain. It doesn’t have to be formal either.
My husband and I are in the regular routine of discussing what we’re learning every morning, maybe for 20 minutes or so, after we exercise and before we start on our schedule for the day. Passing on what you’re learning transforms it from mere information to useful knowledge for yourself and others.
Don’t worry about being an expert either! Research shows you become an expert by sharing what you learn rather than retaining it for yourself alone.
4. Sign up for free online courses or content.
I am ALWAYS tempted to sign up for the multiple hundred or thousands of dollars courses, but please hear me on this, don’t buy them quite yet! I can’t tell you how much money I’ve “invested” into courses, only to end up never completing them because I lose interest, the schedule is too rigorous, and it doesn’t fit in with my daily rhythms.
First, do the above steps (1 through 4) on repeat and watch how you gain your own confidence, proficiency, and insights! Some of the best and most helpful materials I’ve found are the free offerings of generous teachers through YouTube, Ted Talks, emails series, and webinars.
And how about one more as a bonus?
Find people in your local community and network who know a bit more.
Ask them if they’d be willing to impart their wisdom and advice to you over a cup of coffee or on a walk. Whatever topic is piquing your curiosity or whatever skill you’re attempting to practice, they can be a source of quick face-to-face encouragement and instruction. Most people are completely flattered if we ask them to share their experiences and knowledge with us!
Remember, learning is not about how you perform on exams or whether or not you arrive at the right answers or master a certain craft. Instead, it has everything to do with asking good questions and going on plenty of adventures.
Now, tell me what are you learning these days or what do you want to learn?