To have habits of a successful lifelong learner can be a daunting thing to think about let alone live by. But it doesn’t have to be stressful or tiring. You’ve got a whole life to live and decades or even a century to do it in. A lifelong learner knows how to take advantage of every single second of every single day to the fullest even if that means taking time for rest.
That’s why I have put this list of 25 habits a successful lifelong learner practices on a daily basis so you can start practicing these habits yourself. Your life doesn’t need to be hard. I’m here to help make your life as easy and fulfilling as you want to make it. All you need to do is save this list and start taking action on it daily.
Here Are the 25 Powerful Habits of a Successful Lifelong Learner in no Particular Order
A lifelong learner loves traveling. Why?
Because traveling helps open your mind to different cultures and different environments which will help you to be more creative.
A little traveling story
I have been a traveler since I was in high school. Traveling to 10 different countries so far in my life, you could probably call me a traveler. I took my very first trip outside of the US when I was 18 years old with the Japanese Club I was involved in. The experience was out of this world, beyond my imagination of what I thought it was going to be like in Asia.
Traveling as a teenager, I was able to see how people my age live in their own culture. The food and language were different. Even the buildings and music were different. For two weeks I was surrounded by a tongue I could barely understand. But it wasn’t an unpleasant experience at all. It was a life-changing experience.
I was able to see how humble the world can be. How different cultures can truly belong together even being so different.
So if you have not traveled the world and you want to become a lifelong learner, then I highly recommend traveling to the country of your dreams. Do it sooner than later because as you age you’ll wish you had done something so life-changing earlier in your life.
If you’re already in your 60’s or 70’s but your health is good then don’t pass up the chance to travel even if it’s in your own country.
24. Have a Variety of Hobbies
Hobbies are just as important as the work you do. They give you time to rest, and an opportunity to learn a new skill. Look at doing a new hobby as a way to experiment. Through experimentation, you may discover something you truly love.
Take reading for example. It used to be my hobby. I loved it and of course still do, but I’ve turned what used to be my hobby into a profitable online business which has inspired many others to take up the habits of a successful lifelong learner.
Think of any hobby that has potential to help others, then turn your hobby into a profitable business.
23. Wake Up ‘Early’
You’ve heard the phrase, ‘We’ve all got 24 hours in a day. It all depends on how you use it.’ Very true, we have 24 hours, 8 of which you probably spend working and another 8 for what you want and the last 8 hours you spend sleeping. A lot of people miss out on are the benefits of waking up early.
If you wake up a half an hour earlier than you need to than that will give you that much more time ‘for yourself‘. I personally do this every morning which gives me 30 minutes of reading and journaling before I start working on anything else.
You could give yourself as much time as you want in the morning. The best part of waking up early is being awake before anyone else (especially with kids). You could do almost anything you want.
What would you do with 30 minutes of ‘you time’?
22. Go to Sleep ‘Early‘
The previous point goes hand-in-hand with going to sleep early. If you want the energy you need to accomplish your goals then you’ll need to feed your mind and body with enough sleep. This will be different for each person.
Take for example my sleep schedule. I go to sleep at about 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m. That’s a solid 8 hours. Now 7 a.m. is not that early compared to others who wake up at 5:30 a.m. but for me, it feels perfect, in-sink with my circadian rhythm.
Therefore try experimenting with the time you go to bed and wake up while still getting 8 hours of sleep. See how your body and mind feel when you wake up. If you feel like you need to go straight for the coffee pot in order to feel normal then maybe you need to do a little sleep schedule tweaking.
Most importantly is not to take getting 8 hours of sleep for granted. You will see a huge difference in your mood and energy after you start sleeping 8 hours every night.
21. Show Gratitude
Keep a gratitude journal, say nice words, do something nice for someone else, or even yourself. Showing gratitude is one of the most powerful habits of a successful lifelong learner.
The more you show gratitude the more people will appreciate you. Knowing that you are appreciated will help you to feel more confident about yourself and your abilities.
Forewarning: Fake gratitude will get you nothing. Gratitude must come from the heart and if it doesn’t, people will know and your fake gratitude will backfire on you.
20. Be Emotionally Balanced
One of the best ways to be emotionally balanced is to be organized about your schedule. If you have ever experienced the overwhelming feeling of having too much on your plate it usually means that all you need to do is a bit of adjustments to your schedule.
In the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, he explains the concept of Time Blocking which helps you to accomplish your scheduled task during a specific duration (1-4 hours) on any given day. Once your time slot is done for that day you should move on to the next task.
Newport is also an advocate of allowing your body and mind to have rest and recreation on a daily basis. What he’ll do is work throughout the day with periodic 15-20 minute breaks for a walk or stretch, but once the clock hits his predesignated time to stop (5 PM) he’ll not do any more work until the next day.
What he will do with the rest of his day is spend time with family, exercising and talking with the people he cares about. And because he is not a user of social media there is no chance of him getting distracted from his time for rest and recreation.
Mindset and the use of words, inside and out, are powerful habits of a successful lifelong learner
Being emotionally balanced doesn’t only have to do with your schedule but also your mindset and the words you think and say to yourself and others. There will be people out there who either accidentally or purposefully get under your skin. Your ability, as a lifelong learner, to ignore these words and actions of others will help you to have a strong lifelong learning mindset.
The words you say to yourself also have a lot of power. These are the daily thoughts you have. The more you think positively, the better mindset you’ll have. The more you believe in yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to handle every type of situation.
Do yourself a favor and start using more positive words as part of your daily affirmations. Continue to strive to be your best self by looking at both your flaws and strengths. This is part of what it means to be an emotionally balanced lifelong learner.
19. Don’t Take What Others Say or Do Personally
Highly successful people don’t take things personally. This is a takeaway I got from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Also as Mark Mason might say, choose your fucks wisely.
Your time on earth is limited to most likely no more than 100 years so there is no sense in taking what could just be forgotten the next day personally. You only have as much control over what others say or do to you as you allow.
Of course, you want to be seen as a credible person so show people you are. You want to be reliable, so do so. The power is in your actions and words you choose to say or not say.
The only choice you have when someone says or does something to you that you didn’t expect is to react in the most rational way you possibly can. Defend yourself if you must but also ask yourself if what is happening in this moment will even matter a year or two from now. If it doesn’t matter then don’t make a big deal out of it.
18. Always Be Curious
Always being curious makes sense for a lifelong learner, right? Of course, this is something you want to continuously experiment with. Having curiosity almost to the point like a child’s mind. If you keep your adult sense of reasoning and critical thinking and your child sense of curiosity you’ll be able to create some unimaginable successes in your field of expertise.
Curiosity is one of the biggest driving factors in living a happy life. Without curiosity every day might as well be the same. You probably wouldn’t be interested in trying new foods, traveling to new destinations, or even challenging yourself.
Without a curious mind you might not even be willing to read nonfiction books which would be one of the biggest shames of all.
So you get the point. Be curious in order to build your habits of a successful lifelong learner.
17. Read Almost Every Day
Reading is such an important factor in your lifelong learning journey. It’s what gets a lot of people started on their intellectual journey. But, of course, lifelong learning is not all about sitting in a library every day to study. You also need to get out into the world and put what you learn into action.
I’d say, most people take reading nonfiction books for granted, not necessarily because they don’t like reading but because they don’t see the big benefit of it. But if these people were to use action as a motivator to read and apply the knowledge they gain from the books they’re reading then I think they might stop taking reading for granted and start reading more nonfiction books.
You can gain a whole lot of power if you know how to dig deeply into a book to pull its gems out and apply its knowledge. That’s why people say ‘Knowledge is Power’ but actually it should be ‘Knowledge + Action = Power’.
If you don’t take my recommendation lightly to read nonfiction books on nearly a daily basis but still feel like you are lost and need help finding your life path then my next recommendation is to check out the online course I have developed to help you dig deeply into the minds of the authors from all over the world and apply their secrets in your life so you can find your way.
Find your happiness.
Find your success.
16. Have Specific Goals
If you know exactly where you are going and you’re completely focused on what I call Your BIG Goal you will let nothing stand in your way from reaching it.
Ask yourself before doing something if it is helping you to reach Your BIG Goal. If your answer is no then don’t do it.
A successful lifelong learner will never stop reaching for their goals but also will know how to balance between work and life.
And while reading my current book called Measure What Matters by John Doerr I discovered a very powerful way to make your goals a reality by following the OKR method. OKR stands for Objective Key Result. I highly recommend checking out this method to achieve your big goal.
Here is a clear guide and example of what an OKR is and how you can make one.
15. Take Action: Habits of a Successful Lifelong Learner Secret Weapon
The only way a lifelong learner reaches their goals is through continuous experimentation and action.
Without directed action there will be no results. But of course, like with everything in life, action without knowledge or a plan to support it is more likely to fail.
Imagine you are building a house, knowledge is the foundation, planning is the infrastructure, and action is the rest which makes a house a home. If you take away any of these factors your house will not be a home.
Action is also the best teacher. You can learn so much more through experience than you can from sitting down in a library and reading a book. However, my belief that reading is fundamental still stands strong as it is a continuous cycle to go from learning something new, putting it into a plan, then taking action on it and reflecting on results.
14. Stay True to Your Word
No one loves a liar. In fact, everyone hates liars. This means, even if you have to say no to something, because you know you can’t commit to it then say no. Don’t lie to yourself or others around you.
It reminds me of the takeaway from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, be impeccable with your word. When you say you are going to do something then do it.
Therefore, the more you tell the truth to yourself and others around you, the more trustworthy you will become.
13. Love Making Progress
Progress is what drives us. Without it, you might as well be dead. It doesn’t even matter how much progress you make in a day as long as you are doing something. Even if that means taking time to spend with your family because lately you’ve been working extra hours, this, even though it sounds backwards, is still making progress towards happiness.
True lifelong learners are the ones who enjoy the process of making progress, not so much the end result. Although accomplishing your goals are at the center of your focus, the process is what you learn from.
Make progress your priority.
12. Keep an Open Mind
You cannot learn anything new if your mind is not open to new things, different opinions, even if you think you are right. Always question what is happening around you. Stay curious.
Think back to the doctors who practiced bloodletting as a treatment for over 3,000 years up until it stopped in the 1940s. They thought it was a cure when really it was harming their patients. They truly believed it.
Now think of your beliefs. Ask yourself if what you believe today will be true 10 years from now.
The point is, you may be wrong about something and that’s why it’s a smart idea to keep an open mind. These habits of a successful lifelong learner will give you an edge compared to all those close-minded people roaming the Earth.
11. Habits of a Successful Lifelong Learner: Adapt to New Situations
If you can’t adapt you will be stuck. Think about what happened around the whole world in 2020 when Covid-19 hit. Businesses and employees weren’t prepared and those who did not adapt quickly enough lost their business or their jobs.
A successful lifelong learner is able to adapt quickly because of the continuous knowledge they are soaking into their brain. When you have the ability to recall what you’ve learned you’ll be equipped with several different skills that can help you in situations where you will need to take quick action.
People who don’t have stored up knowledge and experience outside their daily lives will be left in the dust when disasters like Covid-19 takes place.
Regardless, whether it’s a pandemic or AI that takes over your business or job, you best bet is to be prepared to adapt.
10. Take Online Courses
Lifelong learners are seeking multiple ways to learn new skills. Online courses are one of the best types of learning because most are interactive and in-depth. Much different from reading a book or watching a YouTube video, online courses are well-developed, specifically catered pieces of art waiting for clients to sign up and have an advantage over people who sit idle thinking an online course is either a waste of time or way too expensive.
The time and investment in a well designed online course may very well be the special ingredient to help boost your confidence and push you over the top.
9. Listen/Watch Personal Development Podcasts or YouTube Videos
Although not my personal favorite way to consume content, there is a ton of value to be found in podcasts and YouTube videos depending on the person creating it.
The best thing about using this form of content to learn is all the information is current. Whereas a book usually takes years to write and publish a YouTube video can be filmed, edited, and published in a day. Neither guarantees quality. That’s why it’s wise to verify facts and information especially in podcasts and YouTube videos.
If you want some great YouTube content here is my channel right here.
8. Turn Your Purpose Into a Business
The opportunities are endless. Developing your purpose into a business is one of the best feelings you can ever have.
Think about a problem you’ve experienced, something that has bothered you your whole life. Start researching, watching, and reading about how you can solve that problem. If you see that other people have attempted to solve the problem that doesn’t mean you can’t try to approach it in a different way.
By looking for gaps in the industry you’re thinking about building your business in you can create something uniquely catered to solving the problem you’ve always wanted to solve. Maybe other people have missed a key component. Your idea can be that KEY!
If you don’t know how? I recommend signing up for my online course that will give you the tools to build up your cognitive and idea-generating capabilities so you can solve the problem you and many others may be experiencing.
7. Help Others Grow
One of the best teachers is teaching others how to do what you do. Teaching others not only helps you and the other person or people you’re helping, but also makes you feel good for doing so.
In the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg the author tells a story about an ambitious employee who wants to become the best. He learns that being the best doesn’t mean making the most money, but giving the most effort, time, generosity, and even money.
The key word here is giving. When you give with your whole heart you will receive. Not all the time surely, but it sure beats never giving at all.
By helping others grow you are giving them the biggest gift ever. The gift of knowledge and friendship.
Check out the lesson about the benefits of teaching others in my online course.
6. Eat Healthy
You only live once. You know that saying. The healthier you eat now, most likely the longer you will live. If you’re younger than 30 years old you may not completely understand this yet. Generally speaking, your body is still able to get rid of all the junk you’ve been putting in your system, but as you get older you will notice your body and mind taking longer to recover from eating all eight pieces of pizza.
It’s time you start eating a lot more greens and a lot less meat. As David Sinclair says in his phenomenal book, Lifespan, There isn’t much debate on the downsides of consumption of animal protein. Study after study has demonstrated that heavily animal-based diets are associated with high cardiovascular mortality and cancer risk.
So the habits of a successful lifelong learner are not only about learning more and applying that knowledge but also taking care of our physical and mental health through eating healthily.
5. Stay Fit
Almost exactly the same as the previous point, lifelong learners need to stay healthy by staying fit. The only way to do that is, of course, to get your ass off that computer chair, no matter how much you want to stay there, and take a run or go to the gym.
Regardless of your preferred exercise, doing it for 30 minutes a day is the perfect amount.
Make it fun by joining competitions or doing it with a loved one or friend. Exercise doesn’t have to be tedious. When it comes to studying a book you put your complete focus and energy into it. Apply those same rules and exercise will become much easier for you.
4. The Habits of a Successful Lifelong Learner: Don’t Settle for Anything Less
There are times for rest and there are times to work smart. Keep your mind open for opportunities that come your way and opportunities to create something new. Never let anyone or anything get in the way of achieving what you’ve set out to do. But also don’t get in your own way, meaning know when to pivot or stop something completely.
I’m only writing in vague terms because that ‘something’ you are doing is completely unknown to me. Only you know what that ‘something’ is. Regardless of what it is, you will find that it takes years to hone your ability to not settle for anything less than you deserve. Only once you have found your north star, Your BIG Goal in life will you easily be able to say yes to what drives you forward and no to what doesn’t.
3. Have a Lifelong Learning Mindset
The lifelong learning mindset is an essential part of being a successful lifelong learner. It means that you will never stop learning until the day you die. You will never stop following these 25 habits of a successful lifelong learner at all costs (except for death).
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
― William Butler Yeats
By keeping your ‘fire lit’ your mind will always be curious. Your mental (and possibly physical) spirit will stay alive even into old age. Learning has even been proven to decrease your chances of Alzheimer’s Disease.
In my opinion there is no excuse to ever stop learning. Read something new every day. Start a new hobby. Stay active with anything you desire in this lovely Earth of many opportunities. Never let age get in the way of your personal development.
The Evidence is in Front of Us
Think about people like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates who read a lot. It’s been quoted that Warren Buffett reads (including reports) 500 pages per day. Bill Gates reads at least 52 books a year if not more. Just these two examples are amazing especially because of what they have built on top of all their knowledge. It’s breathtaking.
For me, just this year alone up until October at the time of writing this article in 2020, I’ve read 56 books. I’ve put a lot of this knowledge into action this year as well. For example building and launching my online course focused on helping people break down their self-limiting beliefs so they can have no barriers holding them back when it comes to learning from reading and implementing the books’ takeaways in their life.
Study + Plan + Action + Reflection + Repeat the Process = Success
Seriously if you are struggling with process of learning and implementing what you’ve learned then I highly recommend signing up for the course mentioned above. ☝
2. Priorities Come First. Even When it Comes to Rest as a Priority
You must have a lot going on in your life right now right? When you get home from work all you probably want to do is lay down and rest or veg out. But if you’ve been following the 25 rules in this post you are probably not one of those people.
As a successful lifelong learner working a day job or running your own business, as soon as you get home you might want to spend some quality time with family before you do anything else. If you are extremely tired it’s okay to take a rest and veg just a little bit, but don’t waste the rest of your day just vegging out.
Set your priorities. schedule them throughout your day, including time you need to spend with family or time you need to take a break. Your natural tendency is to go for the least stressful or tiresome activity. Fight against this by sticking to your schedule. Once you have accomplished what you have set out to do for that day reward yourself with something you enjoy doing.
Your life doesn’t, of course, have to be all work because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Push yourself when you know you can and go easy on yourself when you need to.
1. Celebrate Small and Big Wins
Last but not least is celebrate small and big wins. When you accomplish something you need to reward yourself with a night out with your family to have a nice dinner and see a movie. Or take a weekend trip out of town to the beach. Whatever your desire is, splurge a little because you deserve it after all that hard work.
This will give you something to look forward to, because let’s face it, when you devote your heart and energy into what you love doing, no matter how much you love it, it can be draining. You need that celebration time to recuperate your energy and focus.
One more reason to celebrate. You only live once. Enjoy your time with your friends and loved ones while you’re young and healthy, and even when you’re old. You will look back and appreciate all the memories you’ve created by doing the things you love with the people you love.
Adopt These 25 Habits of a Successful Lifelong Learner to Own Your Life
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