Many of you will know that seldom does time go by when I’m not studying something. I have a string of certificates and qualifications which look great, right? Well, yes, but that’s not really the point. Read on to find out why remaining a student has become a way of life for me.

Why is remaining a student a way of life?

When I was young, I was always encouraged to study. At first it was at school with O’levels and A’levels, then onto college for further education. If I’m honest, I think I was really doing this because it was expected. I was never top of the class, in fact I had to study hard for every qualification I achieved. However, as time went on, I realised that I actually quite enjoyed it! Especially as I became able to be more in control of what I actually studied, why and how I could remain a student. So, that’s what’s led to all the certificates and letters after my name, but was that enough?

The process to remain a student and stay curious about life

Well, no, not really. I’ve discovered that what’s way more important is the process of learning. Those moments where I go ‘aha!’ Those times when something suddenly becomes clear. And, when I understand something for the very first time, even though I may have heard of it many times before. Being able to remain a student continues to help me learn.

This is the case whether I’ve learned something about horses, dogs, gardening, people, the car, politics, banking etc. Sometimes, I don’t remember the information, but that’s OK, it’s made a difference to me in that moment. And, it will have shifted something in me which will become obvious at some other time. Often when I’m coaching, I learn so much from my clients too, so it’s not all books.

Why is remaining a student so important?

There’s much research about how being able to remain a student and being curious helps us in life.

  • expands our world – when we continue to expand our map of the world, it gives us a much smoother passage through it.
  • helps us make more connections with people and life – we don’t exist in isolation in the world and can build better relationships. Being curious about other people and areas of life can help boost empathy as we get to know them better.
  • find direction in life – it may be that you haven’t found your ‘purpose’ in life, yet. Staying curious and a student will give you more direction.
  • sense of achievement – being a student can give us energy to explore and keep going when times are tough to achieve our goal
  • experiencing happiness and life satisfaction – our brains are hard wired for novelty, so experiencing something new can help.

How can you remain a student?

We can create new habits to help us remain a student;

  • becoming aware of our language – when something unexpected happens, instead of a default of ‘oh, no!’, try ‘that’s interesting’
  • develop the art of listening – not just to words, but the ‘mood’ of the world. Tune into your intuition to expand your knowledge and understanding
  • become adept at identifying and expressing emotions – instead of limiting ourselves to ‘good’ or ‘bad’, what’s good or bad about it?
  • ask ‘why not?’ instead of ‘why?’
  • give yourself space in life to be a student – our brains need to be off auto-pilot and open to possibility. We need the neural ‘white space’ for our neurology to build new pathways
  • ask what’s missing – instead of taking things for granted, ask ‘what else?’

And, finally…

It’s true that we often become less curious about the world because we’ve found what works for us in life. It can take energy to remain a student, and sometimes this energy isn’t always available to us and our brains become adept at following established patterns of understanding.

But imagine if, with the increase in resources we have available to us, we can remain open to learning and keep expanding our world? Would the world be a better place?

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