Learning new things is a fantastic way to continuously challenge yourself. Besides that learning is fun, it highly contributes to your personal development and it always gives you something interesting to talk about with others. On top of that, a couple of hours of brain gymnastics every week keeps you young.
I love learning new things a lot. I tend to get bored pretty quickly, so it’s a nice way to challenge myself and keep me motivated. For example, I started a two-year postgraduate in journalism in September 2017. I started blogging in 2017 as well and that has taught me a lot more than I could ever imagine!
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
– Henry Ford
You can make learning as expensive as you like, but there are so many great, high-quality learning sources available online which are completely free!
Below I’m listing my favourite free and low-cost ways and tools that help me to never stop learning, whether I want to increase my knowledge on one topic or learn something completely new.
This has rapidly become my number one source to go to if I want to learn about new topics for free. Whether I’m doing research for the blog or just enjoying soaking up some general knowledge, there are so many great podcasts out there. Some of my favourites include The Tim Ferris Show, The Life Coach School, Happier with Gretchen Rubin and Goal Digger.
What makes podcasts even better is that you can listen to them during your commute, your workout or – something I started doing lately – while you cook or clean the house.
I use Pocket Casts to listen to podcasts.
What I like about online classes is that they usually provide some sort of external accountability that forces you to move forward in your learning, while all my other recommendations rely on your internal fire. Depending on how bad I want something, I need this external accountability to not procrastinate. Also, I tend to remember things better if I go deeper into one topic in a short period of time.
You can make online classes as expensive as you like. You can follow formal online courses (my journalism postgraduate degree is completely online but did cost money) or sign up for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). MOOCs are a relatively new concept (ie not as established as online colleges) and they are either free or have a low fee.
A couple of popular, well-known platforms are Coursera (my personal favourite!), Lynda, Udemy, Skillshare and Udacity. Check them out to find out which one suits you and shoot me a message or comment below if you’d like to chat about my experiences with Coursera.
Say yes to the Unknown
Another tactic I use is to say yes to things that scare me a little bit, because I’m unfamiliar with it. Starting a blog is one example, but also at work I raise my hand when I get the chance to do things I’ve never done before. So far this has worked out great! Of course I was super stressed at times and I’ve asked for help many times (yes, also at work) but in the end, I felt proud of myself I took the plunge. I now know a lot more about SEO, coding and marketing than I knew before starting this blog. At work, I am working on developing myself 360 degrees so that I’ll be attractive to grow both inside the company and externally.
What would we do without our phones… Apps are another easy and cheap way to learn new skills. I use Duolingo to keep up my Spanish and I’ve recently started to try Headspace to teach me about mindfullness. If you Google, I’m sure you’ll find an app for whatever you like to learn!
A very well-known source with lots of free content for you to watch is YouTube. With over a billion of views each day, the richness and breadth of the videos on there is just mindblowing. Want to learn how to braid your hair? How to hang a new lamp? Play Beethoven’s Fur Elise on the piano? Cook a lamb steak to perfection? At least 100 different tutorials will be there to teach you step by step.
But it’s not only practical skills; I use it to watch a lot of TED talks and other inspirational videos (with the occasional desire to watch something light, I turn to videos like this one).
Sometimes, none of the modern options can beat a good old book. I find that I remember things best when I read it from a physical book. That way I can highlight, underline and make notes while I go through. To keep costs under control I try to borrow books from family and friends (in that case I make a picture of a particular page I want to remember and save it to Evernote). The books I really want to have and reread I buy myself in hardcopy and other books I buy as ebooks as those are usually (a lot) cheaper. If you have a good library around the corner, make use of that.
Audio books are – just like podcasts – also an effective way of learning while you’re on the go. The downside is that buying audio books is not cheap. That why I’m debating whether I should get a plan for Audible. Does any of you have experience with Audible? What do you think, is it worth it?
Talk to people
Last but not least, talk to people! There’s always something to learn from anyone you meet. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
What do you do to keep on learning? Let me know in the comments below!