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When is the peak time in our lives for learning?

  1. Is it pre-school? Before we can even remember, when we are learning movement and language
  2. Is it at school? Learning knowledge and also social interactions with others outside our immediate family
  3. Is it in early adulthood? When we are beginning to work and explore the wider world with more freedom
  4. Is it during life’s great events? Marriage, parenthood, divorce, grief
  5. Is it later in life? When we reflect and look back at what we have seen and done

What this list shows is that we are always learning.

Jung’s model of lifetime growth says, in the first half of life we are learning “to accommodate the external world” and in the second half we are learning “to accommodate the self”. (Between the two he talks about a mid-life transition but that subject might be for another time!)

Commissioned to identify the wellbeing equivalent of “five fruit and vegetables a day” the Foresight report on ‘Mental capital and wellbeing: making the most of ourselves in the 21st century’ (2008), cited Keep Learning as one of its five findings.

Based on an extensive review of the evidence the report made suggestions for individual action:

  • Try something new
  • Rediscover an old interest
  • Sign up for that course
  • Take on a different responsibility at work
  • Fix a bike
  • Learn how to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food
  • Set a challenge you enjoy achieving
  • Learning new things will make you more confident as well as it being fun

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks but you’re never too old to learn! What do you think?


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