“Discovering The Benefits of Acquiring New Skills” by Chassie Lee
Others are just madly passionate about learning and life-long education.
Whichever category you belong to, one thing is certain: learning a new skill, whether that’s a language or handicraft, changes you for the better.
It’s like a software update for your brain; you’re equipped with new, better, faster, more intuitive tools, and that will definitely improve your life.
Being a student (again) makes you more human
Highly successful people always try to be an expert in their field, to be the best at what they do. But even accomplished people are beginners when they are learning something new – and that’s a good thing. When we learn a new skill, we enter a new dynamic. We become part of a system that considers us vulnerable and prone to mistakes. We are, for once, allowed to lack knowledge and not to be reprimanded for it (unlike within many corporate environments).
Learning new skills is rejuvenating
A popular way to get new thrills is to go on an adventurous vacation. Some people like to buy flamboyant sports cars to bring excitement in their lives. For many successful people, the greatest thrill comes from learning things. Learning is a multi-sensory, multi-modal awakening for the brain. The experience can be truly eye-opening, especially when the new skill requires fine motor skills.
New skills = Better survival prospects
It’s possible that you have all the skills you need right now to get by. For example, you’ll probably be totally fine if you continue to use the “hunt and peck” typing method if your current job doesn’t require you to do a lot of typing. Yet, the thing is, when we hone our skills we automatically improve our marketability, our appeal and even our prospects for survival in the “corporate jungle”.
If you type quickly and accurately you can get your ideas across faster and save hundreds of hours in the course of the fiscal year. Let’s admit it, you’ll feel more powerful and confident when you can take pride in your ability to type out a 2500-word report in under fifteen minutes.
Your brain never stops evolving
When we learn a new skill, our brain biologically changes with immediate cognitive advantages. You might learn to type in order to improve your job prospects and your daily efficiency. However, good touch typing is not the only skill you end up with.
Your working memory will improve and so will your verbal proficiency. Brain synapses, elasticity and connectivity studies explain why when we master a skill, other cognitive skills also improve (inncluding language related ones).
Build brain resilience and openness to learning
The brain is a muscle. The more you practice a specific skill, the better you become at it. What’s more, the more new skills you master, the more effective your brain is in learning and adapting to new skills faster.
Embracing productive failure
Manu Kapur advocates the use of productive failure. Instead of learning with a focused and limited approach, as if you were solving a math problem, you should dive right into solving the problem without necessarily having a fixed plan.
Using this method, it’s possible that you might never get the right solution, yet you will get to understand the nature of the problem, come up with various approaches to fixing problems or reaching goals and potentially learn how to tackle similar issues that you come across in the future.
We can all benefit from learning to be more creative in our problem solving and more radical in our decision-making, overall.
New skills equal new powers
Apart from better, more rigorous brain connections, learning new skills has an immediate impact on our creativity. A new skill informs our entire experience of the world, our body and our mind.
As a result, we get to bring together similarly unrelated bodies of knowledge and come up with exciting new ideas and ways of thinking.
Learning new skills as an adult can be a daunting experience. We fear failure and the possibility of making mistakes or not mastering a skill as fast or as well as we would want. However, this shouldn’t make us self-conscious or reluctant to venture out to learn new things.
Mastery of a new skill boosts your confidence, enhances your creativity and amplifies your other skills and talents. There’s really no excuse for settling for the skills you have, when there are so many benefits to taking up a new challenge!
Author: Chassie Lee is the Content Expert for eReflect – creator of Ultimate Typing and Ultimate Typing EDU which is currently being used by tens of thousands of happy customers in over 110 countries.