If you have regrets about not learning more things when you were younger, don’t. It’s never too late to start learning again. We’re lucky because these days, it’s much easier to access quick learning, like a community painting lesson, or more intensive learning like an online college class. With the internet, tutorial videos, and free materials that we can download easily, there’s no reason that we can’t take on new lessons and expand our knowledge even more.
Another thing that we also have in our hands now is time. When we were in school, we had to take the required classes even if we weren’t interested in them. Now, we can freely learn whatever it is that we want to know. Whatever you’re interested in, like painting, cooking, gardening, carpentry—the list can go on and on—you’re sure to find a tutorial about it on the internet. All you need is the willingness to take on the challenge and start learning again.
No matter your age, you can still teach yourself something new. No one is “too old” to start taking classes or having goals to better oneself. With so many things that we can learn, it can get quite overwhelming. But the point is not to know everything because no one can do that. Even the most powerful computers can only accommodate so much information. The point here is to choose what you want to learn about and then start from there.
Nothing is going to be too hard for you if you’re willing to challenge yourself. If you’re asking now, “at my age, how does the brain learn?” Well, you’ll be surprised at what your brain is capable of. But you won’t know the extent of your capabilities if you don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone. The more new things you try, the more things you’ll discover.
Learning at this age will be much more enjoyable because you can take your pick among the vast array of options available to you. There’s no curriculum here, and no one’s going to fail you if you don’t do well. In fact, if you found that you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you can stop and then move on to the next thing that interests you. It’s as easy as that, and there’s nothing to be intimidated about.
A big part of effective learning is about not being afraid. What does it mean to not be afraid? Do you remember those times when math classes where daunting? Maybe it was because the teacher was intimidating or that making mistakes made you fearful about looking like a slow-learner. Whatever reasons you had before about being afraid of learning no longer applies today. There’s no scary teacher or classmates who’ll laugh at you if you got the answers wrong. It’s just you, and you can learn at your own pace.
Even if you make mistakes now, that’s not a problem. You have plenty of chances to try again and improve. Besides, not getting things right the first time does not make you a failure. Those instances when you’re wrong about something are the greatest opportunities for you to learn something new. It’s just a matter of perspective, so, keep on persevering—welcome mistakes and the learning opportunities that come with them.
If you’ve set out to learn how to draw, for example, you probably have an idea in mind about what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to be able to sketch your own portrait. However, when you tried doing so, it didn’t turn out the way you imagined it to be. Don’t worry. Don’t tell yourself, “I’m never going to be an artist.” When the willingness to learn is there, then all you need is the right attitude. Be patient, and continue practicing.
It goes the same for every other skill, like cooking. Even if you’ve memorized all the cookbooks you have, you’ll never know how your meals will taste like unless you actually cook. If your soup turns out to be too salty, then you’ll be learning a few techniques in the process, like adding potatoes to take some of the saltiness from the food. You’ll learn how to make adjustments and make things better.
So, don’t be impatient when you don’t get things perfect the first time. Be kind to yourself and leave enough room for you to absorb what you can during the whole process of learning. Making mistakes can teach you a lot of ways on how to do things better. Isn’t that exciting? It would be great if you’d look forward to experimenting and trying various ways to arrive at the end product. That’s how innovation is born.
One of the methods of learning in psychology is that of practice. If it’s your goal to truly be good at something like playing a musical instrument, you’ll need time to practice that skill. You may be able to read the notes or chords right, but unless you play the instrument, you won’t appreciate the transition of one note to the next. Your fingers won’t know how to shift from one chord to another when you’re playing guitar if you don’t practice. You may learn things by reading, but there’s a lot that you can also learn by actually doing.
Especially when it comes to hard skills like learning an instrument or learning how to fix a broken pipe, practice is very important. It makes things easier for you to remember because your brain and your hands coordinate with each other. When you’re learning how to dance, then your legs and feet will create muscle memory for the moves that you take for each step. If you look awkward at first, don’t let that stop you. As you practice more and more, you’ll become more confident, and that will show in every movement.
Remember that you have everything in you to learn anything. You’re brave, patient, and persistent. The process of learning may be a challenging one, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the journey. The point of it all is for you to feel happier with yourself and with your life, so be sure to have fun!
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