Lifelong Learning: How It Can Help You Advance Your Career

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

illustration of a person sitting cross-legged on the floor and reading a book

Our world is changing around us at a frantic pace.

If we don’t continue to grow and develop with it, we’ll soon be left behind. That’s why lifelong learning and personal development are essential. Successful individuals focus on gaining personal and professional skills, knowledge and abilities in response to and in anticipation of changing performance requirements.

Think about it: throughout life, we’ve always been encouraged to learn and expand our capacity to build a better future for ourselves. 

You’ve probably heard that ‘there’s always room for improvement’. Well, our teachers were right. Whether it involves career advancement, personal development, professional growth or getting the most from life, lifelong learning is what our future relies on. 

Lifelong learning sounds important because it is! But, how will lifelong learning create your ideal future and help you succeed in your career? We have all the answers for your curious mind.

Here are 15 benefits of lifelong learning and how it can help you advance your career and improve the quality of your life and future.

1. It increases job security

Are you keeping up to date with the latest advancements in your industry? Well, someone else is.

Lifelong learning ensures that you’re the most qualified and suited to your job. It could even make you irreplaceable. If you’re competent, vastly skilled and knowledgeable, your job will remain yours. Having job skills which match market needs makes you an asset to your company.

A great way to stand out is to participate in job-related online courses voluntarily. It’ll show your company that you’re committed to improving yourself and the quality of your work.

2. It empowers you

Lifelong learning is a proactive way to take charge of your career and tailor it into your dream job.

Through lifelong learning, you can diversify your interests, specialise in a field, move vertically or horizontally within your career and advance your expertise. The choice is yours. Lifelong learning allows you to pursue and manage your career by moulding it into your version of a perfect career.

Decide what you want your career to look like, then start investing time and resources to make it happen.

And in case you don’t want to tackle this alone, career counsellors are trained to guide and support you through this empowering process.

3. It leads to personal growth 

Lifelong learning will help you become the best version of yourself. A great way to achieve this is to embark on a journey to self -discovery and personal growth. This develops your potential and improves the quality of your future self. 

Personal growth is not necessarily an academic procedure. It can be as simple as reading self-help books, journaling, taking a personality test or networking with industry role models. Learning isn’t always academic; it’s about being taught or experiencing something new.

4. It maximises innovation and flexibility

The secret to innovation is lifelong learning; they go hand in hand. If you just know the basics of your role, you probably won’t be revolutionising your company anytime soon.

Researchers found that lifelong learning can result in innovation. By accumulating new knowledge and skills, you are more likely to develop new, ground-breaking ideas and solutions. 

At work, lifelong learning is essential to adapt to changes and seize new opportunities – it helps you become more flexible, which is a key skill for the modern workplace.

So, make sure to ask questions, learn from people’s mistakes and seek others’ perspectives to expand your own. Everyone has got something unique to teach you, and you can spend our whole life learning from others. 

5. It gives you a competitive edge

In today’s volatile work environment, the average person will likely change jobs 10 to 15 times throughout their career. This means you need to ensure that you are always employable. So, what sets you apart from other applicants? That would be lifelong learning. 

Unfortunately, a degree diploma is no longer enough to see you through your entire career. However, through lifelong learning, you can maintain a competitive advantage as a jobseeker. Not only will it help you increase your adaptability but also boost your employability.

Having an impressive list of skills and formal qualifications on your CV will certainly make you stand out

6. It sparks passion

Lifelong learning provides the excitement of mastering new skills, helps us rediscover meaning in our work and enables us to look at things from a new perspective. It’s a routine-breaker and a challenger, which can help you fall in love with your profession all over again.

If you want to boost your knowledge and excitement about your profession, then consider researching the latest advances on the web, reading industry magazines and keeping up with your career role models on professional networks.

7. It increases your confidence

Did you know you can achieve anything you put your mind too? If you have some doubts about this, then you need a self-esteem and self-confidence booster. Lifelong learning is a great way to sharpen your confidence

Not only that, but it can also remind you of what we have to offer. When you achieve your learning goals, you experience a renewed sense of pride and self-reliance.

Remember to keep track of all your learning objectives and to tick them off as you achieve them. But also, to celebrate your accomplishments and career advances.

8. It can lead to a promotion

We’ve all seen job promotions go to people who keep up with the latest industry advancements and technology. So, why not take your own earning potential to the next level?

Lifelong learning can broaden your prospects of a fatter paycheck. To achieve this, you must continuously update your skills and knowledge to get that raise you’ve been dreaming of.

First, it might be wise to consult your supervisor about the knowledge or skill requirements necessary for a promotion. Once you know which areas you need to address, let the learning begin!

9. It enriches other areas of your life

Let’s just get this straight: to have an enriched life you don’t need to be rich financially. It means having a life full of meaning, fulfilment and satisfaction.

Lifelong learning enriches our lives in that way. It increases our awareness and curiosity, and it helps us embrace who we are. To be continuously open to learning means that we’re creating an exciting multi-dimensional life. One to be remembered.

Diversifying your learning is also a great way to enrich your life further. If you normally read fictional books, switch it up with a different genre, try reading an autobiography, for instance, or a collection of essays! This is a good approach to take with other learning mediums, too, including music, podcasts and movies.

10. It preserves your mental health 

Ageing is a natural process, and while lifelong learning might not be able to save us from the wrinkles, it does wonders for our memory! Indeed, it has been proven that it keeps our mental operations sharp. 

Research has shown that people with more education are less likely to have dementia in their old age. So, by becoming a lifelong learner, you can enhance and preserve your memory.

Lifelong learning is not just about professional development. Indeed, you can also devote yourself to learning more about your interests, which are ever-changing throughout your life. Whether it’s crafts, nature, cooking or sports; there’s always a new area to learn more about.

11. You can keep abreast with technology

Technology: the most incredible and frustrating part of life. It’s complicated, and if you’ve never been frustrated with technology, you’re probably lying.

Lifelong learning is simply practical, if not crucial, in this technological era. With so many new technological developments, it’s essential to keep up. Oh, the joys of working in the 21st century

We encounter technology daily, so mastering it is a huge advantage. The outcomes will make your life easier and even more enjoyable.

Take time to sit with a patient friend or consultant to learn about the technology you deal with. Don’t just learn how to operate it, learn why you operate it in that way. Don’t be afraid of buying yourself a new tech device, take up the challenge and reap the benefits.

12. It improves relationships

This means more socialising and more friends. Fun for extroverts and not so much fun for introverts. In any case, an active social life is hugely beneficial for anyone.

Lifelong learning helps us meet more people and forge new meaningful relationships. These arising opportunities to socialise improve our interpersonal skills. When we share what we know, we can help others learn and enhance our relationships. It’s great: we’re learning, we’re engaged in life, and we’re engaged with those around us.

Take the leap. There is power in diversifying your network. Someone different from you will teach you a lot more than someone similar to you.

13. You can contribute to society

I think we all agree that the world would be a much better place if it were filled with people actively contributing to society.

When you learn a new skill, you have the opportunity to advance your career and use it for good. It’s important to take what you’ve learnt and utilise it to improve your community

14. You can hone your natural abilities

By being a proactive learner, you can develop your natural talents whether you’re aware of them or not. Through self-development, you have the opportunity to explore your innate abilities fully. As a result, you can identify your strengths and use them to your advantage in life and your career.

Sometimes all it takes is some introspect. Try to get to know yourself: your passions, skills and aspirations. Study yourself. Self-awareness is a sign of excellence.

15. It’s fun

We all have a desire to learn. Or, better yet, we all have a desire to be better at what we do.

When it comes to lifelong learning, you can devote yourself to whatever piques your interest. Whether it’s for personal benefit or professional development, you’ll find enjoyment in the process of bettering yourself

The benefits of lifelong learning stretch far and wide, from financial gains to career advancement to increasing your overall quality of life. It is essential.

Regardless of your age and circumstances, you can ensure that your learning never stops. Life will never stop teaching, so you should never stop learning.

Peter Drucker, one of the most influential thinkers on management, once said, ‘Knowledge is choice’. 

How do you think lifelong learning will help you succeed? Do you think knowledge is powerful enough to improve the quality of your life and career? Let us know in the comments section below!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in December 2016.