It was said to me once to not be a “know-it-all” but strive to be a “learn-it-all.”  To “learn-it-all” is a seemingly impossible task, because the wells of knowledge are endless.  However, I think the phrase is alluding to adopting a mindset of learning. We must resolve to be lifelong learners.  Learning is more than just accumulating facts. Learning enables us to grow in our character, enhance our relationships and provides open doors for new experiences.  Where do we start? There is so much we could learn that the thought of even beginning the process can be paralyzing. I know I have experienced this myself and still do on occasion.  I found David Mathis’s book “The Habits of Grace” to be immensely helpful in directing/orienting our focus on being lifelong learners. He provides two helpful questions to ask as you ponder what to learn.  Mathis also lays out 5 helpful principles for lifelong learning.The two important questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. What is the framework for our lifelong learning?
  2. How might we go about practicing such learning for a lifetime?

We are unable to know everything.  The first question is so important for setting up the goal/focus of our learning.  The next question helps us think about the game plan for going about this lifelong learning.  To help get us started Mathis provides these 5 principles:

  1. Vary your sources and seasons.
  2. Create space and redeem spare time.
  3. Mind the mindless moments.
  4. Adapt to new media.
  5. Embrace the identity of a learner.

Varying our sources such as using online services, audio, books, or video helps to keep things fresh.  Of course time needs to be set aside to make all this happen. Scheduling alerts on our phones/calendars can be helpful to keep us on track and develop discipline in our learning.  Consistent time and place also helps to bolster our discipline. Take advantage of those mindless moments, the unexpected free time or long wait in the DMV line. These moments are great opportunities to read or listen to the next chapter of a book.  Media is always changing with new, innovative ways to learn. Adapting to these changes opens us up to fun and exciting ways to learn and most likely faster ways to learn. We all have a limited time on this earth so the faster we can learn the better.  Lastly, embrace being a lifelong learner. Learning should be a fun process not a chore. There are too many amazing things in this world for us to sit idly by and allow it to pass by without a glance or thought.

If you cannot “know-it-all” resolve to be a “learn-it-all”.

– Matt Casperson, DC