In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
The ability to expand your mind and commit to lifelong learning is critical to your success, even happiness. Professionally, acquiring new knowledge is the key to breaking any success barriers that might be in front of you. Personally, as Dan Gilbert showed in his book, stumbling on happiness - we are terrible predictors of what will make us happy. By learning and understanding the topics that motivate us, we can make informed decisions (as opposed to wildly predicting) what we want to pursue in our lives. After all, we only have a limited time to find them out and really enjoy them.
How a commitment to learning will change your life
- You can relate to more people – relationships form the bedrock of success. Being versatile in your interests, allows you to connect with a variety of different people.
- You become a pro networker – you become a “connector” for your contacts. This golden networking rule means offering value to your contacts before you attempt to derive any benefit from the relationship. By having a foot in two different communities you can create valuable and exclusive introductions for your contacts - a vital networking currency.
- You become intriguing – successful people have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. The secret to networking with successful people is not being successful yourself. You just have to be interesting. The ability to guide conversations through a variety of subjects, instantly makes you a more fascinating and well-rounded individual.
- You become an expert at learning – learning quickly and competently is a skill. The more you learn the better you become at learning.
- You can see the matrix – the greatest innovations of the last century have happened at the cross section of several fields - where ideas from one field were used to make a breakthrough in another. Seeing the bigger picture makes you aware of the changes and puts you at the forefront of cutting edge ideas. To find out more about how lifelong learning can benefit you click here.
Continual learning is probably the most valuable commitment you can make in your life – the most successful people read on average 2-3 hours outside of their knowledge remit, per day. In light of this I have compiled a list of the best free places to learn the critical skills that will change your life.
Free online places to expand your mind
- Google World Wonders – have magnificently brought together the wonders of the ancient and modern worlds by bringing world heritage sights online so that they can be explored by people around the world.
- Reddit Lectures – provides a crowdsourced collection of top lectures from professionals, academia, governments, and inspiring leaders. The lectures are upvoted or downvoted by users.
- University of Reddit – offers free courses taught by fellow Reddit users and includes things such as computer programming and lessons in StarCraft.
- TED Talks – TED is my personal favourite and is quite literally a forum of the worlds most powerful ideas. The ideas are presented in the form of short – medium length, gripping talks by the worlds most inspirational speakers. Get ready to happily loose hours to TED. Your mind will thank you.
- Lifehacker – Daily weblog on niche facts and tips to help you live life more efficiently.
- Boundless – Boundless is shaking up the textbook industry by offering textbooks online for free.
- Internet Archive – Is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.
- Trivium Education – Many crucial skills such as critical thinking are not taught in the public school curriculum. This free resource allows you to brush up on your rhetoric, grammar, and logic with Trivium’s free resources.
- PBS Videos – Provides free and on-demand videos of national and locally produced shows from the Public Broadcasting Service.
- Project Gutenberg – A huge digital library of free ebooks.
- FutureLearn – Enjoy free online courses from top universities and specialist organisations.
- MIT Open Courseware – The iconic university offers free programming courses, including computer programming which is very relevant for young businesses today.
- PCA Blog - Short focused blog providing tips on how to your boost productivity and further your mind.
To read more on this topic check out the useful blog post by INC. on 21 Awesome Places to Learn Critical Skills That Will Change Your Life.