Five Ways to Always Be Learning
How to continue your education outside the classroom
The Rich Dad Company's mission is, "To elevate the financial well being of humanity." Robert and I have carried that mission with us from the moment we set out on our journey. We knew it was going to be a long road, but we truly believed that we could make a difference and help others achieve financial freedom.
There were many ways we could have gone about achieving our mission, but in the end it seemed clear to us that focusing our efforts on financial education was the best choice. After all, education is the first step to changing your life.
At Rich Dad, we believe you should always be learning. The world is always changing. New technology, new terminology, and changes in the political and economic arenas are always happening. In order to keep up, you have to always be learning. It doesn't matter what you're learning, as long as you are continually educating yourself and acquiring new knowledge and skills.
Why you should keep learning
Learning is a habit. Your brain is a muscle, and like any other muscle you have to work it out by continually learning new things.
But for many, it's hard to keep learning, especially when your days are eaten up by a 9-to-5 job. But if you're stuck on the left side of the Cashflow Quadrant, living life as an employee, continuing your education is especially important because it's the only way you can make the shift to the right side.
Oftentimes, employees get really good at one specific set of skills. They perform the same job every day, and develop an in-depth understanding of that one area. But over time, if they aren't learning and growing, they lose their ability to learn new things. And with it, they lose the chance to grow and make the shift to the right side of the quadrant.
The good news is there are multiple ways you can continue your education, and none of them involve shelling out a ton of money or going back to school.
This might seem like a no brainer, but the sad fact is, a good number of adults don't finish a single book in a year. In fact, according to Pew Research, 27% of adults never read or even started reading a book in 2015.
Books are one of our greatest resources when it comes to continual learning. That's why Robert and I have published multiple books over the past several years. They're easier to access than ever with the advent of e-readers, and there's a book for every topic you might be interested in.
You can also find online blogs and articles that keep you informed. Just picking up the newspaper in the morning could teach you so much. A few weeks ago I wrote about a nun in Germany who studied investing just by reading the financial column of the newspaper every day. She didn't have any other formal education, but found a way to continue learning that paid off big in the end. If she can do it, so can you.
2) Listen to Podcasts
Don't have time to read? Try a podcast. The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere. On your morning commute to work, on an airplane, or even when you're doing chores around the house.
Robert and I started the Rich Dad Radio Show podcast a few years back once we saw how valuable podcasts were. In our show, we bring on guests with unique experiences, backgrounds, and opinions to discuss different financial topics. While our podcasts last an hour, you can find other podcasts that range from 10 minutes to half an hour.
You can browse through podcasts available through the iTunes store or other outlets. The best part? Most of the time, they're completely free! That's right, you get continuing education, anytime, anywhere, for free. Still think you can't continue to learn outside of school?
3) Sign up for a course
Like I said before, you don't have to go back to school to continue to learn. But if you find that you learn information better in a more formal environment, you might consider signing up for an educational course.
This could be an in-person course or an online course you can complete on your own time. For example, CodeAcademy is an online platform that lets you learn how to code on your own time. You can learn the basics for free at your own pace.
Many universities are starting to offer courses online as well, for lowered costs or even for free. Yale, for examples, offers a whole series of recorded lectures at Open Yale for free. You can choose from their offered topics and watch distinguished professors lecture from the comfort of your own couch. Their classes range from introductory psychology to politics to music.
At Rich Dad, we offer workshops across different platforms and cities to help bring the ideas we discuss every week directly to you. From online webinars to in-person workshops and one-on-one training, you can get the lessons of Rich Dad in whatever method you best learn.
Everyone has a different way of learning, so finding a workshop or course that meets your learning style is imperative.
4) Play games
I always laugh at people's reactions to this one. They often ask how playing a game could possibly teach you something new. I just point them to our CASHFLOW® board game.
Robert and I created CASHFLOW® as a way for people to practice what they'd learned about financial literacy without putting real money on the line. The best way to learn is by doing, so why not play games to practice your newfound knowledge.
Beyond the content of the games, every time you sit down to play a new game you exercise that part of your brain that helps you learn new things. Think about it! When you learn a new card game or board game, you have to learn the rules quickly and apply them in order to win. And since each game is different, you are always practicing learning.
Chess, for example, is all about strategy and predicting your opponent's next move. Even video games can teach you a thing or two about leadership and creativity, especially if you play with or against others.
Not to mention, playing a game is often far more fun that sitting down to read a textbook.
5) Build new relationships
The amount of information we learn from other people is astounding. You've learned all of life's most important lessons from other people. You learned how to walk and talk from your parents and you learned social skills on the playground as a child.
Every time you meet someone new you learn something. Everyone has their own wealth of knowledge gleaned from their own unique backgrounds and experiences. Sometimes, the greatest way to learn something new is by taking someone to lunch and just having a conversation.
That's why it's important to build new relationships with people who have different backgrounds and experiences than you. Whether it's a mentor, a friend, an acquaintance or even a family member with interesting experiences, learning from others is a great and engaging way to continue your education.
Cultivate the habit of learning
Even if it's something small, try learning at least one new thing a day. Be mindful in your continuing education. Go into the day having a specific goal in mind, or area in which you want to grow. Make continuing education one of your resolutions for 2017.