As humans, we’ve evolved to continue chasing knowledge and make sense of the unknown. It is part of human nature. It also helps to make us healthier. Read on for 8 reasons to learn something new today!
Performing activities that stimulate our minds consistently has been repeatedly shown to help reduce the risk of dementia. Furthermore, dopamine, long thought to be the “feel-good molecule”, is being reclassified by some scientists as the neurotransmitter of exploration.
Exploring allows us to integrate novel or unexpected events with existing knowledge and experiences, a process necessary for growth. Learning something new, especially when we’re using our curiosity, enables us to be really open to finding out new things and seeking out new information. When we engage with curiosity and see it as a strength or superpower it really helps us to get excited about the new topic we’re investigating. We figure out why it’s relevant to us, how it can help us live and apply that knowledge.
Here are eight benefits of learning something new and how those benefits can help us, and our brains, to keep evolving.
1. A catalyst
When we have gained new knowledge, the impact we have is motivating and inspiring others to switch that knowledge and application, is so powerful because we’re not only learning to further ourselves but inspiring others to learn more as well. That is part of a larger cycle of growth, and to learn and pass on knowledge allows us to continue our personal growth. It also helps release dopamine to keep us motivated while learning new things.
Research has found that [dopamine] actually controls learning retention, and we develop an appetite for the reward that comes from feeling energised when we discover something new, and extract meaning or knowledge from this.
2. Inspiring both courage and vulnerability
Both of them allow us to open up a space to let down our armour, or guard, as they often block us from gaining another perspective. That can totally change our direction, when we open ourselves up to being vulnerable, we overcome those fears of the unknown to be able to shift forward and embrace that newness.
3. Creating a sense of adventure
A new style of “adventure learning” is being used with school students to engage them in challenges that are both mental and physical, to develop determination and drive to succeed.
Activities like rope courses or structure building, fosters team-building and problem-solving. Physical activities from exercising, brain activities like crosswords and puzzles or activities that rely heavily on both i.e. painting or playing an instrument, is all about taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones.
When we step out into that vulnerability of not knowing, that’s where we can really stretch ourselves and grow even further.
4. Fostering adaptability
When we’re adaptable and being truly tuned into that, we’re opening up that opportunity to be true to ourselves and take that little step further, to embrace change and find something new that can help us even further.
Changing our thoughts or how we do things comes down to engaging and experimenting with new approaches. It’s to “find out what’s right for us right now”, and those findings help as we continue to adapt.
Anything that helps our brains’ neuroplasticity, the ability of our brains to change its neural networks and rewire itself, is beneficial.
5. Forging connection
Taking part in new and novel experiences helps us learn about ourselves and learn from others, or with others, and that is what helps form connections. A significant part of the human experience is how we relate to each other, through our experiences and knowledge.
The ability to connect with others and embrace the opportunity is absolutely incredible, especially when we find the right people.
6. Experiencing and giving gratitude
Gratitude is a positive emotion that’s a beneficial side effect of learning new things or putting new knowledge into action.
If someone has shared something new or confronted us with something new, being able to acknowledge that by expressing gratitude for ourselves, or that person, is so powerful.
In a team environment, giving and receiving gratitude strengthens the cohesion of the team and produces positive professional outcomes.
7. Driving innovation
It’s a wonderful aspect to come up with new ideas and different approaches and it partners really well with creativity in that we can think beyond what already exists and be quite creative and different.
When we embrace possibility with our approach, at an individual level and in a collaborative setting, that is where ideas, problem-solving and invention succeeds.
8. Pushing us to seek improvement
Learning gives us a feeling of accomplishment and leads us to want that feeling again.
Think about ways we can do things for the better, that can be in relation to working with your team, problem-solving, finding new solutions etc. — we’re looking for that ‘how can we improve someone else’s life?’ – it’s a process, it’s our communication, there’s so many different layers to that.
Learning should be a daily intention, but something that we embrace as being a constant surprise.
It could be something formal like listening to a podcast or reading new literature, it can be conversations with colleagues working in teams to solve a problem or long-term projects where we’ve lost the energy for it, but a new spark has ignited to progress further.
If we have it as a daily intention, opening up that possibility to learn with and from each other, it really becomes ingrained in how we approach and engage in the world.
For more tips and resources to support learning and education in your business or workplace, please reach out to our Team, we are here for you.
Article by Ronelle Richards, InTheBlack.