Developing a Learning Mindset

Industry Matters Newsletter

Learning should be a lifelong pursuit, and to become more motivated to learn, you need to develop a learning mindset. Speaker and writer Gary Bolles shows you how to develop that mindset, so you can see challenges as opportunities and become motivated to learn something new every day. 

The most important step for developing a learning mindset is to first develop the motivation to learn. Without motivation, Bolles says, any new learning opportunity will be useless. The biggest motivator to learn is to understand that we need to be able to adapt to change, and the only way to do that is to always be ready and willing to learn.

Learning transforms how the brain work. If you think of learning as a process of actually changing the way your brain works, then you’re building a learning mindset. As you learn, Bolles says, you develop three types of skills—knowledge, transferable skills and traits. Knowledge is when you understand specific information in a field of interest or activity, transferable skills are abilities used in different situations, and traits are skills you use to manage yourself.

A love of knowledge is critical for your continued interest to learn more about a particular topic. Additionally, there may be several topics you love, but you don’t know them as well as you like. Keep an eye on those, because they would be useful topics to focus on in your learning journey.

Learning is useless without a long-term memory to retain what you learn. Strengthen your long-term memory by using multiple parts of your brain (i.e.—associate words with pictures), experience a little stress, and stay on top of your sleep, nutrition and exercise.

Since developing the motivation to learn is the most important thing about developing a learning mindset, it is only natural that knowing how to stay motivated is also a key component. To grow as a learner you need a good learning environment, support from others, interest in new topics, love for learning new things, and the time and circumstances necessary to allow you to learn.

Staying motivated to learn is easy when learning is fun. To make learning a fun experience be creative. If you are not already learning something inherently fun, try turning learning into a game, learning with other people,  or teaching someone else what you’ve learned.