Click Here

Be Like Hank: Habits of Lifelong Learners

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

Habits of Lifelong Learners

Visualization Credit: @drex_jpg

When I grow up, I want to be like Hank.

Hank is a 95-year-old man who lives in the same neighborhood as my parents. He is (mostly) quite ordinary--he's been married for 50+ years, has two children, 4 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. He has a sweet, loving personality and is always quick on the draw with a self-deprecating joke.

Re-reading the above, I suppose there are many reasons I might want to grow up to be like Hank, but one in particular stands out above the rest:

Hank is a true lifelong learner.

Hank Goes to Harvard

A few years ago, when Hank was turning 90, his wife asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Both of them being in good health, she assumed he would ask for a nice vacation or perhaps a special dinner.

His response surprised her:

"I've always wanted to see what those geniuses were up to at Harvard. I'd like to spend a day there."

Never one to be deterred by a challenge, Hank's wife contacted my father, who she knew was a longtime professor at the school. He was able to coordinate with a handful of professors for Hank to attend classes for a day--the plan was in motion.

A few weeks later, Hank woke up early, put on a nice pair of slacks, a shirt, and a sweater, and made the drive to Cambridge to spend the day at Harvard.

Hank had chosen an eclectic assortment of classes: astronomy, entry-level physics, and psychology. He arrived early, sat in the front row, took notes, and even asked questions.

Imagine that: a 90-year-old man sitting in the front row of a Harvard astronomy course, taking notes and asking questions about wormholes and distant galaxies.

Hank had his day at Harvard--and he certainly made the most of it.

Reclaiming the Love of Learning

Lifelong learning is amazing.

When you're a child, you're wide-eyed and curious about...well...everything. Everything is so new and awe-inspiring. You don't learn for any "purpose" or end goal--you learn for the sake of learning. You learn because you enjoy learning.

Unfortunately, as you get older, the forced structure of our formal education years often saps this innate curiosity and excitement for learning.

Learning becomes a means to an end.

You learn for a test, you learn to get into college, you learn to get a job. You basically learn for every reason other than for the joy of learning.

Interestingly, this anecdotally appears to reduce the effectiveness of learning in precipitating durable personal growth. New knowledge is crammed into closed containers in our brains--it's not allowed to mingle and network in a way that sparks new thinking pathways.

I certainly experienced this. From ages 14 to 30, I would characterize my learning as targeted and tactical. I became transactional with my learning.

The basic formula: If I learn [X], then I will get [Y].

On my 30th birthday, I decided enough was enough. I was going to reclaim my joy of learning. I was going to learn for the sake of learning.

I was going to become a lifelong learner.

I was going to Be Like Hank.

Habits of Lifelong Learners

As I set out to reclaim my love of learning, I started to carefully observe the greatest lifelong learners around me.

I quickly realized that lifelong learners had a clear competitive edge.

Their knowledge and understanding of the world seemed to defy gravity--they seemed to grow in a continuous, compounding manner. Their daily pursuit of learning allowed them to stack daily "tiny gains" that created a tremendous long-term advantage.

I made a list of their habits that I had observed--habits that I believe anyone can implement to reclaim the love of learning and become a more effective lifelong learner.

Here are the 5 core habits of highly-effective lifelong learners:

#1 - Dynamic Mental Stimulation

The mind is a muscle. Just like your other muscles, it needs to be stimulated dynamically to continue to grow.

Don’t rely on one form of “exercise” for your brain--develop a menu of options.

Write, read, listen, watch. Solve puzzles, play games.

Enjoy it! Stimulate dynamically, learn dynamically.

#2 - Build Learning Circles

In 1727, Ben Franklin organized a weekly meeting with a small group he named The Junto Club. It was a collection of minds from diverse industries. They gathered weekly to discuss, collaborate, and brainstorm.

Franklin knew that the most powerful learning is communal, not individual.

Build learning circles with other intellectually curious minds. Engage regularly with no set intention or goal.

Community is everything. Embrace it.

#3 - Build a Learning Engine

The “learning engine” is at the core of every lifelong learner.

It's comprised of all the learning “inputs” regularly consumed:

  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Videos
  • Newspapers
  • Etc.

The internet has opened access to it all. Lifelong learners build a high-signal, repeatable learning engine.

#4 - Consistently Ask "Why?"

“Why?” is the most useful tool in our learning toolkit. Independent, first principles thinking is at the heart of growth.

But somewhere along the line, we are told to stop asking why and just accept “facts” as we are told them.

Reject the norm. If you want to understand the world, take a cue from our kids--keep asking why!

#5 - Read Daily

This one is pretty simple: Lifelong learners read--a lot!

I've never met a highly-successful person who wasn't an avid reader. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between.

Most importantly, read broadly and without any ends in mind.

Elon Musk cites The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--a teenage sci-fi novel--as the most impactful book in his life. There is no "purpose" for him in reading that book, but the ideas and interactions it created sparked new learnings and growth.

Conclusion

Those with a deep, visceral love of learning will never stop growing.

Whether you're 25 and just starting out in your career--or 95 and sitting through a day of classes at Harvard--developing and cultivating a love of learning will not lead you astray.

Implement these 5 habits into your life and see what happens. You won't regret it.

Today, tomorrow, and forever, let's all Be Like Hank.

Be Like Hank: Habits of Lifelong Learners

Sahil Bloom

Welcome to the 242 new members of the curiosity tribe who have joined us since Wednesday. Join the 57,887 others who are receiving high-signal, curiosity-inducing content every single week.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content,

just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • mldsa
  • ,l;cd
  • mkclds

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of"

nested selector

system.

Habits of Lifelong Learners

Visualization Credit: @drex_jpg

When I grow up, I want to be like Hank.

Hank is a 95-year-old man who lives in the same neighborhood as my parents. He is (mostly) quite ordinary--he's been married for 50+ years, has two children, 4 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. He has a sweet, loving personality and is always quick on the draw with a self-deprecating joke.

Re-reading the above, I suppose there are many reasons I might want to grow up to be like Hank, but one in particular stands out above the rest:

Hank is a true lifelong learner.

Hank Goes to Harvard

A few years ago, when Hank was turning 90, his wife asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Both of them being in good health, she assumed he would ask for a nice vacation or perhaps a special dinner.

His response surprised her:

"I've always wanted to see what those geniuses were up to at Harvard. I'd like to spend a day there."

Never one to be deterred by a challenge, Hank's wife contacted my father, who she knew was a longtime professor at the school. He was able to coordinate with a handful of professors for Hank to attend classes for a day--the plan was in motion.

A few weeks later, Hank woke up early, put on a nice pair of slacks, a shirt, and a sweater, and made the drive to Cambridge to spend the day at Harvard.

Hank had chosen an eclectic assortment of classes: astronomy, entry-level physics, and psychology. He arrived early, sat in the front row, took notes, and even asked questions.

Imagine that: a 90-year-old man sitting in the front row of a Harvard astronomy course, taking notes and asking questions about wormholes and distant galaxies.

Hank had his day at Harvard--and he certainly made the most of it.

Reclaiming the Love of Learning

Lifelong learning is amazing.

When you're a child, you're wide-eyed and curious about...well...everything. Everything is so new and awe-inspiring. You don't learn for any "purpose" or end goal--you learn for the sake of learning. You learn because you enjoy learning.

Unfortunately, as you get older, the forced structure of our formal education years often saps this innate curiosity and excitement for learning.

Learning becomes a means to an end.

You learn for a test, you learn to get into college, you learn to get a job. You basically learn for every reason other than for the joy of learning.

Interestingly, this anecdotally appears to reduce the effectiveness of learning in precipitating durable personal growth. New knowledge is crammed into closed containers in our brains--it's not allowed to mingle and network in a way that sparks new thinking pathways.

I certainly experienced this. From ages 14 to 30, I would characterize my learning as targeted and tactical. I became transactional with my learning.

The basic formula: If I learn [X], then I will get [Y].

On my 30th birthday, I decided enough was enough. I was going to reclaim my joy of learning. I was going to learn for the sake of learning.

I was going to become a lifelong learner.

I was going to Be Like Hank.

Habits of Lifelong Learners

As I set out to reclaim my love of learning, I started to carefully observe the greatest lifelong learners around me.

I quickly realized that lifelong learners had a clear competitive edge.

Their knowledge and understanding of the world seemed to defy gravity--they seemed to grow in a continuous, compounding manner. Their daily pursuit of learning allowed them to stack daily "tiny gains" that created a tremendous long-term advantage.

I made a list of their habits that I had observed--habits that I believe anyone can implement to reclaim the love of learning and become a more effective lifelong learner.

Here are the 5 core habits of highly-effective lifelong learners:

#1 - Dynamic Mental Stimulation

The mind is a muscle. Just like your other muscles, it needs to be stimulated dynamically to continue to grow.

Don’t rely on one form of “exercise” for your brain--develop a menu of options.

Write, read, listen, watch. Solve puzzles, play games.

Enjoy it! Stimulate dynamically, learn dynamically.

#2 - Build Learning Circles

In 1727, Ben Franklin organized a weekly meeting with a small group he named The Junto Club. It was a collection of minds from diverse industries. They gathered weekly to discuss, collaborate, and brainstorm.

Franklin knew that the most powerful learning is communal, not individual.

Build learning circles with other intellectually curious minds. Engage regularly with no set intention or goal.

Community is everything. Embrace it.

#3 - Build a Learning Engine

The “learning engine” is at the core of every lifelong learner.

It's comprised of all the learning “inputs” regularly consumed:

  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Videos
  • Newspapers
  • Etc.

The internet has opened access to it all. Lifelong learners build a high-signal, repeatable learning engine.

#4 - Consistently Ask "Why?"

“Why?” is the most useful tool in our learning toolkit. Independent, first principles thinking is at the heart of growth.

But somewhere along the line, we are told to stop asking why and just accept “facts” as we are told them.

Reject the norm. If you want to understand the world, take a cue from our kids--keep asking why!

#5 - Read Daily

This one is pretty simple: Lifelong learners read--a lot!

I've never met a highly-successful person who wasn't an avid reader. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between.

Most importantly, read broadly and without any ends in mind.

Elon Musk cites The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--a teenage sci-fi novel--as the most impactful book in his life. There is no "purpose" for him in reading that book, but the ideas and interactions it created sparked new learnings and growth.

Conclusion

Those with a deep, visceral love of learning will never stop growing.

Whether you're 25 and just starting out in your career--or 95 and sitting through a day of classes at Harvard--developing and cultivating a love of learning will not lead you astray.

Implement these 5 habits into your life and see what happens. You won't regret it.

Today, tomorrow, and forever, let's all Be Like Hank.