Today, I want to address university students. However, this is a principle that doesn’t only apply to them. Learning this “one thing” can help you become a better teacher, employee, boss, salesman, or pastor even if you’ve been out of college for 20 years. No matter what university you attend, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot. From your introductory classes like Christ, Culture, and the University to your general education classes to major-level classes, your time spent in the classroom gives you more insights to certain subjects than you’ve ever had before. You also know that learning doesn’t just happen inside the classroom. Your extracurricular activities teach you valuable lessons about working with others. If you’re a senior, think back about your first semester as a freshman. How much have you learned, grown and developed since then?
Still, if you were to ask me, there’s one thing that I would want every university student to learn, no matter what field of study they’re pursuing. For most students, learning this “one thing” comes from adopting a mindset more than being taught a particular lesson.
So, what’s the one thing I would want students to learn during their years at a university?
Become a lifelong learner.
If there’s one thing that’s true about successful people, it’s that they never stop learning. A perfect example of this is the late Zig Ziglar. Mr. Ziglar was one of the most successful salesmen, authors, and motivational speakers of the 20th century.
However, Mr. Ziglar didn’t stop learning because of his success. Instead, he kept emphasizing the importance of learning in every stage of life. Here’s what he had to say about the importance of becoming a lifelong learner:
“Life is a classroom—only those who are willing to be lifelong learners will move to the head of the class.” —Zig Ziglar
Every student learns something while in university. However, very few learn this principle. Most people think that once you’re out of high school or graduate from a university, you can stop “learning.” Although you may never sit through another lecture or take another test, learning never stops.
The key, whether you’re 22 or 82, is to adopt the mindset of a lifelong learner. This is a crucial component to being faithful with your God-given divine design. God always wants us to be learning, growing, and developing our gifts and talents.
What does it mean to be a lifelong learner?
While there are numerous ways you can commit to lifelong learning, here are a few characteristics:
- Read more books. Can you believe that 42% of college graduates never pick up another book after college? If you want to be a lifelong learner, a person of influence, or if you want to lead, or for that matter if you want to succeed, start reading.
- Continually analyze your strengths. Even as an experienced salesman, Mr. Ziglar would analyze his work, taking copious notes about ways he could improve. No matter what position you hold, reflecting on your strengths will reveal areas where you’ve improved or can improve more. Be disciplined in taking time to reflect on your strengths and analyzing them.
- Always be considerate of the lessons others can teach you. Lifelong learners approach every relationship with an understanding that they can learn something from it. Other people have life experience, knowledge, and skillsets that you may not have. The key is to consider how you can learn from each of them to improve yourself.
If you learn one thing while in university, learn the importance of becoming a lifelong learner.
In what other ways can we commit to becoming lifelong learners? How have you benefitted from adopting a mindset of continual learning?