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The Most Important Skill You Will Want to Develop in Your Life

Bill Abbate
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Is anything in life more important than learning? Think about it. Everything you have done in life and everything you will do in the future depends on what you have learned. Do you think learning is important? For most of us, the answer is absolutely, positively, without hesitation, and without question, YES!

Learning is a crucial life skill.

That last statement brings up a question. Is learning a skill, or is it an ability? Yes.

Learning is both an ability and a skill. The definition of skill according to the Oxford Dictionary is:

Skill – noun: - the ability to do something well; expertise. - a particular ability.

Now, look at the definition of ability in the Oxford Dictionary:

Ability – noun - possession of the means or skill to do something. - talent, skill, or proficiency in a particular area.

So yes, ability and skill are synonymous.

Outside of those things needed to stay alive, such as the vital need for air, food, and water, what could be more important than learning?

What makes learning important?

Where would anything living be without its ability to learn? There is only one place I can think of, and it’s not where I want to go anytime soon!

Even at its most basic, life depends on learning. You would not have survived outside the womb were it not for your parents and your own ability to learn. A big part of learning is changing. Change in life is inevitable. So long as you remain alive, you must cope with change from birth until death, however slight it may be at times. Change always requires adapting and learning.

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

I find life is about two fundamental things, each crucial for living. The first is relationship. Without relationship life becomes meaningless and will soon cease to exist. Similarly, without learning, life fades away into a state of nonexistence.

When a person stops learning, their life becomes less fulfilling, and their enjoyment of life diminishes. It will eventually lead to meaninglessness. Without meaning in life, you atrophy, and then you die. That sounds like a sad existence, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, there is no good reason or excuse not to continue learning your entire life. I must agree with the famous Indian philosopher Krishnamurti on this point.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

For the love of life and learning

How can we love and enjoy life if we do not learn? Learning is an integral part of the process of loving and enjoying life. It is impossible to separate true love of life and the enjoyment of life from learning.

Do you want to know one of the things I enjoy most about learning? I get to do things! It is in the doing that I learn most and find the greatest fulfillment.

As author Frank Herbert said long ago:

“One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.” Frank Herbert (1920-1986)

For me, the doing is writing, my hobbies, coaching, mentoring, and discipling others. I love to learn by reading, but when I learn by writing and doing these other things, wow! Do they ever fill my life! Even in retirement, my life is overflowing with abundance because of my love for learning, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Final thoughts

You love to learn, don’t you? Do you know how I know? You are reading this!

You read many things not just for enjoyment but to satisfy your curiosity. You read to gain more from life, expand your mind, and find other ways of thinking and different perspectives, as well as a hundred other things that drive your desire to read.

So yes, you are a learner. Why not fully embrace this fact and let the world know the opportunity available to them when they learn to love learning.

Like you and me, they must live their life anyway, so why not help them realize they too can live an exciting life by embracing it as a learner?

I leave you with a final quote and hope it inspires you to develop your love for learning and help others do the same.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” Anthony J. D’Angelo (1934 – 2019)

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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