When most people see or hear the word spiritual they instinctively think of religion. This makes them sceptical about the whole subject. Others think of wild-haired, heavily-bearded, weirdly-dressed and chanting people. Even though the latter is true to an extent, it only proves that spirituality is subjective. You don’t have to dress or talk a certain way unless you feel the need to.
You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual, I thought I’d get that clear before moving on. In today’s world spirituality is broad and there’s no single definition for it. I believe we’re a part of and made from something bigger than us. I refer to this higher power as God. Other people call this Universal Intelligence, Divine Oneness, Life Force, Infinite Energy, Pure Consciousness and many more. The underlying premise is somewhat the same. Your purpose is revealed when you’re in harmony with your higher self. I believe in helping others, curiosity, creativity and wisdom. These things help me in my spiritual journey.
Interconnectedness of our humanness is needed because society is becoming increasingly self-destructive. At the same time more people seem to be awakening spiritually, which makes it even more mind boggling. We need to work exhaustively on our individual selves (spiritually). This will enable us to see the importance of others. We’re one and the same and we can achieve the greater good collectively.
The following 20 skills and qualities make up the core essence of Lifelong Learner Lifestyle and all of them can be learned or cultivated.
Flexibility is another way of putting it. In this fast paced and ever-changing world it’s important to be able to adjust to new conditions. Quit complaining and be open to change, technology is not waiting for anyone to catch up. When you develop a growth mindset you become better prepared for new challenges. “Action and adaptability create opportunity.’ Garrison Wynn
Lack of ambition means lack of motivation and enthusiasm. You need to have that strong desire and perseverance to achieve your dreams. Ignore the naysayers who say you’re being over ambitious. In other words self-determination is an important factor in becoming successful. “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.’ Walter H. Cottingham
Every successful person in this world has had to work with other people at some point in their lives. Collaboration helps build rapport and can also aid in spiritual growth. It allows you to map out your strengths and weaknesses. What are you bringing to the table? What do you need? Two heads are better than one. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ Helen Keller
It’s almost impossible to achieve anything worthwhile in life without good communication skills . You have to be able to share ideas and feelings effectively through reading, writing, speaking and listening. The ability to use communication technologies (computers, telephones and wireless networks etc.) is also imperative. “The art of communication is the language of leadership.’ James C. Humes
By caring and loving others and all living things of the planet we build a better world to live in. Compassion brings us closer together and our higher selves. It’s a catalyst to spiritual awakening and by learning to be compassionate we’re opening our hearts to others, nature, animals and the universe. “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.’ Dalai Lama
We need to be able to overpower pain, grief and stand up for what we believe in. Courage does not only refer to physical strength and forbearance, but also mental resilience and revolution. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who feels afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’ Nelson Mandela
Other words for creativity are innovation and imagination. Every human being is creative. It’s a pity a lot of people aren’t aware of this so they tend to put themselves down. I’m just not that creative – sound familiar? We’re all unique and have innate talents. “The important thing for you is to be alert, to question, to find out, so that your own initiative may be awakened.’ Bruce Lee
This is an integral part of being a lifelong learner because it enhances your logical reasoning capabilities. Lifelong Learner Lifestyle encourages self-directed projects and personal development. With critical thinking skills one is able to reflect, analyse and plan. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ Albert Einstein
It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention but I believe when paired with curiosity it makes for a coherent argument. Curiosity is one of the major driving forces behind lifelong learning and finding meaning in life. Accumulate knowledge in order to become curious and you also need to be able to tolerate uncertainty. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.’ Dorothy Parker
In order to bring structure and stability in your life and to live a lifelong learner lifestyle you need discipline. Most successful people on the planet have a good grasp on discipline – on the contrary a lot of talented people have crumbled from the lack of it. It teaches us to be respectful and responsible both internally and externally. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.’ Jim Rohn
Some academics say that emotional intelligence is the key to professional and personal success. It’s about recognising and managing your own emotions as well as other people’s emotions. The ability to cheer up or calm down other people when necessary is commendable. “If you’re tuned out of your own emotions, you’ll be poor in reading them in other people.’ Daniel Goleman
Life is going to knock you about, that’s a given, and how you deal with the ups and downs is what defines you. Being connected to your spiritual side also helps in cultivating emotional resilience. “If you have high self-esteem, you might still know times of emotional suffering, but less often and with faster recovery – your resilience is greater.’ Nathaniel Branden
Like compassion, empathy is another “gateway” practice to spiritual awakening. It’s the ability to feel other people’s emotions or placing yourself in another’s position. Pure empathy is a divine state of interconnectedness – becoming one with all things in the universe. “When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.’ Susan Sarandon
Being thankful and showing appreciation makes you a happier and healthier person. Gratitude helps you to get rid of the ego and leads you into the direct path of spiritual growth. It also strengthens your emotions and triggers positive feedback loops. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.’ Willie Nelson
This is a must-have skill in today’s world – we’re living in the information age and it is important to learn how to decipher which information is useful to you. We need to learn how to collect, store and disseminate information for business or personal purposes. “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.’ Benjamin Disraeli
Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. Each one teach one and always be the one to initiate positive change. Uplift yourself and uplift others. Honesty, integrity and making others feel safe are vital attributes of being a good leader. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.’ Martin Luther King Jr
Taming the mind to see your thoughts more clearly – also known as mindfulness. Meditation is both a skill and an experience which enables us to learn to have a direct involvement with the here and now. “Meditation brings wisdom, lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.’ Buddha
Most companies are looking to hire people who have good problem solving skills. These skills are also extremely beneficial in everyday life. It’s the ability to identify or define a problem, generate alternatives, evaluate/select alternatives and implement solutions. “A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.’ C.S. Lewis
This process supports and reinforces learning. Every person should be able to reflect (not dwell blindly) on anything if they wish to progress in life. It’s about looking at situations and dissecting them in order to see how you can improve or tackle them if they were to happen again. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.’ Søren Kierkegaard
By knowing yourself (your feelings, thoughts, actions, strengths and weaknesses) you have better discernment of your learning needs and the path to take in life. Self-aware people have better psychological health and a positive outlook on life. “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.’ C.G. Jung
Spiritual awareness and lifelong learning are pathways to unlocking the infinite possibilities and opportunities in the universe. They nourish the mind, body and spirit and clarify the notion of oneness. Make the decision to become a spiritually aware lifelong learner today.