8 Ideas for Lifelong Learning

By Anne Williams
[Classroom to Client]

You’ve successfully moved from the classroom to taking clients as a professional therapist. Let me guess—you’ve spent the last 18 months learning a whole lot of new stuff about the body each day: first for your classes, then to pass the MBLEx, and now to make sure your clients don’t have contraindications. Good for you!
However, it can feel exhausting to cram your head full of the same type of information. Give your mind a little break and feed your spirit by shutting the anatomy book for a moment and going on a search for something different. This is what lifelong learners do. Cultivating the behaviors of a lifelong learner can enrich your life.

What is a Lifelong Learner?
Lifelong learners are curious about the world around them and constantly seek out new ideas and inspiration. These people have tapped into the innate human longing to grow and evolve. When we seek out new learning every day, we broaden our possibilities. Learning:
• Brings context to the historical, natural, and social processes that limit or free our lives.
• Deepens our character and makes us more stimulating to those around us.
• Feeds our innovation by providing a rich source of new ideas.
• Helps us more easily adapt to new situations.
• Provides a range of perspectives to inform our own thinking and disrupt our biases.
• Provides a sense of confidence and self-sufficiency.

Classroom at Your Fingertips
Today, knowledge and inspiration are just a click away. It has never been easier to learn something new.
Copy the “Learn Something New” graphic organizer form to capture your new learning and the thinking it promotes. Then, consider these opportunities for daily Internet learning:
1. Access the Education Center on
ABMP.com and watch an on-demand webinar about “Aromatherapy,” “Table-Thai Yoga Massage,” or any other technique or topic that looks interesting.
2. Subscribe to Austin Kleon’s newsletter on creativity at www.austinkleon.com.
3. Subscribe to the Free Dictionary’s feeds, including “Article of the Day,” “In the News,” “This Day in History,” and “Today’s Birthday” (www.thefreedictionary.com).
4. Subscribe to www.artdaily.org and contemplate a new art piece or photograph each day.  
5. Subscribe to “Did You Know?” and “Tell Me Why” and find out fun facts:         www.didyouknowblog.com,         www.tellmewhyfacts.com.
6. Subscribe to Aeon Magazine
(www.aeon.com) and receive daily or weekly enews on ideas and culture, like “The Art of Attention” or “Where are the Ants Carrying All Those Leaves?”
7. Subscribe to Brain Pickings and receive daily or weekly eblasts on a variety of topics spanning art, design, history, science, philosophy, and more. www.brainpickings.org.  
8. Visit www.ted.com and view a “TED Talk”—these are short videos featuring world-renowned speakers on a wide range of topics.

Now that you’ve had your inspiring moment of new learning—it's time to open up that anatomy book again!

Anne Williams is the director of education for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals and author of Massage Mastery: from Student to Professional (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012) and Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006). She can be reached at anne@abmp.com.