Love of Learning

This virtue has two aspects: one is attitude and the other is learning to actually enjoy the work behind learning. Changing your attitude toward learning has to come from within, and developing a love of learning might mean doing a lot of "work" before you learn to love the process. Remember that it's easier to enjoy doing something once it is more habitual and easier for you to do.

How you like to learn will make a big impact on how you work to develop this trait. When you think about learning you might think of taking a night class or reading a book, but you shouldn't begin with either of these methods of learning if you don't enjoy them. You can learn from a well-made documentary as well as a book, if you are more of an audio-visual person. You also might prefer to go to an aquarium rather than watch a nature channel. While developing a love of learning, you are best suited to try learning through methods that you enjoy.

There is always a catch though, isn't there? You will eventually have to work use the other methods of learning if you want to fully succeed in your goal of acquiring wisdom and knowledge, so you will have to slowly begin introducing other forms of getting information—especially when you are focusing on this virtue.

As you get in the habit of making the time (and effort) to learn, you will eventually become more accustomed to these tasks. As you receive the benefits and pride from your acquired knowledge, your future self-education will be born from love rather than forced dedication—this is the ultimate goal. When you love to learn, you will be much less likely to get out of the habit of making learning a major part of your life.

When you focus on this virtue, make sure you start yourself on activities you enjoy if you don't already do them regularly. Then, you can work on the other activities.

Activities

  • Begin With What You Already Love: Consider what your favored (and probably easiest) methods of learning are and do those activities with the goal of learning something new. Some activities to consider might be reading, viewing documentaries, going to museums or other learning centers, working on a new hobby, using the Internet, etc.
  • Introduce New Methods of Learning Over Time, and Repeat Them: Begin introducing other methods of learning into your life. If you never read, read a book. If you usually dislike documentaries, find one you think you'll like. Learn how to research using the Internet—these are only examples. This is important because while you might learn best from one method of learning, your education will suffer if you limit yourself to only one outlet. Remember to try learning subjects you'll "love," especially when using one of your non-preferred methods!
  • Do Things that Use the Knowledge You Picked Up: This is also a method of learning, but if you never apply the knowledge you learn, you won't be able to receive the full satisfaction learning has to offer you. If you learn how to find and follow a blog online, you might want to make your own. If you learn about how your favorite desserts are made, you might try making homemade ice cream. If you read about the Civil War, you might want to share your new knowledge with others. While this activity might be more applicable to some subjects than others, you can usually find ways to act on new knowledge.
  • Work on Curiosity: If you are curious it will be much easier to love learning and make a habit of it. It might even make you more motivated to put your knowledge to use.

Your Record

It can be difficult to visit a museum every single day of your life, but when you are focusing on this trait you should do something active toward your education every day or you should consider yourself at "fault". Make a goal based on the activities up above as appropriate for you. If you fail to meet your goal, that is also a fault.

Opinions

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.

Sarah Caldwell

Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.

Chinese Proverb

Golden Mean

Ignorance
Love of learning

Recommended Reading

Learning to Learn: Strengthening Study Skills and Brain Power — by Gloria Frender

This book teaches people how to learn and study, with a focus of classroom-type learning (although the skills can be applied elsewhere). For learners of all ages.

Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide (Jossey-Bass Higher & Adult Education) — by Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella, Lisa M. Baumgartner

This is a textbook rather than a self-help guide, but this is still a great book on how and when adults learn.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.



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Reading maketh a full man; conference, a ready man; and writing, an exact man. Francis Bacon
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