Learning a New Skill in Middle to Old Age
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? You absolutely can, yes. For some reason, it’s very easy for us to convince ourselves that if we haven’t specialized in something during our youth, we are somehow ‘out of the loop’ forever more. That’s silly. We learn new skills and lessons every month, right up until our very last day on Earth. There is simply too much to learn for us not to pay heed to it.
They often say that age is just a number, but they rarely say how or why that is. If you keep your intellect sharp, your curiosity aligned and your willingness carefully metered, you too can learn anything, even if you wish to move into a new field or try a new skill. Knowing this can help motivate your pursuit in a different direction, even if it looks like it might not bear much fruit right now.
So, what are the practical principles to learning a new skill well in later life? Let’s consider:
Don’t Eschew Your Other Knowledge
There’s no need to think that you’re a complete beginner. Certain principles, skills and lessons can help you thanks to your past experience, and it might even help you get a leg up. You now know the value of discipline, of organizing yourself, of taking time and asking questions, and most importantly, of understanding that novicehood is a temporary state. Don’t eschew your other tangential knowledge or related wisdom - it could really make a difference as far as your efforts here are concerned. If you can achieve that, who knows what other advantages you could make use of?
Learn The Basic Theory
However, sometimes age and experience can make us believe that we need not focus on the baseline theory of a new skill or project, because it may seem ‘obvious.’ Never assume this. Suspending our pride for a moment and being willing to remain complete novices for a time helps us learn good habits, and keeps us able to build on our foundational knowledge at a higher speed. It might simply be learning what cryptocurrencies are the one day, and the next learning how to get ethereum safely. Take the course or follow the practice incrementally, and don’t expect to achieve everything in one night. That can help you moving forward.
Nurture Your Curiosity
It’s hard to learn anything without some form of curiosity guiding you. Without curiosity, you can feel quite tired, and you will no doubt struggle to retain the information presented to you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out of your comfort zone or only do things you might want to do forever, rather it means trying to learn something with passion, understanding its virtues, why you should learn it, and what joy it could bring rather than forcing yourself and your mind to conform to a perfect disciplinary standard of taking in information. That’s just not how any of us learn in the most optimal sense.
With this advice, we hope you can learn a new skill, no matter where you are in life.