Blooms to Blossoms: Integrating Wellness, Lifelong Learning, & Personal Development

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Oh the Places You Will Go

Adults 50+

Middle-aged Adults

Young Adults

By Elaine Guerrazzi | August 12, 2019

In the mid-1800s Abraham Lincoln stated, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” My perspective of Lincoln’s quote is that undertaking self-improvement throughout life is the aim of enhancing knowledge, skills, and competences. Lifelong learning is a continuous development and improvement process aimed at personal fulfillment.  The result of this effort will be a life well lived.

Learning by doing and using prior knowledge in new situations are attributes of a lifelong learner.  These are attributes that would lead someone to being “wiser today that he was yesterday.” The concepts above could apply to the message of Dr. Seuss’ 1990 book Oh The Places You Will Go! 

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.

The main distinction in the above two examples is the influence of being with and learning from others can have on personal development and personal fulfillment.  Interpreters of Lincoln’s quote express that you “must decide to walk with wise people and learn from them.”  A lifelong learner is curious and open to the valuable lessons of others. A lifelong learner is also self-motivated and self-reliant. Rather than a passive role in life one is actively engaged. Including others in your experiences and independence not only enriches the growth opportunities but contributes to personal well-being. 

Ron Charles of the Washington Post, May 2019, discusses how Seuss’ book …”became a graduation-gift cliché”. He expressed the idea of a need to progress beyond moving through life in solitude.

Take a few minutes to skim the Washington Post article and review the Dr. Seuss video. Then consider the following comments.

Being self-sufficient, confident, ambitious, self-motivated, and achievement oriented, as in the Dr. Seuss book, combined with the ability to “walk with wise people and learn from them” will result in desired outcomes of lifelong learning.

**Enriched life
**Relationship building
**Engaged contributor to society
**Adds meaning to life
**Increases wisdom/mental stimulation
**Creates curiosity

Recognizing and understanding your personal learning style will guide choices of hobbies/activities. Understanding self contributes to the quality of the experience.

Learning Style
Visual (spatial)You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
Aural (auditory-musical)You prefer using sound and music
Verbal (linguistic)You prefer using words, both in speech and writing
Physical (kinesthetic)You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
Logical (mathematical)You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
Social (interpersonal)You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
Solitary (intrapersonal)You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Narushima, Liu, and Diestelkamp (2016) study on effect of lifelong learning and well-being and Park, Lee, and Dabelko-Schoeny (2016) study evaluating a lifelong learning programs found enhanced personal development and fulfillment through individual and group engagement.  Being autonomous and expanding social networks both offer knowledge and skill development.  Continuous participation in a pastime, hobby, or taking a subject matter course sustains psychological, social, and emotional wellness.  Whether the interest is creative, athletic, academic, something distinctly personal, or something social YOU make the choice. What matters is that it is something you find meaningful and enjoyable.

I read the Washington Post article a month or so ago.  I “googled” Oh The Places You Will Goto refresh my memory of the book.  I found that my view of Seuss’ work differed from Charles.  I realized that lifelong learning and personal development is an individual pursuit to find your own path.  Choices made to guide the path taken differ with each of us…”one size rarely fits all”.  

Find Your Own Path by Cory Miller
(partial excerpt)
 Be careful when you expect
or demand someone else do
it your way. 
And be careful attempting to do it someone else’s exact way. 
One size rarely fits all. 

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