“Are You Learning Something New Every Day?” Ensign, June 2019
When you break out of your routine and learn something new, it’s like using a muscle you haven’t used for a long time. While it might be difficult at first, as you practice learning something new every day, you’ll get better at it, your brain will adjust to the daily challenge, you’ll become more self-confident with each accomplishment, and, most importantly, learning will become fun!
What you learn is not as important as the learning process itself. And with laptops and cell phones and all that information at your fingertips, it’s never been easier. There are even apps that send you “new things to learn” each day.
And you don’t have to conduct a detailed Google search or read whole Wikipedia articles. Getting your brain going in a new direction every day can be as simple as reading a book, memorizing a short poem, or learning a new recipe. Or you can do something longer-term: learn how to play an instrument, master a new sport or workout, or travel to new places and visit with the locals.
So here are some benefits of pushing yourself to learn new things:
It fights boredom.
You become more interesting and therefore more fun to talk to.
You gain new friends (because of point 2 above).
You learn time-management skills.
You set a good example for your children—they’ll see how fun it is to learn and try new things.
We’re all here on earth for personal growth. When we learn how to learn we increase the rate at which we grow. This can improve our mental maturity, our ability to stick to tasks, and our patience with others.
There are endless reasons to learn something new every day. One great reason comes from Alex Blackwell, who said that learning something new every day “helps you to see value around you. Sometimes a little bit of perspective is all we might need to gain a great appreciation and sense of value for the things around us” (“The Benefits of Trying New Things,” Everyday Inspiration, Beliefnet, Mar. 2014).
The hard part is actually starting, so here’s a trick to get started: Ask a four-year-old what they see. Seriously, just ask. They might look at you, they might look around, they might look up in the sky or down at the dirt. Google whatever the curious kid says he or she sees. Learn everything you can about that one thing. For example, if the kid mentioned a tree’s leaves, find out what kind of tree it is, how big it grows, and where it originated. You’ll have fun sleuthing around, and your brain will love you for it.
Now take that same principle and apply it to your spiritual life. When you read the scriptures, pause and ask yourself, “What does that really mean?” Follow the cross-references. Ponder the meaning. Pray to understand. When we pause and let our minds be still, that is when the Spirit teaches us, usually in small ways, line upon line.
As your mind and spirit both grow every day, you’ll find yourself happier and more productive.