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3 Reasons Why You Should Commit to Learning New Skills, and Picking up New Hobbies, throughout Your Life

We can all think of people who we know, have met, or have heard about, who have stayed incredibly dynamic and active into their later years, and who seem incapable of staying still for long.

These are the kinds of people who will study for new certificates and qualifications long past retirement, who will be deeply enthusiastic about various hobbies, and will always be on the lookout for new and fascinating discoveries to make.

It's generally pretty well-recognised that it's a good idea to have hobbies. But, there are various reasons why being committed to learning new skills, and picking up new hobbies, throughout your life is actually one of the best habits you can form.

Here are some of those reasons.

It will help to keep your brain agile, young, and sharp

The neuroscientist Norman Doidge is perhaps best known for his book "The Brain That Changes Itself," in which he looks at the amazing phenomenon of neuroplasticity.

Simply put, neuroplasticity is the name given to a phenomenon where the brain is able to reshape and restructure itself based on habits, lifestyle patterns, and environmental factors, throughout a person's life. The discovery of neuroplasticity completely turned the old model of the brain on its head – a model which viewed the brain as being pretty much fixed after childhood.

According to Norman Doidge, there is strong evidence to show that being actively and deeply involved in hobbies in your later life helps to keep your brain agile, young, and sharp, no matter your age.

The key thing is that you need to be constantly learning new skills. So, sticking with a certain hobby for a year or two, and then picking up a new one, seems to be a good idea.

It will make you a more autonomous and interesting person throughout your life

Everyone is impressed by a handyman (or woman), when the chips are down. People who have a broad range of skills, and a vast wealth of general knowledge, are just more autonomous, and are better able to navigate life's ups and downs under their own steam.

They are also typically a lot more interesting in conversation.

Learning the art of servicing your front and rear gear differentials, if you've never previously had much to do with cars, opens up a whole new world to you, and just makes life more interesting. In addition to the fact that these kinds of skills are useful to have – there's little good excuse not to seek them out and develop them.

It will help you to see the world from a "bigger picture" perspective, which in turn will make you more effective in work and life

The more you know about the world and its nuances – and the more you know about different hobbies, subjects, industries, and so on – the better able you will be to form a "big picture" perspective in various areas of your life.

In your professional life, this kind of expansive knowledge can help you to understand the interrelated nature of different industries, and manage employees of all stripes in a much more effective and synergistic way.

In your personal life, it will help you to spot patterns that other people might not see, and to approach situations from novel angles.

All of this puts you in a pretty powerful and useful position.

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