Lifelong Learning is Your Only Hope (Part 1)

roosevelt_safari_elephantYou don’t have to go to college or get a higher education in order to be a lifelong learner, especially not these days. In fact, it’s common knowledge that higher education, including spending years in dusty libraries appealing to out-of-touch professors, learning irrelevant information, is archaic for a society as fast-paced as ours. With access to the internet, you are capable of learning everything from do-it-yourself carpet cleaning to mobile app development. By continuing to learn, you will continue to develop yourself, while opening yourself up to newer and more exciting opportunities than if you kept yourself in a fixed-knowledge mindset.

Teddy Roosevelt didn’t have this luxury, but he made sure to highlight the fact that he was a voracious learner. He carried with him a fascination with zoology and history from an early childhood. He constantly sought advice from other intellectuals throughout his life, and he personally wrote an estimated 150,000 letters! What the actual fuck. In order to put that into perspective, think about this: If this number is correct, TR wrote an average of 7 letters for every day of his life. What the actual fuck?! I won’t even get into his political learnings, if that’s even a word, because he learned so much in other areas, and had such a rich working knowledge of the world we live in, it enabled him the situational awareness that allowed him to lead our nation into the twentieth century.

This guy was brilliant, and it’s intimidating even to write about him. The takeaway though should be to strive to continue learning throughout your entire life. It’s not important what you’re learning, as long as you continue to grow with your knowledge in some area that interests you. TR became such a well-rounded individual by hyper-focusing on objects of interest, and pivoting to more important facilities when the time presented itself.

Naturalist, zoologist, rancher, explorer, environmentalist, futurist, and historian, Roosevelt harbored an immense fascination with learning and helping human kind, and it propelled him into office, and eventually into the presidency. Teddy wrote his first long form essay at nine years old, titled “Natural History on Insects.” Even riddled with logical and spelling mistakes, you’ve got to give this kid some credit for trying.  TR did not hold back.

Teddy Roosevelt continued to learn throughout his life. He was an avid explorer, and has a river named after him in South America. He had a passion for taxonomy and created an immense collection of specimens from all over the world. Whatever you’re curious about, chase after it and learn as much as you can, you never know what information will help you out in the future, but there is no shortage of information during this time period in history.