Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

We’re never too old to learn

Once a friend said – ” I’m too old to learn a new computer language” – was she right?

“ it is more or less taken for granted that mind affects the body, although the pathways are still unknown. (Ellen Langer)

A body growing old is evident, even if people paint their hair to avoid showing it and use skin creams to disguise their wrinkles. Also, people strive to keep their minds young. However, being younger in the mind often means accepting modernity and thinking like young people, which is not what keeps your mind young.

We think taking care of the body influences the mind, but often forget how taking care of the mind influences more your body than you think.

In 2007, Alia Crum and Ellen Langer performed an experiment on 84 women room attending in hotels. All of them felt their poor physical condition was due to the lack of exercise. However, to one group, Crum and Langer informed how their work was good exercise and satisfied the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. The result was, compared to the control group, a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. All they needed was a change in mindset and a different thought influenced their body health.

The same goes for learning. We may feel the age is inadequate for learning new things, but the problem is not our inability to learn new skills, but the thought of not being able to learn because it is something reserved to a certain period of our younger lives.

Nothing could be farther from the experience. It only requires we change our mindset to that of a learning mind, which has no age. Giving an excuse for not learning a new skill due to your age is likely to be related to the fear of failing, which is something reserved to younger people. On the contrary, if age is proportional to your degree of maturity, it should be easier to recognize your mistakes and move on.

We are never too old to change our mindset and become life-long learners. Being a learning mind is not a wish, but a choice and so is changing mindsets.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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