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  • Writer's pictureJeanne and James Bellew

The Cost of Doing Nothing: Why Lifelong Learning is Crucial


Do you ever think about what keeps you from learning something new, like freelancing?

When I talk to people about learning to freelance, I often find that my biggest competition isn't another coach or a different offer; it's the choice to do nothing.


I've talked with many people who are hesitant to embark on freelancing or any new learning journey. Their reasons are varied, but they often boil down to a few common concerns.

Reasons for Doing Nothing


  • Financial Concerns: Many people worry about the cost of investing in new learning. They fear spending money on courses or training that might not yield immediate financial returns. However, this short-term thinking can lead to long-term stagnation.

  • Self-Confidence: A lack of self-confidence often holds people back. They may believe they are too old to learn new skills or fear they won't be able to keep up with younger colleagues. This mindset can prevent them from exploring new opportunities that could enrich their lives and give them exactly what they want.

  • Traditional Views on Retirement: The traditional idea of retirement as a time to stop working and relax can also be a barrier. Many people think they should not seek new challenges or learn new skills after a certain age, leading to a passive and less fulfilling lifestyle.


I've seen firsthand how these concerns can paralyze people into inaction. Yet, the cost of doing nothing is far greater than investing in oneself.


Lifelong Learning and Personal Growth


According to amber blog, the 12 top reasons why education is an investment are the following:


1.    Higher earning potential

2.    Networking opportunities

3.    Unbreakable work ethics

4.    ✅ Personal development

5.    Better career prospects

6.    More job security

7.    ✅ Bringing out freedom

8.    ✅ Unleashing your potential

9.    ✅ Boosting confidence

10.  ✅ Need for self-dependence

11.  ✅ Achieving goals

12.  ✅ Channeling creativity


Regardless of age, I've ✅ the seven reasons that resonate with anyone. For those over 50, there are additional financial implications to consider when it comes to lifelong learning.


Financial Implications


The financial cost of not engaging in lifelong learning can be substantial, especially for those over 50 who want to stay engaged and continue making money. Lifelong learning and increasing your ability to earn money can produce a good return on investment (ROI) in several ways:


  • Maximizing Social Security Benefits: You can delay taking Social Security benefits by continuing to work and earn income through freelancing. Waiting longer to draw Social Security can result in higher monthly payments, providing greater financial security in the long run.

  • Preserving Investments: Earning supplemental income through freelancing allows you to avoid prematurely dipping into your retirement savings or investments. This helps maintain your nest egg and ensures that your investments continue to grow, providing financial stability for the future.

  • Supplemental Income for Lifestyle: Lifelong learning can open up new opportunities, allowing you to earn additional income to fund the things you want in life—whether it's traveling, pursuing hobbies, or supporting your family. This supplemental income can enhance your lifestyle and make your slow-go years more enjoyable.


  • Emotional and Psychological Well-Being: Positive financial planning contributes to overall emotional and psychological well-being. The confidence that comes from being capable of earning an income can reduce stress and improve your quality of life.


In contrast, choosing to do nothing and avoiding new learning opportunities can lead to financial stagnation and missed opportunities to leverage your extensive experience. Engaging in lifelong learning enhances financial security, confidence, adaptability, and well-being. Investing in your skills and knowledge is an investment in your future, ensuring you remain active, engaged, and financially OK.



Embracing Lifelong Learning — Freelancing


Investing in lifelong learning enriches your life and ensures a healthier, more fulfilling future. Continuous learning opens doors to new opportunities, keeps your mind sharp, and enhances your overall quality of life. Consider these examples:


Companies —


  • Netflix: Transitioned from a DVD rental service to a streaming giant and content creator by anticipating market changes.


  • Amazon: Evolved from an online bookstore to the world's largest online retailer through continuous innovation and expansion.


  • LEGO: Faced financial difficulties and reinvented itself by embracing digital gaming, movies, and user-generated content.


Individuals —


  • Colonel Sanders founded KFC in his 60s after years of trying different careers—his commitment to learning and adapting led to global success.


  • Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first "Little House" book in her 60s, drawing on her experiences and continuing to write and learn throughout her later years.


  • Ray Kroc joined McDonald's in his 50s and transformed it into a worldwide franchise through innovative thinking and a willingness to learn and adapt.

Cautionary Tales —


  • Kodak: Resisted the shift to digital photography, leading to setbacks before pivoting to digital printing and packaging.


  • Blockbuster: Failed to adapt to the changing video rental landscape, leading to their downfall while companies like Redbox and Netflix thrived.


These examples highlight the importance of lifelong learning and adaptability. By embracing continuous learning, you invest in personal growth, mental health, and happiness. Lifelong learning is a journey that keeps you vibrant, engaged, and ready to take on whatever comes next.



A Final Thought


Transitioning to freelancing, including learning to freelance, especially after years in a traditional job, can seem intimidating. However, you can create a fulfilling and successful freelance career by embracing change, focusing on your strengths and skills, and investing in learning.


As Netflix evolved from mailing DVDs to streaming content, you can adapt and thrive in your new journey. Don't let the cost of doing nothing hold you back. Look forward, invest in your new path, and step into your future fearlessly with confidence and excitement.


Ready to Start Investing in Yourself and Your Future?


You're not alone if you're uncertain about your transition or planning.


I offer personalized freelance career coaching to help you navigate this exciting new chapter. We can build a plan tailored to your strengths and goals, ensuring you step into freelancing with the support and confidence you need.

Keep going!


Very Warmly,

Jeanne 🌺


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