Learning is a lifelong process, or at least it should be.

Even though children's brains are better primed to soak up new information and skills, adults can become equally proficient learners with patience, commitment, and--perhaps most important--the right attitude. Just think like a kid.

"There is much to admire about the way children learn, with open minds and fewer worries about mistakes," writes Elizabeth Holmes in The Wall Street Journal. "For many [adults], the most difficult psychological hurdle is learning to overcome the fear of looking dumb."

Learning a foreign language is one of the most sought-after skills for entrepreneurs and can really pay off, both personally and professionally, in the global marketplace. After Mark Zuckerberg surprised a group of students at a university in Beijing by answering all their questions in fluent Mandarin, his reputation as an adept global leader was enhanced, especially in the eyes of the Chinese business community.

The fact that Zuckerberg's wife, Priscilla, has family members who only speak Mandarin provided additional motivation, and such a factor plays an important role in an adult succeeding in learning another language.

"Nothing improves your language capabilities more than being interested in someone who wants you to learn that language," Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, told the Journal.

Online language programs are helpful, but a faster way to learn a language is finding native speakers to interact with or spending some time in a country where the language is spoken. Even two weeks is enough immersion time to start learning the basics, Abbott says.

Another very important skill to have in today's workplace is knowing how to code. Even for non-engineers, knowing the fundamental concepts of coding can lead to a better job or promotion, especially in the tech industry.

To get started, organizations like CodecademyCode.org, and many others offer free introductory courses that make learning code as simple and engaging as solving a puzzle.

These online programs are designed to help adults who may be intimidated by coding, using a game-play approach that gets you thinking like a kid again, without being afraid of making mistakes or "breaking" the Web.

To go beyond the basics or to specialize in a certain language of code (CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Python, Ruby on Rails), it is recommended to look into paid part-time or full-time courses, like the ones offered by General Assembly.

Published on: Jan 8, 2015