Creativity and its benefits
Creativity has done a lot for me. I have a brilliant time, writing gamebooks
The writing I did has had some secondary benefits. Besides opening a whole new network of gamebook fans and writers to me, I have had to educate myself on several topics in order to write the best gamebooks I could. I won't mention them all, but my current projects involve reading about the different aspects of the Bronze Age.
I am by no means the most dedicated researcher to creating a world for gaming. The most dedicated person I have found is called Alexis Smolensk who has studied pretty much every facet of history, sociology, economics, science and more for his Dungeons and Dragons world.
People have propogated a false dichotomy between "process" (using skills) and "content" (learning facts) over the years. Creativity is seen more as a process. Creativity is by no means separate from learning facts. In fact, one important skill in creativity is making links between two seemingly disparate things. To do this requires you to know a lot about two completely different things.
I have obtained so much knowledge and other benefits from writing gamebooks and not other pursuits, because failure never put me off when writing gamebooks. When I wrote a gamebook for a competition in 2008 which had several mistakes in and really didn't inspire the readers. The feedback was as positive as possible, but very negative. It did nothing to deter me and I set off on a journey to make the best gamebooks I could, which lead me to where I am today.
I think the best thing to encourage learning is to find a subject you are intrinsically motivated to learn or an activity you are intrinsically motivated to do. Something you would continue to work on despite every setback. This means that your learning is not dependent on outside approval or measures of success. What I found is that the activity becomes almost irrelevant as you delve deeper into it - you start to learn confidence, communication skills and other "transferable" skills no matter what you learn. The subject itself will also blossom outwards into lots of other subjects you never thought you would need to know. For example, I have had to research the layouts of different castles, because I wanted the castle in my book Asuria Awakens to be realistic.
If you want more pointers on creativity, then this article by Mark Rosewater, the head designer of the game called Magic the Gathering is a must read.
So find something to be creative with - something you would do for nothing - and enjoy the learning journey it takes you on.