Learning…from waste of time to my favorite activity
I was always a curious person, but traditional education system in school wasn’t something I really admired… I did very well on subjects I liked and didn’t put much effort to those subjects I didn’t like. Now when I think about it it’s such an enormous waste of your time (and life- I mean we spend 12 years there and honestly some of that time I simply wasted sitting bored/chatting with my classmate/drawing on my notebook and waiting for the lesson to finish, year after year) which could be used to learn things that are of your interest and aligned to your natural talents… So later when I studied in Denmark I was really impressed with their different approach which made so much more sense- we would get a topic, only a few lectures on it, reading list where we could find more information and a group project related to that topic to work on with an assigned teacher to help you when/if necessary. Of course this approach requires you to be motivated to do the work because it allows a lot of freedom, but I felt that finally I was thriving in education- nobody forced me, they just guided and encouraged me to study what I was already interested in and they encouraged me to find out things myself. I guess this was part of what inspired me later in life to pursue all things I find interesting, because I knew from practice that I can learn anything if I want and I can do it on my own.
It’s funny when I think that with years I learn more & more, not less compared to time I spent at school. If you believe that learning is important (and shouldn’t stop after your official education has ended), but find it difficult to learn new things continuously, then you should like my 5 tips- they all don’t take too much time and are easy to implement:
5 easy ways to infuse learning into your everyday
1. TED talks & short documentaries on youtube/vimeo- takes anything from 10 minutes to an hour and are packed with knowledge (and TED talks are often also very entertaining)
2. Reading– I know, if you don’t read you probably think that it takes lots of time, but the truth is it doesn’t have to. Start small and set measurable goals that don’t overwhelm you- decide on time (reading 10 minutes a day-anyone could do that ;) ) or amount of chapters/pages. Set small goals, they compound in the long run. I personally love reading not everyday, but in bigger chunks, for example having a bath and reading a few chapters of good book= new knowledge+perfect relaxation.
3. Listen to audio books. I like Amazon Audible (German version is a bit cheaper) or finding some lectures/audio books on Youtube and downloading them to my phone/ipad. Perfect for commute or morning runs/walks/gym!
4. Subscribe to video blogs of educational nature. Some of my current favorites: Marie Forleo, Denise Duffield-Thomas, Social Triggers, Tara Bliss. It depends on your topic of interest obviously, but there’s plenty of good content and these videos usually last about 10 minutes.
5. Listen to Podcasts. It’s free and you can do it while you are doing something else like running, commuting, being at the gym etc. My favorite is 5 AM miracle by Jeff Sanders, I also love Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic lessons about creativity and few others. The variety of topics available in podcasting community is huge and I’m sure you’ll find what suits your interests.
Know your “why”
Now I’m not suggesting that you should just watch/listen/read anything, I’m suggesting you to be strategic with your time & goals. Is there any new skill you would like to gain or new business you want to start? Or maybe you always wanted to travel the world full-time but don’t know how? Having a clear goal will motivate you and doing small steps DAILY to learn how to achieve it will bring you closer to your dream- also DAILY. Knowing what is it that you want usually is not enough- you also need to know WHY you want that. Imagine & list all the benefits you would get if you achieved your goal and do it in vivid details. How would you feel? How would your day look like and who would you share it with? Paint as real vision as possible and keep it in mind or even better write it somewhere where you can see it daily. Also consider what would happen in the future (1, 5,10 years from now) if you still didn’t achieve this goal? How would you feel about that? This should give you some motivation to learn what you want to learn :)
With love & inspiration,