For most of my adolescence I was told that if I wasn’t constantly learning and moving forward, I was moving backwards. At 17 this didn’t really mean anything to me, but as I’ve gotten “older” I’ve grown to understand the sentiment.
One of the most intriguing aspects of life is that no matter how much you know, or how good you are at something, you can always get better. You might be the best bike rider, or poet, or reaction-gif finder in the world, but there always is room to improve and anyone labeled “the best” will tell you that.
As humans we have the incredible ability to continue learning; to enhance and extend our knowledge base. We can become fluent in a new language, and then another, and then another. We can learn how to make increasingly difficult meals, or learn every Shakespeare play by heart and yet somehow find room for more. The question isn’t, “should I be learning?”, the question is, “what should I be learning?”
I can’t answer that for you, but I can give you some tools to help you once you have:
LEARN FROM YOUR PEERS
There are so many people we can learn from on this planet, it’s just been hard to get a hold of them until recently because #technology. The good news is, with our ability to connect with nearly anyone, anywhere, we can tap the endless resources hiding in plain sight.
Sites like skillshare and udemy allow you to take classes on damn-near any topic and learn from a professional in the field. Hell, if you think you have something people might be interested in learning, these two sites will let you create a course and pay this whole “learning thing” forward.
LEARN FROM AN EXPERT
It’s always great to learn from someone in the field, but there is something to be said for learning from a bona fide expert.
It’s definitely more intimidating, and maybe even overwhelming, to take a course on screen writing from someone like Aaron Sorkin – The West Wing, enough said – but that shouldn’t stop you from acting like a sponge and soaking up all he, or any other expert has to offer.
Now, unless you’re a relative, or your mom was in high school biology with them, you’re probably not going to be able to get a one-on-one lesson with one of the geniuses offering courses. That’s where MasterClass comes in. This site offers classes taught by giants in their field. If you want to learn about comedy from Steve Martin, this is the place or you.
If you’re looking more for a class taught a teacher, shift your attention to Coursera and learn from professors at some of the best colleges and universities in the country. These people are not only experts in the field, their pretty dang good at teaching, too.
I know a lot of you are probably thinking that this sounds nice, but it’s too late in life to pick up a new skill, or you’re just too busy to learn something once all your responsibilities are taken care of. Why not reframe those thoughts and try anyway?
There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” I know, quoting a Chinese proverb is probably grounds for my blogging license being revoked, but it’s true. If you want to learn to play guitar, pick up a guitar and play. I don’t care if you’re 15, 30, or 70. We only have one life, and it flies by faster every year. Don’t live life regretting that you didn’t at least try.
Until next time – teach an old dog new tricks.