Lifetime Learning – Why Now is the Time to Start and How You and I can Help Each Other

Lifetime Learning – Why Now is the Time to Start and How You and I can Help Each Other

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Ghandi

Taking Fun Seriously

Over the past 9 years, learning has become an obsession of mine. Maybe it was going to a good college. Maybe it was joining the military. Or maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with the (sometimes not so common) idea that learning is, and can actually be something fun.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately (uh oh…he’s gone crazy!), and one of the big topics that has been on my mind has been Taking Fun Seriously. What is it? Is it a blog? A website? A brand?

And then it hit me…

Thanks to some good “big picture” inspiration from my buddy Joel Runyon, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Taking Fun Seriously” is a living manifesto. It’s me. It’s who and what I am. I love to have fun, and I’m serious about doing it. I’ll elaborate more on this in the coming months, but I’d like to focus for now on one of the aspects that make TFS, well, FUN!

The joy of learning

Notice I did not say “schooling”. I’m not anti-school, but I do know quite a few people who from an early age grew a disdain for formal education. Just so I don’t step on any toes here, let me repeat: I am not anti-school. I had a VERY good public school and college education, and still feel like much of what I learned back in high school is still very relevant and useful to my everyday life (I AM smarter than a 5th grader, thank you very much!). My 11th grade English teacher would be so proud…

The problem with people who have a disdain for formal education is twofold:

  1. They have mistakenly identified formal education with all forms of education. One of my very favorite Mark Twain quotes is, “I never let schooling interfere with my education”, meaning that he was learning all the time, just not in a formal environment.
  2. They have mistakenly associated their disdain for formal education with all available forms of formal education. Why do/did they hate school? Did they have a crappy teacher? Was the curriculum not relevant to what they wanted in life? Neither of those 2 questions mean that there aren’t GOOD teachers just as there isn’t RELEVANT curriculum for their life goals.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it opened up a world of possibility for the human

Having 2 little daughters (both under 3) in my home has caused me to really appreciate the human characteristic of curiosity. Everything is amazing to them. Everything!

Walking outside in the snow, the fact that cold and pretty stuff falls from the sky and settles on the ground is simply amazing to my oldest daughter. My youngest just learned how to walk. Seeing her waddle around the house, you’d think she was a brand-new gold medalist in the olympics.

Their world is so big, and learning new things brings so much joy to them!

Daddy could learn a lot from these two.

Where did it go wrong?

It seems like once a child starts the journey to adulthood, the current cultural mindset is to snuff out this curiosity.

Why? (this is a question I’m constantly trying to answer myself, so don’t expect an immediate answer here 🙂 )

This isn’t going to be a rant about “what’s wrong with our world today”. No, rather let it be a reminder that there are still many fun and new things to be learned in the world, and taking the time to read, listen, study, and DO them brings happiness.

While there are many reasons why I left my job over a year ago, one of the main ones was this: I had stopped learning.

The shiny-ness of the job and the skills required to do it well had been mastered. The opportunities for personal and professional growth had been exhausted. I was in danger of shifting from new and exciting into boring and mundane. So I quit.

(Warning: Like I said, that was just one of MANY reasons why I left. Don’t use just this reason alone to up and leave your job. You still need a plan, and you still need to think things through. Hence the reason for a post on learning)

What’s next?

So back to my buddy Joel real quick. One of the things I really appreciate about him is his “Impossible list“. Joel doesn’t publish anything on his Impossible List unless it’s good-as-gold he’s gonna do it. Integrity baby! That’s both honorable, and scary as a mutha sucka (maybe it’s one of the fears that’s holding me back from publishing my 2011 goals…ahh who cares. They’ll be up soon now)!

One of the big goals I have for this site in 2011 is for it to be a learning-hub. A CPU of sorts for education. I’d like to have it both be a diary of what I’m learning (and how it can help you), and a sort of “yellow pages” for different areas for you to go for different topics you’d like to learn as well.

Some topics that I’d like to learn and discuss on here (yes, discuss, which means you gotta get in on the conversation) are:

  • Skill acquisition
  • Mental performance
  • Language learning (while Joel is going to tackle French, I’d like to knock out Spanish)
  • Critical thinking (don’t worry, it won’t be boring)
  • Writing
  • Reading (faster)
  • Motivation (a favorite of mine!)
  • Being a dad
  • And just plain cool stuff (like travel-hacking, which I’ll be talking about in an upcoming post. Oooo baby I’m excited about this one!)

Finishing with a quesiton

My brotha-from-another-mother, Josh Buisch, likes to say “I don’t know what I don’t know”. So I’ll probe y’all with a similar question: What don’t you know, that you’d like to know better? (and a bonus question) What would you like to see more of here on TFS?

Cheers!

– JC

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7 comments

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  2. Joel - February 17, 2011 5:37 pm

    Thanks for the shoutouts Josh 🙂 I think constantly learning is incredibly important and one of the main things that keeps people from progressing to their potential. Thanks for the nice words 🙂

  3. Kevin Evans - February 17, 2011 6:22 pm

    I love learning too, but my problem has always been analysis paralysis – I keep looking to the next book to *learn* more. I’d like to know how you personally deal with consuming information versus producing. Do you set a time limit, restrict certain sources, follow the low info diet in the 4HWW?

    Cheers on the iPhone, maybe T-Mobile can be next!

  4. Josh Crocker - February 18, 2011 12:04 am

    Thank you for the inspiration. There will be much more where this came from. Your influence is spreading. 🙂

  5. Josh Crocker - February 18, 2011 12:08 am

    Dang Kevin, I wouldn’t peg you for one to catch analysis paralysis. You’re always cranking out the good stuff on your blog!

    I think you may have inspired a future post in your question, but I’ll entertain it partially now and give a quick answer. The two “actions” that help me shift from consuming to producing are just 2 simple words: “deadlines”, and “teaching”.

    By setting deadlines (with consequences), I’m forced to stick to a schedule that demands production. All of a sudden my mind shifts from “what else can I take in?” to “how can I ACT upon this?”.

    With teaching, my mind can be compared to a sponge. I’ve spent the time “soaking” up all the info through reading, listening, and doing. Now it’s time to squeeze the sponge by passing some of that info on. Interestingly enough, if you ever want to know about 97000% more about a topic that you weren’t familiar with, commit to teaching it to someone else. THe old phrase “the teacher is the greatest learner” couldn’t be more true (at least in my own experience).

    I’ve got your question stored away and I’ll be answering it in more detail soon enough. 🙂

  6. Design Elements - February 19, 2011 4:33 am

    that quote is wonderful as your blog. Just found you…I’m going to check the books you’ve mention. Happy weekend!

  7. Josh Crocker - February 21, 2011 5:01 pm

    Very cool! Thank you 🙂

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