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“All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners… Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they’re not learning, they’re not growing… not moving toward excellence.” – Denis Waitley
What would you say if you had a 16 year old son who told you he wanted to drop out of school? After you picked yourself up off of the floor (or him, depending upon how well you took the news), you’d give him a speech laced with the keywords lazy, uneducated, couch potato, moron, disappointment, mistake etc. Most definitely you’d screech out, “What are you think-ing?” – probably about once every 5 minutes.
You’d tell him how he needs to educate himself and learn all that he possibly can, how the mind needs stimulation and challenges or it gets soft. You’d surely use an athlete’s muscles as a point of emphasis – telling him how they have to work their muscles to keep them stronger. If the workouts stop, the strength would go away, leaving them with fat instead of muscle…then you’d say something about a fat brain, wonder why you had to word it that way, then end off with an even higher pitched, “What are you think-ing???!”
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
All the righteous indignation and amazement we’d feel toward such a kid would serve us well when we analyze our own lives. As adults, we should never stop learning any more than a 16 year old should. When we learn and challenge ourselves, we grow. If we stop challenging ourselves mentally, we stop growing. We become couch vegetables who could talk at length about the recent episode of Lost but would LOOK lost if asked to define “archipelago”. What knowledge we had two months ago is basically the same knowledge we have today.
“What are we think-ing???!”
I think it’s beyond wise to challenge ourselves and push ourselves mentally. What’s the worst that could happen? We’ll get too smart? We’ll know too much? I’m willing to risk it, how about you?
Below is a list of topics to get your juices flowing. Each week, pick a different one and explore the heck out of it. Read all you can get your hands on about that subject, you aren’t looking for any angles, you’re not looking to monetize the information – you’re just looking for one thing: To know more tomorrow than you do today. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Here are some suggestions, I know you can come up with more:
GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS – especially if archipelago (a group of islands) threw you. Give yourself a break if it did – it’s a word one doesn’t come across everyday unless they read a lot about geography or play Trivial Pursuit.
RSS (I’m currently being held hostage in this underworld.)
MUSIC – If you are interested in learning to read music, e-mail me at email@example.com. I have a pretty cute little pdf I can send you. It’s been sitting in the files forever, waiting for me to do something with it. If you can put a copy to use, I’ll send it to you, free of course.
POKER (I actually think I’d like to learn to play poker, if I ever break out of RSS hell.)
There are a few, if I think of more I’ll add them. Also, don’t overlook the obvious suggestions like reading more, learning a new word everyday, refreshing your math skills (ouch, I gored myself with that one)…
Just remember, next time you find yourself vegging on the sofa, at least veg with a book in hand.
Have a grandiose day and go learn something!
Make each lesson count double,