Monday, June 18, 2012

Life's Everlasting Learning

I've always liked school. Weird, right? I mean, I hated most of the work. A lot of that was mainly that I liked doing other things, and there was a lot of it. I get why we had it, though. It's all part of learning, and because of the way school works these days we had to get a lot of homework just to get everything done. But this isn't about school. This is about learning, which is precisely why I liked school.

See, I'm all about learning new things. I like picking up information and being able to use it. It makes my days so much better to be able to learn something in them.

So, even though college is over for the summer, I'm still learning. Admittedly, I'm not doing my research for my paper, but that can be done at another time. Right now, this is all about learning stuff for myself.

Brendon Burchard, this one guy who knows stuff (Google him!), advises people to set out each month of the year to learn something new. This month, I've been learning business stuff. Vague description, I know. I'm a writer don't you know! Specifically, I've read a book on marketing and a book on strategy, but I have books on other topics and I've been watching videos. I'm focusing on what might be of use as a writer, which subsequently included just about everything Burchard teaches on his different programs. Since I'm not exactly wealthy, I've been going with his free information in his videos and I bought two of his books. I'm still waiting for them to arrive.

I've also signed up for information from a bunch of others in the field, though, and it's meant that I have a stream of lessons coming into my inbox every day or every other day from a few different people. I take notes, I learn, and when I get things get up properly I can begin sharing what I know to save people who don't have it the time I spent watching all those videos.

I'm still looking for more stuff to learn, of course. If you know of someone who produces videos and webinars that are free to watch, even if it means signing up to their website to get them, let me know. I'm always up for learning.

That's all well and good for this month, of course, but what about next month? July is rapidly approaching.

So, I figured I'd tackle something I've been meaning to do for a long time: I want to learn how to cook. I'm going to start basic, and a co-worker and friend of mine has advised a book. She's ordered it into the shop for me to see. I'm pretty excited about it, actually. The book looks amazing, and it'll be worth the investment if it means I can cook my own food for the first time in my life. So far, I'm limited to food that goes into the oven without preparation, sandwiches and things that go into the toaster. The microwave, too, but I don't use that unless I'm just heating something up Mother of Mine prepared earlier that day, usually vegetables.

I don't imagine I'm going to be the most amazing chef in the world, but that's not the point. I need the basic skills to actually learn to cook, and there are some baking recipes in the book, too. Did you know I have a sweet tooth?

So, that's July sorted. August, I'm still stumped for. I mean, I'll be working on my research paper independent of this learn-one-thing-a-month idea, so I guess I just need to find something new. Maybe, just maybe, I'll start learning how to drive. Theory test, initially, of course, but I figure this is a good step. So, I can start learning to drive. Obviously, I won't be able to drive a car by the end of the month. Far from it. But I can at least get myself started on the path towards learning. And if anyone knows me well enough, they know I'll put my mind to this fully. I won't be the best driver in the world, but I'm so damn cautious I'll stay out of trouble.

September... trickier to tell. I have teaching practice and college starts back up and I have something massive to organise, so there's no telling what will happen with the month. Or the months to follow, for that matter. Obviously I'll keep learning to cook and keep learning to drive, but there's only so much I can do on that before I'm breaking the rule of learning something new every month. Part of me would love to learn to play an instrument, but I think I need to go for something more future-specific to get by in this. Possibly I'll start learning a new language.

I've always had problems with this in the past, and it comes down to not applying myself to it. But I figure, even if I only do this half the month as a beginner, I wake up early enough to go to college to listen to audio for about an hour before anyone even gets a chance to talk to me. I can use that time effectively, and I really want to give this a shot.

October... public speaking. Has to be. I mean, I'm already working on it, but it's something I need to get better at. Not just for teaching, but for everything else I plan to do in life. I want to be more natural when I speak in front of people. I tend to stick to notes and all that jazz, though I hate reading them out so I ad lib. I wouldn't be a teacher if all I did was read from a page.

November, I think I want to get better at organising. That sounds too vague, so I'll be more specific. I suck at lesson plans. I suck at schemes of work. I have no proper filing system. I need to get better at that sort of stuff, especially with all the plans I have for the next few years of my life. So hey, there's something. I'm choosing November for this because then the information will be fresh enough in my head even if I get busy to help me prepare for teaching in January more effectively. Yep, strategy. I'm actually implementing it.

And December...? I have no idea. Critically thinking about what I need to do in my life hasn't gotten me that far. That's probably because I haven't written out a strategy for the year. But hey, I reckon what I've got so far is enough to keep the brain going. Odds are I'll probably be learning other things in the middle of everything. I don't see the months as being so strict as to have to stop learning about something because I'm too busy with something else. Heck, if that was the case the school system of Ireland would collapse.

Game on, I suppose. Back to learning from way too many things at once to be sane.

What do you want to learn this year? Leave your answer in the comments below.

No comments: