March Challenge – Learn!!

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

-Earl Nightingale
Photo by Andrian Valeanu on Unsplash

It can be easy to fall into a rut when you are working hard every day just to get all of the required chores done. In fact, you can get so buried in the day-to-day tasks, that you forget there is MUCH more to life and to being alive than just getting through the day. One of the most amazing things that our human brains are capable of is learning and synthesizing new information, When we stop learning, we can find our lives become boring and uninspired. Growth and development does not stop when our bodies finish those awkward teenage years, but it continues in our minds for every day that we are alive.

The challenge for March is to find something new to learn. Cold winter months seem to drag on forever, and the darkness and poor weather can really take a toll on your perspective. The spark of a new interest is always a great way to counteract these moments in the doldrums. Is there something you have always said you wanted to learn? Make it as simple or as complicated as you like, but try to choose something on which you can make good progress within the month of March. Perhaps you know someone who already is an expert at your chosen conquest. If so… Wonderful! As an added bonus to this challenge, you can reach out and grow your personal relationship by asking them for help in your new learning adventure!

If you do not know anyone with the required skills, there are other ways to learn. Of course, you can take a formal class (at a college, local community program, library, or even the local craft store often has many courses), though formal education is not often at the top of the list for those running a busy household. (See Education is THE WAY). Luckily, we all have access to the internet in some way (even at your local library) so YouTube is at our fingertips! The internet is so expansive, you can find a wealth of instructions (both good and bad, so beware) on almost any topic you may be thinking of learning. If nothing immediately jumps out at you as something you always wanted to learn, here is a list of ideas:

  • Baking bread
  • A new language (try https://www.duolingo.com/)
  • Coding (try https://www.freecodecamp.org/)
  • Piano, guitar, or other instrument
  • Photography/Photoshop (you probably have a camera already!)
  • Crochet/Knitting
  • Using a sewing machine
  • Cake Decorating
  • Budget making (sneaking that one in….)
  • De-cluttering/listing items for sale online
  • Dancing
  • First Aid/CPR (check your local Red Cross)
  • Investing (prudently)
  • Minimizing your carbon footprint (try myplasticfreelife.com)
  • Yoga/Tia Chi
  • Swimming (try your local YMCA)
  • Scrap-booking
  • Healthy eating/Portion control
  • Weight training/Exercising
  • Art – Pottery, Drawing, Painting (Bob Ross: The Art of Painting is on Netflix!)
  • Score keeping for your favorite sport (like baseball Franklin Sports MLB Baseball/Softball Scorebook)
  • Morse Code or American Sign Language
  • Effective writing skills
  • Canning/Jam or Jelly making

There are so many possibilities, this list only hopes to serve as an inspiration. Feel free to comment if you have suggestions that you think could inspire others!

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


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Education is THE WAY

“I do not know how I may seem to others, but to myself I am only a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to be contented with.” 

Plato
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Do not be fooled by the title of this post! In no way am I suggesting that formal education is the only way to happiness.  There are many paths that can lead to a happy destination in your life.  Certainly, in some cases, a formal education is a wonderful way to reach your goals! Informal education is what I am suggesting.

Let’s think about it.  There are a countless number of things YOU DON’T KNOW yet.  There are an equally countless number of things that I DON’T KNOW yet, and that every person you walk by DOESN’T KNOW yet.   Those things are different for every single individual born into this world.  Until we have the luxury of Matrix-style plug-n-play learning modules, we are in charge of searching for and learning the things we don’t know.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a country that mandates education, guaranteeing availability to education through high school, then you have been exposed to a lot of topics and concepts by the time you are a young adult. While we are in school, our arranged “school system” tells us what we need to learn.  This is formal education, and it is a wonderful system that will lay the ground-level knowledge to start considering what really strikes your fancy.  If you have been in a position where you were able to continue on to college classes, you have probably limited your path of learning towards one or two subjects that truly interest you.  All of this is exposure to the things you don’t know yet, and if you train yourself to strengthen your curiosity muscles and attack when you find something new to you, this will lead to an amazingly fulfilling life. 

Curiosity is the spark that points you in the direction of what you should learn next.  It is the essence of what makes us all human.  In everyday life, you will often find yourself reading a magazine to pass the time waiting for an appointment, searching the internet to find a solution for an issue you are having at work, or reading a boring text book.  If, in those mundane moments, even one sentence in that text makes you raise an eyebrow and think “Huh! I didn’t know that! That is interesting…”, your curiosity is alive and well!  THAT is the spark.  THAT is the spring board for a topic you should search online.  Dive down that rabbit hole and don’t look back! Put books on hold at the local library to broaden your perspective on the topic.  Bring it up around a group of people to see if anyone else has already picked up a bit of knowledge on the topic. See if there is a movie about the subject.  Even when you are “finished” with your formal education, you need to continue to build connections in your mind about new topics.  You get better and become more intelligent, and more interesting, by reacting to those sparks! 

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

It is amazing to hear someone speak about a topic that is completely new.  Curiosity is the spark that allows you to learn how to lay tile and flooring in your home, fix plumbing issues, invest money, effectively raise your children, write a book, tinker with websites and electronics, bake beautiful cakes or basic necessities like bread, etc… What do you want to know, try, or do? Act on a spark!  Growing your intelligence by researching, asking, watching, taking lessons, and allowing yourself time to truly consider new topics, digging in… THIS is the true sense of becoming an educated person.  This is how you grow and become more productive to society.  Truly productive! Besides just being more knowledgeable, you will find you are more personable. Being more personable will open you up to more opportunities, making you more employable and probably increase your earning potential. 

No one is too old, too young, or too “dumb” to learn new things.  We are built for it and, if we allow ourselves the space and the time, there is nothing we cannot learn.  Your mind is truly limitless!  Use those sparks as guides so that you can become the best version of yourself!