You’re bright and curious and probably have called yourself a “lifelong learner.” Good for you! And what areas of life do you seek to enrich every day? Set your intentions. For example, you could decide that you want to learn more about growing your own food, how to talk to your teenager so that they can hear you, and writing short story mysteries. You may or may not have any goals or plans around these, you just know you’d like to know more than you do now. These intentions will serve to guide you to effortlessly learn more about what you’d like to know more deeply. For example, if you had the above examples as your intentions and you found yourself in a doctor’s waiting room, how quickly would the magazine headline “Why Grow Your Own Food: 5 Research-Backed Reasons” grab your attention? And just like that—10 minutes later after reading the article you know quite a bit more about one of your interests than you did Effortlessly.
Me? I always want to know more about communication, especially learning new distinctions, which are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude. Here is one I learned recently from the writings of Thomas J. Leonard:
Joy vs. Pleasure
Joy is intellectual excitement, emotional involvement, and physical pleasure combined. Pleasure is mostly physical.
I also love learning from quotations. Isn’t it great to feel stimulated, contributed to, or inspired just from reading a 10-second turn of phrase by someone, perhaps famous? This one I saw today required a double-take:
By the oft-quoted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
“How can we learn to know ourselves? Never by reflection, but by action. Try to do your duty and you will soon find out what you are. But what is your duty? The demands of each day.”
My favorite, favorite area of learning is whatever the people who find their way into my nonfiction writing class are bursting to share. I’ve learned more from each book development project than I could have dreamed when I became an editor and publisher. I bet I know many more fascinating facts about American large bells, their foundries, towers and churches than you do! And, I am always so proud of first-time authors like Jonathan Simos. I learned a lot from working on his book about road-tripping in America, and you can too!
Don’t just float in the breeze and see what you bump into. If you want to continually learn something new that you’ll value, it is as simple and easy as choosing your “areas of study” and let your intention guide you to the next brick in the foundation of understanding that you are building every day. Though they will surely change in time, what are your learning intentions today? Take a moment to jot down three and see where they will lead you.