Learn New Things
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” - Louisa May Alcott
What makes humans different from the rest of the animal kingdom. What is it exactly that makes us who we are. And what we are. And what we accomplish. Why is it that civilization has become so advanced over thousands of years of existence on planet earth.
Perhaps it’s because we humans have this innate desire and ability to learn new things. Things that help us survive, grow, and cultivate life to it’s fullest. And perhaps beyond that is the desire to pass on what we learn to others so that future generations are able to evolve and thrive.
Learning is Fun
“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” - Leonardo da Vinci
Since early childhood, I’ve always had this intense desire to understand how things work. It all started with a lawnmower. An old broken down one that hadn’t run seemingly for years. One day, I decided I wanted to know how the thing worked. Not just that you pulled the cord and it roared to life. Or that it cut the grass with amazing precision. Or even that the spinning thing that cut the grass was dangerous and if you weren’t careful you might cut off your big toe.
No, I wanted to know down to the most minute detail how everything about that mower worked. What’s inside. What makes it tick. What makes that blade spin. Why is the thing so bloody loud. By then I was old enough to know how to use your basic hand tools. Screwdrivers, plyers, and wrenches were all in my wheel house. So, one fateful day, I decided to remove every part. Every piece. Every single thing. There would not be a thing left that could be further dismantled. I wanted to see a pile of bits and pieces and screws and bolts and washers.
The Crankcase Lesson
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” - Colin Powell
Day by day. Bit by bit. That old broken lawnmower became a scattered pile of metal. One last thing. The biggest challenge. The crankcase. With no idea of what it was, or what it did, or what was inside, it had to come apart. Who knows what mysteries might lie inside. But I had a hunch that the thing made that blade spin. Wrench in hand, the final bolts come out. And the thing doesn’t fall apart.
Upon closer inspection, a small discreet crack appeared circumnavigating that big hunk of steel. Aha, it does come apart! My heart was filled with excitement. Another challenge. Hammer and screwdriver in hand, I set out with near surgical precision to relieve that hunk of metal of it’s inner mysteries. It split in two. Oil spilling onto the sidewalk. A growing puddle of black stinky liquid ever growing. It was a huge mess. I was terrified. Now what shall I do. What will Dad say about the huge mess I’ve just made.
Sometimes life throws you a curveball.
Never Fear Failure
“I am still learning.” - Michelangelo
Whenever life throws you a curveball, seize the moment and learn from it. Thomas Edison once said that he had not failed. That he had just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Never fear failure. Or that curveball. Or that fork in the road. Every experience in life is an opportunity to learn. In one of my jobs, people asked all the time, “Have you done so-and-so before?” My answer was always the same, “I do things every day I’ve never done before.” Why? Because I’m not afraid to push that button. Or turn that knob. Or take that fork in the road. Success or failure, there’s always something to learn from the experience.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” - Albert Einstein
Sometimes it helps to just take a break from things and dive into something completely new. If you see something that peaks your curiosity, jump in and have a look. The key thing is you’ll be learning. It doesn’t matter if you actually use any of that new found knowledge. Learning is not always about the knowledge. What matters more is that you’re exercising your mind. It’s like a workout for the brain. The more you work your mind the more your mind works for you.
Keep Your Mind Open
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ― Isaac Asimov
You’ve worked hard to carve out your little corner of the world. To become who you are. But sometimes we become complacent. There’s a certain comfort in being set in our ways. But life is not a destination. It is a journey. A perpetual learning experience. A continually evolving work of art. The world we live in is vast and full of opportunity. Open your mind and seize those opportunities. Those new possibilities. Turn them into adventures. Explore the world.
Never stop learning
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
Approach life with a sense of wonder and discovery. Evolve your mind. Let it grow. Keep learning. And you will never grow old.
Learn New Things.