Last week I wrote about the importance of continued learning and why we just can’t (and shouldn’t) stop learning. This week I’d like to highlight just some of the ways, both formal and otherwise, that I personally continue to exercise my brain.
Television. I’ve never been into the reality TV thing. Though there are tonnes of people who are hooked on Desperate Housewives of Wherever, Whichever Country’s Next Top Model, and However-Many Wives and Counting, I do not fall into that category. I do, however, love me some Big Bang Theory, and I have learned a lot from that show! For instance, my vernacular now includes the word “Brobdingnagian,” which means excessively large. (Heck, my vernacular new includes the word “vernacular!”) Of course, not everything you see on TV can be taken at face value (doctor-shows, I’m looking at you), but when something interests you, research it further. I also watch a few environmentally-focused documentaries as research for my teaching at Laurentian, which are full of information that I never knew!
Reading. I don’t read nearly as much as I wish I did. But when I do, I try to read intellectual materials to counteract the fried-brain cells I probably acquire from too much screen time. From leadership books to academic journal articles, I try to have meaning in what I read. Every now and then the “meaning” that I need comes in the form of a Danielle Steel or Sophie Kinsella novel, but for the most part I try to make the time I spend reading worth the actual time.
Letting my Train-of-Thought Derail. This one may seem counterintuitive, because when we think of learning we think of a fully engaged mind. However, I have made some great discoveries by not paying attention to anything specific. From little things like figuring out how a small device works to finally getting the hidden meaning or irony in something I read or watched, there are great ideas that come about when you’re not thinking about them at all.
Social Media. Have you ever watched a recipe video on Facebook and thought “Gosh, I could never do that, they make that look so easy!”? Well here’s the thing: I have made a few of those recipes and guess what: sometimes they ARE easy! I’ve learned what spices go well together and which are used in specific styles of cooking and though I’m no master chef, I’ve definitely improved. And I’ve also learned which recipes will never be used again! All because I tried.
LinkedIn Learning. Speaking of trying, have you tried this app? I downloaded it a few months ago and I am hooked! You begin by selecting topics you’re interested in and it puts together a news feed-style page with various digital courses you can take – some free, others for a fee – all from the comfort of your own home (or office, or wherever you happen to be). It’s a great tool that has joined my repertoire for sure.
These are just some of the ways I continue expanding my knowledge and skill base, how do you continue to expand yours? Let me know in the comments, or get in touch!