How to Be Smart: Keep Learning
Some people who encounter me think I always think I’m right. They probably even think I’m tough. One of my closest friends, Antonella, described me as: “a badass who does lots of things at the time same.” Kind of an odd description, but close to true.
Maybe I overdosed on confidence. So what?
My friends and family know I believe in myself. That’s no secret. All you have to do is watch my TEDx video, and you’ll see I’m extremely comfortable in my own skin. I’m a nerd, gangly and weird — and I love it.
There’s only one reason I can pull this off: I’m a work in progress, and I’m totally fine with that.
I just dropped down and did a clapping pushup for fun. My husband also thinks I’m weird. I hope he’s fine with that?
Enroll In A Never-Ending School
You know those moments when you’re stressed or bored, and you open up Facebook just to relax? I do the same thing — with Google Reader.
You may be asking, “What’s Google Reader?” It’s basically a free service that brings all of my favorite websites to one dashboard, instead of visiting each website to see what’s new, the new stuff comes to me, all in one place. It’s best for keeping up with blogs and news stories.
When I’m bored or stressed, I open up Google Reader as a reflex. Instead of wasting my day away perusing photos and gossip, at least I’m reading? (That’s what I tell myself.)
You may think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to online marketing, starting a business, or designing a cool website — but I really have so much to learn.
I learn more online than I did at college.
I’m constantly scouring the web for more learning materials. It may seem tiring to continue your education every single day (and on your own terms), but it feels awesome when you’re actually interested in what you are learning.
For awesome articles, check out these websites below:
- Danielle LaPorte — for inspiration and thought-provoking questions
- The Art of Becoming Better — for tips on forming habits
- Nerd Fitness — for looking good naked
- Sacha Greif — for making the web look awesome
- ThinkTraffic — for growing an online audience
- Raptitude — for being a better human
- Yes & Know by Nilofer Merchant — for being awesome at business
- Zen Habits — for feeling good in your own skin
These are the blogs where I learn the most. I love many other blogs for their stories and beautiful emotions, but these are the ones where I truly act as a student.
A website that makes you jump with excitement at seeing a new post is magical. Use these emotions to learn.
Prepare for the Worst
My parents attended a wedding a few years ago that really touched my mom’s heart. She told me about all the beautiful details, but her favorite part was the bride’s father’s speech, which made her cry. I rolled my eyes, teasing her for being so sentimental, but she said she didn’t cry because it was sappy. She cried because it reminded her of me.
The bride’s father told the groom: “Take extra good care of her. She seems tough, but it’s those who are tough on the outside that need the most love on the inside.”
Spot on. Nobody could describe me better. No matter what anyone thinks, I’m not “tough” at all.
I am afraid of so many things — and I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been to hell and back over the past few years, and every single slump still feels like the bottom of the barrel, even if I know things usually tend to look up over time.
Only learning can help me turn fears into opportunities.
If you are reading this blog, we are probably very similar.
- We are adventurers. Exploration and experimentation in our lives sounds fun.
- We want to take bold risks — if they help us reach a better life.
- We want to live life the best way possible, even if it takes sacrifice.
- We want to work on projects that mean something to the world.
- We value our health and our bodies. Without either, doing our work would be impossible.
Am I right? We’re bold and brave (strong on the outside) but we still fear so many possibilities (softer on the inside).
For those who are still caught as a cog in the wheel of corporate life, fear sounds like:
What happens after I quit? How I will eat?
For those who have jumped off the deep end and are trying to make it as entrepreneurs, fear looks like:
What if I run out of cash? How do I get more clients?
These are completely legitimate fears, and they should be addressed but…
Fears are meant to guide our actions, not stop us dead in our tracks.
We all have so many questions, but nobody has all the answers. What are we to do?
Fear and Learning Freebie
I’ve created something to help you bring your learning and your fears together in one place — in the hopes of conquering them.
After watching a video of Tim Ferriss discussing his way to conquer fears and make important decisions, I created this spreadsheet to put his method into practice. (To fill it out, open the spreadsheet and download it or make a copy to your own Google Docs.) Basically, it works like this:
In the title, you write in an important decision you’ve been wanting to make, like quitting your job.
In the first column, you fill out all the terrible, horrible things that could happen if you make that decision.
In the second column, you write in the steps you could take to minimize the chance of all those terrible things happening.
In the final column, you list the actions you could take to bring you back to the status quo — or to where you are right now, before making the decision.
What are you afraid of doing? Whatever it is, I’m sure that, if you keep learning, your fears would melt away.