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If you want to inspire yourself to learn new skills, just look to a child this month and see how they go about exploring our world. Ask questions! Wow, how many questions can they ask in one sitting? And although we laugh or roll our eyes when the “why” questions start, they have the right idea. When did we stop asking the important why questions as we became adults? Whether we are thinking of important current events, or trying to figure out how to fix something in our home, it those questions that we ask that will help us to learn new skills.
So how can you go about learning new skills to keep yourself young, and challenge yourself? Here are 5 ways to get started in your journey to learn new skills.
Starting out with a traditional method, taking a physical class might be just the thing for you. Continuing education classes can be taken in person or online. They can be opportunities for personal enrichment or professional development. You can find classes through a university. I’ve taken a variety of classes through ed2go which is a completely online experience. I have taken writing classes, cooking classes, business classes and yes, I even learned WordPress in an ed2go class which gained me the skills to bring this blog to you! But classes can be found is a lot of other venues. Are you looking for a class on financial skills – look to your bank or credit union to see if they offer education options. Looking to learn some new cooking skills, check out your grocery store or your favorite food store. I have taken some incredible cooking classes at a specialty food store, Vom Fass https://www.vomfassusa.com/ that sells oils, vinegars, and spirits. The classes that they offered showcased their products and taught me how to make some fancy dishes that were a lot easier to make than I would have thought. Finally, don’t forget to check out your local library for classes as well. Libraries offer FREE classes on a wide range of subjects, so sign up for their newsletters or check out their websites to see what they are offering each month. You never know what class might show up on their list that will catch your interest.
Conferences, Seminars, Expo’s etc.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Henry Ford
Attending an event such as a conference or expo means that you are setting aside time for a specific event that will give you a lot of learning opportunities in one convenient location. Often there are also a variety of vendors that will offer goods or services to fit your area of interest. Recently I attended a weekend conference on genealogy. I was able to sign up for 4 different classes for the Saturday that I attended and I learned new methods for family research and publication options. Attending these events are also great opportunities for networking. Whether you are looking to make new friends in your area of interest or make new contacts for your career or job search, conferences can be invaluable source of resources in a one stop shop environment.
Webinars and Podcasts
Are you a fan of listening to podcasts on the go? Good for you! You already have another way to learn new skills down. Podcasts are a great way to build on your existing interest, or to try a new subject in a quick, easy to tune into presentation. Webinars are another way to get information. Webinars can be a workshop, lecture, or presentation that uses a video conference software to present the information to all the attendees. If you participate in the original webinar you will have a chance to interact with the host in real-time making comments, asking questions, etc. However, most webinars are also recorded, and that recording can be shared with people who are not able to attended the original time slot. So if you see a webinar that you would like to view, go ahead and sign up so you can benefit from the recording as it fits into your own schedule.
Get into the Habit of Regular Reading
Reading is one of the biggest opportunities to learn new skills. Reading of any type, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, to audio books will open your mind and expose you to new ways of thinking. I like to share book reviews on this blog so you can see some of the new titles that are coming out that you can check out for yourselves. And I will be starting of 2019 with another book challenge to stretch your subject base and try new things. Spend a little bit of time each day reading and you will be surprised how much new information you can consume. Listen to an audio book on your daily commute. Read the local newspaper or a monthly magazine while you are waiting for an appointment. Bookmark your favorite blogs and sign up for their mailing lists so you can find out when new content is available. Get a library card for everyone in your family and set up regular visits there so you can check out new titles that you can take home and enjoy.
Travel can be a great source to learn new skills. Getting back to the idea of how kids learn about the world around them, actively participating in a new environment is sure to expand your point of view. People are doing more “vacation with a purpose” traveling now. You can learn about geography, art, music, culture, and so much more as you explore our world. And remember, travel does not have to be a big expensive trip of a lifetime. If you have an open weekend coming up, explore a town nearby that you haven’t visited in a while. See what new things you can find to enjoy.
What are some of your favorite ways to learn new skills? Please let us know in the comments section below.