“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” — Henry Ford
As children, we just couldn’t stop showering our parents, our teachers, and our friends with streams of questions. Curiosity seems to be instilled in us right from birth. However, as we grow older, this inherent sense of inquisition starts to fade away. This is most evident in students who have just graduated from college.
We are curious by nature and there is a little voracious child within us which thrives on as much knowledge as we can get. College is an important place in the knowledge cycle and not the end of it. You can still do many things to keep your journey for knowledge on track.
Below are five effective ways to keep learning after you complete your college education.Advertising
1. Learning A Foreign Language
You always wished to learn another language but something was holding you back. The completion of college studies opens the right doorway for learning the language you’ve always desired.
Learning a second language has social, economic, and mental benefits. It helps to improve memory and make our minds keener.
Try out apps and websites like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Busuu, etc. These are fun ways to study and you can earn points for new phrases you learn. You also can race against your friends. Of course, this requires practice, patience, and perseverance.
2. Building Your Vocabulary
According to recent research, people who have superior vocabularies have superior IQs. And, why not? In fact, words are mere representation of ideas. The more words you have on your side, the more ideas you can express with ease.Advertising
Vocabulary building is not easy at the beginning but if you keep practicing, your word arsenal will certainly become lethal with time. There are plenty of powerful tools available on the Internet to help you learn for free.
Vocabinuse is one of these tools. It features an advanced flashcard-based learning system driven by example sentences taken from world’s top newspapers to help people remember new words in context. It is a must-use tool for those who are prepping for standardized tests like GRE, SAT, ACT, and TOEFL.
Furthermore, there’s a morphology section which breaks down words into root, prefix, and suffix helping you learn the meanings of a lot of similar words in no time.
3. Taking Free Online Courses
Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of the person sitting next to you on the bus? Take a psychology crash course. Always wanted to improve your public speaking? There’s a course for you. Online courses provide you with a more comfortable learning environment and flexibility in planning your study time. In this regard, online courses can be better than a traditional face-to-face education.Advertising
Coursera and edX are among many sites that offer online courses for free, anytime, anywhere. Topics range from social sciences, arts, and writing to artificial intelligence, data science, and programming. You can even earn verified IT certificates from such sites if you complete all of the assignments given to you.
4. Starting A Business
“The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.” — Eric Ries
Entrepreneurship is a life skill. When college is over, you can create a lot of time for yourself and make a business around an idea you’ve always thought would work.
Being an entrepreneur helps you learn a lot of things, like team management, time management, public speaking, and so on.Advertising
Start a business around what you’ve always loved to do, whether it be freelance writing or a tech startup or painting, and you’ll never be devoid of new things to learn. However, blindly quitting your job because you can’t stand your boss and would rather start a business does not always work.
Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup teaches how to get products and services into customers’ hands faster. He explains a scientific approach and a Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop, citing how quickly reacting to customers’ feedback can make a business boom.
5. Learning To Play An Instrument
Playing an instrument is a productive way to unplug yourself from your hectic daily life. Whether you strum a guitar or play keys, it has significant mental, emotional, social, and physical benefits.
There are lots of channels on YouTube dedicated to helping you learn to play an instrument. What’s your favorite genre? Classical, Blues, Rock, Jazz — you name it. You can choose from thousands of videos. If you ask me, my personal favorite are Justin Sandercoe’s free Blues Lessons.
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com
Last Updated on January 21, 2020
What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It
Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?
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Can I Be Creative?
The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.
How Creativity Works
Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.
What Really Is Creativity?
Creativity Needs an Intention
Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.
Creativity Is a Skill
At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.
Start Connecting the Dots
Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:
- How to Train Your Brain to Be Creative
- How to Be Creative When You’ve Hit a Creative Block
- 30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity
Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com