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Inspiration: You Are More Than A Number

Inspiration: You Are More Than A Number

Numbers are everywhere.

Whether it be two thick red streaks on an exam, a couple of digits on a LED screen, or on a hefty paycheck. They are practical, concrete, and usually reliable. However, what happens when you start to define yourself by them; from physique to income, or from academic grades to timed records? Your inspiration plummets, leaving you in an endless loophole of self-doubt and critique. It may not seem like it, but it is actually true. You are more than a number; more than a mere piece of data.

The Truth

The power of numbers can only affect you as much as you allow it to. Truth is: numbers hold limited meaning, even though one may wonder, “How will I get into my first-choice school now?”, “When am I ever going to be able to stop swimming in debt?”, or even, “Why can’t I ever be as talented as so-and-so?” Take a moment and really step outside of the box with that number clearly labelled upon it. Venture outside of it, and walk around it. You cannot destroy it, but you can acknowledge it.

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If we remain in that box for too long, we miss out on all of the opportunities around us that are floating, just waiting to be explored.

Personal Excerpt

I’ve been through a lot of pressure (external and self-driven) to excel in practically everything: school, relationships, personal reputation. You name it, I’ve probably considered it. Ambitious and hardworking at heart, my type A personality is always on top of the game. I’ll be the first one to do a presentation, organize an event for friends, or respond to emails. I’m constantly living in the future, with a to-do list, and on top of that: more numbers! However, every little errand always felt rushed and hurried, and I found myself saying, “I’m too busy” to many of the activities I used to enjoy.

An example of myself putting numbers first is this simple thought: “If I receive x% on my final grade, I am competent.” The thought itself is superficial, but it seemed perfectly logical at the time. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that striving for contentment rather than perfection leads to a healthier mindset, and in return keeps your sanity in check. Happiness is a choice, and change is inevitable. If we build our foundation of happiness solely out of numbers, we find that it crumbles down time after time.

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Some Inspiration

Everyone hits a point in their life when the numbers do not add up and everything appears to spiral out of control.

The brain begins to store mumbo jumbo. Stress snacks upon your energy, while depression enjoys a feast at your sanity. Like the common flu, this tension can be transferred from others unto yourself. The key is to remember where you stand on the issue. You are not incapable. You are never a failure. As Abraham Lincoln once said,

“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”

Just keep moving forward. Remember, this too, shall pass. Think broad, not narrow. If we learn, merely for the sake of obtaining numbers to validate our success, satisfaction will seldom follow. So, think positive, but keep it realistic. Remember, you are the only person who can control your happiness.

Next Steps

Take a moment to really reflect. When was the last time you wrote in your journal? When was the last time you picked up a good book and got lost in it, taken a stroll in the park without discussing anything work-related, or participated in a board game Wednesday? Buzzing with infinite possibilities, like inspiration from literature, famous influencers, and nature, can really give life a pick-up call.

Numbers are not our enemy, but if we allow them to take over our confidence, they will rob us from our true potential.

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Numbers are everywhere… and we are far greater than them.

Featured photo credit: New Evolution Designs via newevolutiondesigns.com

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Lily Yuan

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

1. They Read on a Daily Basis

Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

2. They Attend Various Courses

Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

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Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

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5. They Have Diverse Passions

Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

6. They Love Making Progress

If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

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Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

8. They Embrace Change

A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

“We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

12. They Never Settle Down

“Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

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Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

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