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8 Fascinating Ways To Learn History

8 Fascinating Ways To Learn History

Sometimes I wonder why so many people find history boring. I’d keep hearing the same joke whenever I say I like history. “What’s so interesting about learning the lives of a bunch of dead guys?”. History like literature is full of stories, mysteries, romance -there’s actually more to it if one should look closely.

People’s distaste of learning history might have gone way back to history classes in school, where every exam was dreaded because it’s always about memorizing dates, names of people, and places. Back when most history teachers didn’t emphasize the significance or tried even just a little to tell the great stories of the past. That’s what made history boring. But it shouldn’t be.

Learning about history should be exciting. It is after all OUR journey. it is the story of mankind. It is our story. So, how can you make learning history more fun and interesting? Here are ten fun ways to try:

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1. Historical Atlases

Learning history through hardbound history textbooks can be confusing. Most historical books today tend to assume readers have a decent amount of historical knowledge already. According to historians, the best way to learn history is to consult a timeline or a historical atlas. Historical atlases include maps and charts that depict the evolution of geopolitical landscapes. They help people understand history in a broad view by pinpointing the era when historical events happened.

2. Watching Historical Movies

Movies that portray the past are some of the best ways to learn history. While not all movies do portray history accurately, there are lots of films out there who do a great job depicting the events that happened in the past. For example, if you want to learn more about the Holocaust, you could go watch Schindler’s List, The Boy in Striped Pajamas, or The Pianist.

3. Reading Inspiring Autobiographies

Biographies are another way to learn more about history. It helps you experience the past through the lives of people who lived it. Examples of great autobiographies include Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, The Diaries of Samuel Pepys, and Testament of Youth by Vera Britain.

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4. Visiting Museums

the-louvre-museum
    The Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Image by Horst Friedrichs

    There’s nothing like looking at history through a visual perspective. Most museums today hold artifacts and various historical gems like old clothing, tools, and ancient rings that tell more about the history of a place of than your history book. These things can almost take us back to the period or era by helping us understand how life was back then.

    5. Touring Historical Places

    Visiting a memorial site where they have commemorated a battle or war, or where they honored soldiers can inspire you to learn more about the subject. The problem with most people visiting historical places is that they simply take pictures and post it on social media without bothering to learn the significance of the place.

    When visiting a new country or place. try walking the streets, visiting the oldest places like temples and old churches. Nancy R. Newhouse’s In France, Honoring the Fallen in the War to End All Wars is a great example of a historical visit.

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    6. Attending Cultural Events

    Experiencing a culture through its traditions can be a wonderful experience. When visiting a new place or country, try to attend performances of traditional dance and music. If you can, try participating to get the most of the experience.

    7. Tracing Your Family’s Historical Roots

    Relating history to your life is one way to cultivate a love for the subject. So why not try tracing your family tree to see your historical roots? Wouldn’t it be awesome to find that you were actually related to George Washington? Today there are lots of sites which can help you accomplish this. For example, Ancestry.com is a great place to trace your historical roots. It has a huge collection of historical resources and facts that will help you learn more about your family’s history.

    8. Cooking Historical Recipes

    viking-food
      Viking Food on Viking Culture Day. Photo by weekendnotes.com

      What did Vikings eat for breakfast? What kind of cakes did people like to eat during 1935? What ingredients did they use to make donuts in 1833? No one can find the subject of food boring. Anyone who wants to learn more about their country’s historical past should start by eating like their ancestors. Who knows? Researching about historical food recipes may help bring out the chef in you.

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      History doesn’t have to be boring. Cultivating a love for history by appreciating and reminiscing the past helps us understand our present and future in a more humane way. The best way to learn history is to experience it through different perspectives.

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      Armela Escalona

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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