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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 March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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