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3 Steps To Regain Your Invincibility

3 Steps To Regain Your Invincibility

    I wore snowpants all the time as a kid and still remember the feeling. Do you remember what it felt like to wear snowpants and mittens on a bright snowy day?

    You felt invincible. The snow couldn’t hurt you because you we wearing your trusty snowpants and mittens. Instead of staying inside, you were empowered (or in my case, ordered by your mother) to explore all that the snow had changed in your world.

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    Then you got older and stopped playing in the snow. There were a few snowball fights in high school and that one time in college when you streaked across the commons in January. But that’s it. No more building forts or tunneling through snowbanks.

    There’s no need for me to worry about you losing your sense of adventure, is there? Surely you’ve replaced tunnelling through snowbanks with exciting projects that just so happen to not require snowpants or mittens? You’ve continued bundling up for adventures and leaping into the unknown with cries of delight. Haven’t you? No?

    You must be miserable.

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    I don’t wear snowpants anymore but I’ve managed to hold onto some of the joyous bravado of my early days. How? It’s pretty simple. That’s right. I’m going to pour you a steaming mug of advice on how you can feel like you’ve got snowpants and mittens on. For free? Yes. For free. Ridiculous!

    1. Get two different kinds of nekkid– When dealing with metaphorical snow, it’s often in comfort with exposure that we find the best protection. I recommend having at least one friend who knows the details of something you’re struggling with. Accountability is often a result of such disclosure, but that’s not what we’re concerned with just yet. The key thing here is to have at least one person you’re NOT sleeping with who gets the regular dirt on your life. When it comes to the one you do the naughty and get annoyed over stupid things with, I suggest you stop taking your clothes off and actually get nekkid. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go ask your mother. (That always worked for my dad as an answer. I figured I’d try it out.)
    2. Take baby steps in scary directions– You’ve probably heard the, “do one thing every day that scares you” pitch? That’s resulted in a lot of scary-looking people getting laid but not much else. Most of us aren’t at the point where we can leap at things that terrify us. In fact, it’s often considered a disorder for one to be attracted to risky behavior. Where’s the balance between sleeping with ogres and turning into Miss Havisham? Baby steps. Pick a direction, take a step in that direction, mark your progress, and take another step once you’ve gotten used to the temperature. It’s a lot like getting into a cold pool. Once you’re up to your knees you say, “oh, enough of waiting!” and jump in. I should note that wearing real snowpants won’t do much to protect you if you’re trying to swim in icy water. It’ll probably help you drown, to be Frank.
    3. Get some Thinsulation– When you think of insulation, you probably think of either the scratchy pink stuff in your walls or the sort of behavior that plagues most political systems. For just a moment I’d like you to think of insulation as something that protects you and gives a bit of padding for when you leap and don’t land exactly as you’d planned. I want you to think of Kevlar snowpants strong and warm enough that you could slide down a snowy mountain on your butt while wearing them. That’s the sort of insulation you want. The empowering sort of insulation that gives stupidly impossible things a glimmer of plausibility. We’re talking about Thinsulation! How can you arm yourself with such magnificent insulation? By figuring out what really, truly matters to you in life and doing your best to make the rest slip into place as you have time. Not sure what that entails? Start by getting nekkid and taking some baby steps. You’ll find your way soon enough.

    Was that as good for you as it was for me? I hope so. Cigarette? No? I don’t smoke either.

    What makes you feel invincible?

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    Image: Source

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    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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