Advertising
Advertising

What Will You Learn Today?

What Will You Learn Today?

What Will You Learn Today?

    A Typical Life?

    I gotta be honest, I really like my life. Of course I have my moments (being human and all), but for the most part, it rocks. Not a day goes by where I am not thankful for, or totally aware of, what I have and what I’ve been given. Of course it’s not always a normal, conventional or typical life by any means (but who has that?) – and sure, I’ve disappointed my long-suffering mother by not providing her with the expected grandchildren to this point in time – but it’s a fun life nonetheless. Sorry about that, Mary. I’ll do better.

    Naah, I probably won’t.

    Advertising

    What do You Like Most About Your Life?

    Anyhoozle… someone asked me recently what I like most about my life. “Good question”, I replied. I pondered for a moment and while I get to do lots of cool things, I concluded that the funnest (a word) thing about my life right now is the people I get to meet and learn from. To say I meet a broad cross-section of people would be a massive understatement. From elite athletes to fat business people. From celebrities to people battling life-threatening diseases. From the arrogant to the humble. From the powerless to the powerful. From the well-known to the unknown. From the financially rich to the spiritually rich. From prisoners to prophets. From the angry to the enlightened. And from the obsessed to the apathetic. Yep, they have all taught me something. Knowingly or not. Intentionally or not.

    Interestingly, some of the most negative, self-obsessed, self-destructive and problem-focused people have taught me the most. Specifically, how not to be and what not to do.

    Advertising

    Where we Choose to Learn

    I have always been a keen observer of people and a passionate student of human behaviour; even as a young boy. Long before I understood what the term behavioural psychology meant, I was studying people, absorbing and processing information and learning lessons. Life lessons. People lessons. Communication lessons. Leadership lessons. Management lessons. Lessons about manipulation, influence, power, humility, fear, health, success, attitude, happiness…  and a whole lot more. While I enjoyed school and university (to a point), I have always understood that (for me) there were many more valuable truths to be uncovered beyond the (traditional) classroom. I have always found people to be fascinating, inspiring, curious, amazing, confusing, selfish, selfless, fearful, courageous and profoundly interesting creatures.

    I have learned that being a student is a choice. As is humility. As is honesty. As is personal growth.

    Advertising

    My Philosophy on Learning

    I have a somewhat “cheesy” mantra that I wheel out periodically and while I hate the over-used, self-help cliches that typify so much of what’s painful and annoying about the field of personal development, the following statement is an accurate and honest representation of my attitude towards learning:

    “The world is my classroom, each day is a new lesson and every person I meet is my teacher.”

    Advertising

    As trite as it might sound, the above ideology can be both enlightening and transformational when we truly understand and embrace the power and potential that comes from living in this kind of paradigm.

    The Non-Learner

    In truth, some people have not learned (listened, changed, grown, improved, adapted, paid attention, asked a question) in twenty years; just take a look at the kind of results they produce, how little of their ability they use, how much of their time they waste and how their existence is typically one of repetition, frustration and mediocrity. And complaining. Groundhog Day for the perpetually miserable and unfulfilled. For a range of reasons, they have chosen not to learn new things. It seems that some people are too proud, fearful, arrogant, busy, distracted, insecure or lazy to learn. What a pity, what a waste (of everything) and what an unnecessary reality to inhabit.

    Opening Our Eyes

    If we so choose, our world (the one we create and inhabit) can be different from now… or like too many others, we can keep living our life in a holding pattern. We can be problem-focused or lesson-focused; it’s a choice. It’s a mindset. Some choose to whine and bitch, others to learn. From right now we can open our eyes, shift our attitude, learn new things and produce better results, simply by looking at old things in new ways. Internal shift produces external shift. That is, transformation always works from the inside-out. If there’s a genuine desire to learn, the lessons will always be there. In fact, they are always there but we fail to pay attention. If only we would listen to what life (God, the universe, subconscious us) is saying. The wisdom is there. The truth is there. The joy is there. And the lessons are there for anyone who chooses to be a seeker and a student.

    So what have you learned lately? Do tell! Feel free to teach the rest of us something by sharing any recent revelations, insights, life-lessons or moments of clarity. And as always, feel free to share your thoughts on this article.

    More by this author

    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

    Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics How to Stop Being an Over-Thinker

    Trending in Featured

    1 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 2 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 3 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated) 4 How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone 5 How to Find Time for Yourself

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

    Advertising

    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

    Advertising

    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

    Advertising

    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

    Advertising

    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

    Read Next