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5 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Self-Education

5 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Self-Education

There are a million different “investment” tools out there – but which one is the best? IRAs, mutual funds, bonds and other things with initials you can’t even pronounce.

But what if I told you the best investment tool out there might be right in front of you. The best investment is yourself.

Here’s why you should invest in self-education — it’s the best investment you can make.

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Note: Self-education doesn’t necessarily mean more school — sometimes it’s as simple as trying a new class, attending a new conference or experimenting with a new gym.

1. Makes You More Interesting

Who’s more interesting — the guy who learns everything he’s going to learn in life and closes his mind at 22 years old, or the old man who continues to learn a new thing every year?

Steve Martin spent the first part of his life honing his craft as a comedian. As he mastered that craft, he kept learning new things and began teaching himself the banjo. Now he’s a world class musician traveling & touring with a bluegrass band.

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The most interesting man in the world didn’t become so by refusing to continue to learn, but by purposely seeking out new and challenging endeavors that would teach him new life lessons.

2. Easy Ways To Experiment

Self education is a super cheap way to experiment with new things. You can try new activities incredibly quick and for free (or almost free).

There’s a million new things to try and groups to join on a site like meetup.com. Check it out, find one or two things a month to try out and see what you think.

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You don’t need to commit 4 years and $100,000 to find out if you want to do something new. You just have to try it.

3. Reminds You That Learning a Lifelong Endeavor

The process of learning — awkwardly trying something new, making mistakes and improving slowly bit by bit — is an art we spend years on as children, but often abandoned later on as we focus on “image” and “looking like we know what we’re doing.”

By investing in your self-education, you have a constant reminder that there are things that you’re not good at and can improve on. It’s a constant exercise in humility and a great reminder that learning is a lifelong endeavor.

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4. Expands Your Perspective of the IMPOSSIBLE

I love the impossible — seeing the edge of what you think you’re capable of and then going beyond it.

Investing in your self-education helps you realize that the impossible is a lot farther away than you think it is. In fact, you might not even be scraping the surface right now. By pushing your limits, trying new things and learning more about what you’re capable of, you’re expanding your perspective of the impossible, living a fuller life and opening yourself up to more and more possibilities down the road.

5. No One Can Take It Away

People can foreclose on your house, they can repo your car and they can garnish your earnings, but people can’t take away your knowledge or your ability to learn new things.

When assessing where you can invest time, energy and the rest of your resources, spend it on the one thing that no one can take from you — yourself.

What are your favorite reasons to invest in yourself?

Featured photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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