Selective learning – Rediscover your why

Dear friend,

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There’s no doubt you learned a lot of important life skills and tools in school and things you couldn’t live without today: reading, writing, to add/ subtract/ multiply/ divide. Maybe you found a love for a new language, or you found out that physics is the best thing ever, or maybe your favorite place at the whole school was the gym?

No matter how you feel about your time at school, good or bad, you’ve probably had plenty of experiences of feeling forced to learn something new, something you didn’t really care about, or something you found irrelevant and unnecessary at the time. Right?

Having to learn stuff you thought wasn’t interesting and sometimes unnecessary, when all you wanted to do was to go to the beach or read your favorite book about the adventures of a small hobbit-boy called Frodo, might have left you with a dislike for learning or even with the thought; when I’m done with school, I’m done with reading and learning for good.

In my case, after having studied for many, many years, I’ve had that thought many times, and to this day I often feel a resistance to learning or reading something new, when someone else tells me that I have to.

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Find your reason

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If you, for whatever reason, find yourself resisting to learn new, there are a few things you can do to break free and once again become a vivid and enthusiastic learner.

What personally helped me re-spark my joy for learning, was something as simple as a snarky remark by a loved one. I was studying at the time but never studied anything just because of pure interest. My boyfriend back then remarked that ‘a true intellectual’ would also study and read something just for the fun of it. Whether I ever had the wish to be ‘a true intellectual’ or not, I don’t know, but as it happened, a short while later I passed a used book shop where someone had just dropped off their entire collection of everything Agatha Christie ever wrote, and they were re-selling it for next to nothing.

I bought the whole collection, and what can I say: that summer I discovered the fascinating world of crime novels, I was in love, and since then I’ve read hundreds of them.

This one snarky comment, many years ago, helped me open my eyes and mind to the idea of reading and learning new, and since then I’ve continued to expand my mind by doing stuff purely out of interests like; taking a course on the theory of sailing a ship, becoming a certified travel guide, learning how to use all kinds of computer programs, read every history-book ever written about Amsterdam and even written my own history book and some guided tours as well.

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Start with why

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The best way to rekindle your love for learning is to allow yourself to go back to asking why. Rediscover your childhood curiosity, the unapologetic thirst for knowing why. The curiosity you once possessed before you were told ‘Don’t ask why, just do it’.

Give yourself permission to be curious about the world and to try new things. Seek new ideas and theories and allow yourself to be creative. Do not put at filter on your curiosity or the things you want to learn. Don’t be afraid to be unique and play with what’s in front of you. Learn like you did when you were a child. Start with why!

Even if you’ve promised yourself to never set eyes on a book again and to never ever to go back to school, you’ll discover that reading things that inspire you and being open to the opportunity of learning new will slowly open up streams of new possibilities, knowledge and happiness that you’ve never seen before.

Just make sure to be true to your own interest and choose something that starts a fire inside you.

You don’t want to start with something that feels like work or that you have to put a lot of effort into it. Maybe over time when you have, once again, discovered your love for learning, you can choose to learn a skill that’s a bit more daunting and that takes some more work and focus.

I can just imagine how small my world would have been today, if I hadn’t bought that old collection of Agatha Christie novels.

Try it for yourself and start playing with your WHY. Rediscover your childhood curiosity and see where it leads you…

Did this inspire you to learn something new or to pick up a book?  I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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Have a wonderful day!

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