Were you a student in 2014? If you answered "no" to the question then you must continue reading! Let me add some clarity to my trick question. There are many types of students. Typically we think of students as people who are in school - traditional, public, private, home, elementary, junior high, senior high, or university. Whatever the mode, students are in some type of formalized education. However, this is not the type of student I am talking about. I am referring to the person who is always learning, no matter their age or connection to a formalized learning environment.
Did you ever take a class in school that didn't really interest you and therefore you only did the bare minimum (or only read the Cliff Notes) to get by? Did you do any real learning in that class? Perhaps you were a "student" but not a learner.
Some people love school and learning in that environment. I have met some life-time students who are always getting another degree . . . forever in the classroom. This is not the type of learning or student I am talking about today.
What about those of us who are out of school, working a job, raising a family, changing diapers or playing taxi-mom, serving at church, or involved the community? Are we learning? Are we students?
Albert Einstein said, "Once you stop learning, you start dying."
I am convinced that a key component to living an extraordinary life is learning. There is a piece of our brains - our creativity and energy - that is activated through learning new things. This learning can take many forms. The form is not the important factor, but the engagement in something new is very important.
Here are some examples from my life in the past year:
* I spent 2+ years learning more about my life and business by hiring a personal coach. This coaching in a specific area was invaluable. Coaching others in life, health, and business is also one of my passions. If you are looking to be coached on your health journey click HERE.
* In the beginning of 2014 I learned how to crochet. I started on a loom and then learned a few stitches from my mother-in-law. I made snow hats and headbands for my girls, dishrags, scarves, and some other gifts.
* An amazing woman who volunteers at camp in the summer taught me how to make a pillowcase and a rag quilt. These were fun gifts for my kids and some of my nieces and nephews on Christmas.
* I am going on a mission trip to Thailand in June. I decided to learn a little Thai. I knew nothing of the language when I started, but I am picking up a few things after just a few weeks. (I am spending 30 minutes, 3-4 times each week.) Want to partner with this trip financially? Click HERE, follow the giving links, and put "Traci Castaneda to Thailand" in the memo box.
* I listen to audio books in the car. I drive close to one hour taking the kids to and from school each day and have chosen to use this time learning. I have listened to personal growth, business, biography, and classic books. I am learning, and teaching my kids to use this time learning as well. My favorite way to listen? Click HERE.
* Here is an example from my husband, Joe. Motivated by his friendship with Danny Ray, he is learning how to shuffle cards. This is not a regular shuffle, but a magician's shuffle. He spends 15 minutes 3-4 times each week and is mastering this skill as well as adding some tricks to his repertoire too.
* Joe and I ran our first half marathon this year. The longest I had run prior to this training was a 5k. There were so many ways my attitude, mind, and body learned in order to complete a run of 13.1 miles.
All of these things engage my brain. I am learning to be a better problem-solver, how and when to ask for help, and finding inspiration from those who have gone before me and lived extraordinary lives. I am gaining skills, ideas, and motivation that move me forward in parenting, spiritual journey, business, relationships, and more.
What will you learn in 2015? What can you commit just 15 minutes a day to learning this year? One mark of an extraordinary life is continual learning.
(I’m Traci, the "Be Extraordinary!" blogger. I share insights that challenge and encourage moms to be the best version of themselves. To me, that’s an extraordinary life! Click HERE to receive blog updates and a free newsletter.)