15 Minutes A Day That Will Enrich Your Life
Remain a student for life. One of the most enriching parts of my life is continuing to study. Along with other things, I read textbooks or books on developing skills. I read magazines and online articles about new things that I am doing.
I am not crazy about sitting down and reading a five-hundred page textbook. What I do is that I read for 15 minutes or so a day. Over time, I have learned things and have a lot of fun.
When my wife scheduled us for a trip to France a few years ago, I bought a diplomatic series of French lessons with audio tapes and a book. I would listen to the types when I rode an exercise bike. I also began to watch French news on the Internet, “France2.” I would watch for perhaps 15 minutes a day.
In the process of watching the news in French, I learned something about learning. I could not understand most of what I heard on the French Internet news. I would just watch the French programs and take in what I saw and heard. The surprising piece from this experience is that I found that I knew how to discuss things that were not in the French lessons I was taking. Despite my lack of understanding of the Internet broadcasts, I was learning more French. When I spoke French, I discovered that I have words in my vocabulary that I did not know were there.
Study games. In the book “A Beautiful Mind,” the author Sylvia Nash writes about Nobel Laureate John Nash, who as a student at Princeton University developed a board game. Undergraduates at Princeton today still play the board game. Nash was an economist who studied economic and mathematical theory through what is known as game theory.
There is plenty written on game theory and poker. When poker became all the rage a few years ago, I took up poker as a hobby. I also bought copies of books on poker: Doyle Brunson’s “Super System,” Phil Gordon’s “Little Green Book,” Phil Hellmuth’s “Play Like the Pros.” Reading the books did not so much make me a better poker player as help me understand the intricacies of poker and made poker more fun for me to play and watch. I believe that great poker players are 75% intuitive with odds and human behavior and 25% lucky. I lack the intuition for poker, and I am just too sociable to be serious at a card table. However, I enjoy the game much more.
Continue to build your professional skills. About a year ago, I started rebuilding my company website. I became very ambitious. I lack the genius to be a great programmer. Yet I do love languages, and I learned that Internet browsers read languages.
My son gave me a copy of “HTML, XHTML, and CSS” (author Steven M. Schafer) and a copy of “WordPress All-in-One for Dummies” (authors Lisa Sabin-Wilson, Cory Miller, Kevin Palmer, Andrea Rennick, and Michael Torbert). I have since checked out other books from the library.
I have learned how to create content for web browsers. What I do not know when I am in the middle of a project, I can not easily find on Internet forums or from countless Internet tutorials.
Continuing to study makes my life more fun. If I want to write “Of Course” in French, I write “Bien sur.” If I want to write “Of Course” through a web browser, I write <p>”Of course”</p>.
I do not enjoy reading hundreds of textbook pages a day. Yet I do enjoy studying something that interests me. So the 15 minutes have begun to add up. Over time, I have learned more and had a lot of fun.
You are extraordinary! Remain a student for life!
“The World’s Noblest Headhunter!”
Image: Ian Wilson/Flickr