There is no substitute for motion.
There is no substitution for motion in life matters. I once was told by my sophomore year English teacher, “Your life is not stagnating, you are either growing or dying.” That was many years ago but it has stuck in the forefront of my consciousness until this very moment and will until I die. There are many ways to do this but one my mother taught me and I also believe to this day, God rest her soul is, “Never stop learning.” It doesn't matter what you learn or how you learn it but use your brain, grow your knowledge and use what you learn in any capacity. This will keep life moving and with each new venture, exploration and hence, discovery, either a subtle or vigorous fork will be established in your road of life and it is to that very movement, we owe the great mysteries we will encounter. However, if we don't continue to learn and therefore grow, our road will be predictable, adventureless and usually wrought with excuse, condemnation, and sadness.
-Learning can come from Multiple Sources
With the influx of access to the internet to the masses years ago there is absolutely no shortage of learning material if you take the time to seek it out. From YouTube videos on how to reset your service light in your car, to learning how to trade the FOREX market (both of which I have learned online), you can grasp just about almost any concept. I once quipped to a friend who told me that his girlfriend was just beginning law school, “Why would she do that, she can just learn it on YouTube?”
As efficient and accessible the internet may be, there is still an old-school way in which we can learn and grow that may take a little more time and consideration but will never be 2nd to any learning apparatus man ever comes up with… Reading.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”-Groucho Marx
It is an acquired taste I guess, but it occurs in such a weird timeline, I have yet to understand how it all happens. When you are a little person, it's mom/dad will you read me a story. Then school happens and all of a sudden you are obligated to read for your studies, many of which you have no interest in at all and it kind of takes the fun out of it. Some of us get back to reading for ourselves but until you have experience that thrill of not being able to put a book down, fiction or not, you will never again develop the habit of reading and it is really too bad.
I was blessed with an older sister who took me to Europe for 6 weeks when I was 14 and we traveled via Eurail the entire time all throughout Europe. It was an amazing trip and yes I have an amazing older sister but that is where I acquired a voracious appetite for reading. I can't remember if it was A.C. Doyle or J.R.R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie or The Hardy Boys but once I caught the bug, I knew there was no greater form of entertainment, education or enlightenment. I remember reading “The Orient Express on a long train ride at night, now how to does it get any better than that?
-Fiction or Non-Fiction
It really doesn't matter which one you read. I have learned so much from the fiction books I have read. I have learned new things about different time periods, different episodes in history, places on our globe I knew nothing about and subjects that I simply didn't know existed. I love to read next to my phone or desktop so I can have easy access to look things up. If you have ever read a Dan Brown novel you know what I mean. He is introducing a new piece of history or art or symbol in almost every chapter.
Non-fiction, of course, is obvious learning material as it's main purpose is to do just that. But it can be just as fascinating as fiction. When I read “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, I could not put it down. Not only was this a true account of his NDE but it was filled with scientific and medical terminology that made me stop and sound out the syllables and I still couldn't put it down.
Another great virtue of reading but hardly ever discussed as such is the growth in your vocabulary. Again, love to have the phone close by to look up words I don't know and try them out in my next conversation. When I write I love to use a thesaurus, not because I want to sound smart but because I want to get the most precise meaning across by using the word that most accurately describes my thought process.
-Now we are Learning… Then What
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”-Vernon Law
Learning is a constant and must always be but learning without putting into practice what you have learned, hence learning all that much more, stops the cycle of learning or at least arrests it's development. We all know that experience is the best teacher and failing is the only way we learn. In order to fail, we must first do. Will Smith said it somewhere in some video I saw him in and I am paraphrasing, fail early, fail often, get used to failing.
Failing eliminates certain actions or ideas and narrows down what actually works. I don't fear failing I fear wasting time. Unfortunately, the only way to learn is to waste time learning from our mistakes which if in fact is teaching us, is not wasting time at all. Most of the time when we are in the thick of things we don't realize our progress until we are able to move on and look backward.
– Just Do It – Have there even been wiser words spoken?
Have the stuff I have ever started were concepts I only had ideas about. I had no legitimate authority on these subjects but I decided to move forward with these ideas. I learned as I failed and the next time I moved on one of my ideas I failed less.
It's funny but everyone is looking for the next course or report or educational series that is going to teach them step by step how to achieve what it is they are looking to achieve and that is never the way it works out. As discussed, learning is a must and it must be done consistently and forever but taking action takes that learning to the next step while enhancing the learning process itself.
Whatever you think you have to learn right now before you act, just act and learn about it as you do.