Learning as a hobby
How does learning preempt more traditional hobbies?
Think of learning as collecting -- collecting knowledge, wisdom, skills, and understanding. A hobby is a pastime or diversion, something that amuses and makes time pass agreeably. Like any other hobby, learning gives you a chance to spend time doing something that you enjoy and find rewarding.
Unlike traditional hobbies, learning gives you a wide range of choices and activities. You can enjoy learning about things in which you have an interest, and you can learn about new things in order to develop new interests.
If your hobby is learning, you can enjoy and invest in yourself simultaneously. That doesn't mean that other hobbies aren't also enjoyable and worthwhile. But learning represents a higher level of hobbying because it is common to all hobbies. Once you have mastered learning, you can acquire any new hobby much faster than before, because you'll have already learned how to absorb new information faster. The skills and knowledge you acquire while learning can be reused in every aspect of your life.
With learning you get new knowledge. With new knowledge you get better understanding and the ability to solve problems and remove obstacles. You get the ability to find what you need and use your skills in rewarding and satisfying ways. With knowledge you get a big advantage. You get the power to see and jump on opportunities when they appear. Most importantly, knowledge stays with you -- and so does the power to teach yourself new things.
When you choose learning as your hobby, you'll find powers of mind. With practice, you'll see that learning is just like other activities -- you can do it better, faster and longer. When you are learning for pleasure and without pressure, it is very enjoyable. Each time you teach yourself something new, you feel a sense of accomplishment that is just as good as winning a game, climbing a mountain or catching that big fish.
Learning skills are very practical. When you can learn on your own there is no limit to what you can do. You can effect your job or career in profound ways. You can pick up new job knowledge and skills faster than your co-workers. You understand things better and you make more informed decisions. You have better working relationships. You're able to go anywhere and do anything you'd like.
With learning you'll have a vast number of choices. Why would you stop after you've learned one hobby? Why would you stop after you've become good at just one thing? Why wouldn't you teach yourself many things? Why wouldn't you spend the rest of your time collecting new knowledge and skills? Why wouldn't you choose learning as your hobby?
5 methods for learning
5 methods for learning
There are many ways and approaches to learning new material. Among the most common are the five discussed here:
Reading is perhaps the most common means today of learning new material. Especially useful for areas of interest where knowledge is more important than skill. Topics like history, several of the sciences, psychology, business, sociology and many others can be absorbed this way. Even when the topic calls for skills much of the knowledge is acquired through reading.
Doing is one of the best ways for acquiring knowledge that involves specific skills. It is suitable for drawing, painting, cooking, woodworking, sculpting and many others.
Practicing is useful for mastering skills that involve a good bit of dexterity, memorization and automatic responses. Sometimes called drill, it is often used for learning scales and chords in music, brush strokes in painting, formulas and problem solving in math. It is often used in sports, dance and other physical skills.
Discussing is a method for testing learned ideas for mastering articulation, and for formulating new ideas out of old ones. through discussion learned material is reinforced and often taken apart and reconstructed in new ways,
Experiencing is often used where the consequences of mistakes can be more serious. Along with controlled practice, experiencing can be accomplished with appropriate safe guards so that mistakes can be made in a managed way. This approach is often used in physical and contact sports like gymnastics, diving, football basketball, martial arts, and sky diving.
These methods in combination and with others can all be used to make learning an enjoyable and rewarding experience for anyone.
Resources for Learning
In The Ultimate Lesson, Art Niemann gives you much more than practical tips for teaching yourself anything. He offers guidance on how to deal with the mental blocks and barriers we all wrestle with when trying to achieve success.
In The Now Habit, Neil Fiore shows you how to deal with procrastination by turning it against itself to overcome blocks and get started. An easy read with valuable content.
Charles D. Hayes is an autodidact, a self-educated person. He is a superb writer and an excellent thinker. In Self University: The Price of Tuition is the Desire to Learn:Your Degree is a Better Life he gives you insight into the process of self-directed learning and ample justification for embarking on a life of learning.
Although not the most recognized of John Holt's work, Instead Of Education: Ways To Help People Do Things Better is one of his best. In it he explains what is wrong with modern compulsory education and suggest alternatives that make sense. Great for anyone interested in self education or helping children learn better.
In Learning How to Learn, Joseph D.Novak and D. Bob Gowan show you how to treat knowledge as concepts and provide an excellent introduction to the process of concept mapping - using diagrams to map the knowledge that makes up major parts of any topic.
In Learning to Learn, Gloria Frender covers a wealth of tools and techniques for learning and provides insight into how we learn. Intended for students, the book is written at an adult level and is suitable for those starting out on the road to self education. Also an excellent resource for someone engaged in helping younger students or home-schooling their own children.