In this post, I want to argue why learning a multitude of things, even in a shallow way, can improve our lives and helps us become individuals
How are skills being defined?
I define skills as practical and abstract. For example, doing well with cars is a practical skill but being able to save money is an abstract skill. Both are important, and it is essential that skills promote virtue and independence as well as positive habit forming.
Why are skills important?
Becoming an individual requires us to be skilled people. By being experienced, we can participate in more activities, gather more resources, and depend less on the shallowness of society. Additionally, when we learn more trades, we can better help others in diverse ways.
How do skills decrease dependency?
By increasing the abilities that we possess, we can decrease our dependency on others. For example, by developing the skill of financial responsibility, we reduce reliance on our parents’ finances. This enables us to walk our own path, build our own wealth, and secure our future while saving our parents time and money.
Dependency is not evil (I will go into more detail in a later post) but it is worthwhile to diminish it as often as we can. By developing a robust set of talents, we can decrease reliance on others while increasing our opportunities.
How does learning mindset increase opportunities?
The more skills we have, the more doors open up. For example, I started my adult life flipping burgers, but I taught myself the practical skills of web design and content writing. When these trades developed far enough, I confidently pursued a better job. When I grew my skillset better job opportunities became available.
On the flip side, I’ve used my growing skills to help non-profits improve their presence on the web. Through my skill growth, I can help others while building my finances.
How does a learning mindset improve our attitudes?
When we develop a habit of learning, we create a mindset that is open to stressful situations. For example, if we sought to learn the practical skill of repairing cars, we shift our mindset to wanting to learn more. When our dryer breaks down, we see it as a learning opportunity, not as an inconvenience. Even if we can’t fix the dryer, our simple shift in mindset enables us to better approach a problem.
Keeping our mind in a state open to learning helps us approach life’s difficulties with an open mind that sees problems as a chance to learn and grow.
How are skills developed?
You develop skills by pursuing what you want to learn. It’s that simple.
Personally, I wanted to learn more about child-rearing, so I ordered a few books and started reading. Am I child behavioral expert? Of course not. But I know more than the average person, and my knowledge continues to grow.
Find what you want to learn and keep pursuing that knowledge. Allow yourself to learn freely and don’t focus on being an expert.
Should we become islands?
I’m not arguing for or advocating that we become islands and try to take care of literally every one of our needs. This course diminishes our quality of life and ensures we become disconnected from our communities.
Additionally, I would argue that this “island” argument is fundamentally manipulative. Society as a whole would greatly benefit from having a more competent, skilled, and knowledgeable populace. Sure, we can’t be our own dentist but developing the skillset of oral hygiene decreases dental costs as well as general frustrations that come with ignorance of hygienics. Both the individual and society benefits when individuals take better care of themselves.
1. What is a practical skill have you always wanted to learn? What abstract craft have you always wanted to learn?
2. Take the concrete and conceptual skills from number one and set up a time to learn those skills. If you feel like you don’t have the time to learn that skill, then why not? What’s holding you back?
3. Do you think you’re in a learning mindset already? If not, what ways do you think you can adjust your life to cultivate a learning mindset?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.