I came across a nifty blog on WordPress today called The Daily Post. It’s designed to give people ideas for jumpstarting their blogs – and possibly gaining more followers.
One of its features is the Daily Prompt. Each day, one word is posted and bloggers are invited to create a post based upon that word.
Today’s word is “study”.
When most people think of studying, they probably look to their days in school, or preparing for a professional examination. The word brings to mind a sense of drudgery, of long nights and bottomless pots of coffee, of attempts to stave off procrastination. A sigh of relief is breathed: “Thank goodness my days of studying are over!”
This is not what studying means to me.
I never finished college. I might. I’m not sure. I’ll be 46 this year. Most of the credits I’ve earned are no longer transferable because the course content is outdated. I have my doubts as to the value of the return on investment in resuming formal education at this point in my life.
Yet, I study every day. Here are some of the topics I’m currently studying:
- I study finance. Specifically, I try to read one article on personal finance basics (frugality, cutting costs, getting out of debt, saving for retirement, etc.); one article on each of the stocks I hold (see my post on my friend Eric’s blog here, about how I got started in investing last year!) and one article on the markets in general.
- I study personal growth and spirituality. My goal each day is to spend some time reading about recovery from areas of blockage and challenge in my life, and additional time reading about new practices and points of growth that I have moved into. Both are important.
- I study content related to my current full-time work in the human resources sector. Reading about the industry in which you work is a great way to counteract the boredom that can often arise in performing your day-to-day job duties. You start to see what you’re doing, however mundane, as contributing to a bigger picture. You develop ideas as to how you might be able to add more value to the field.
- I read something related to writing each day. I set a goal this year to get myself on the road to making money using my writing ability (the blog you’re reading is a first step toward that). A writer – especially one who is only beginning to dip his or her feet in the water of trying to do it professionally – is not going to feel inspired every day. Therefore, it’s important, especially on those days I’m not feelin’ it, to read about others who do it, about ideas, about tips. This is how I found the Daily Post!
- I read at least one item each day that deals with how to strengthen my presence online – branding, marketing, blogging, HTML, and more. This helps me both with my own blogging and in assisting others with amplifying themselves online, the latter being a field I’d also like to break into.
- I study the world around me – from what is directly around me, here in the Bronx, to national issues, to global concerns. All are important. All concern me. Sometimes my local studying comes in the form of observing events that are happening directly in front of me.
Now, studying all of these things is not just about reading!
That’s what we were taught to do in school – read, and then regurgitate what we read on an exam, or in a paper written in APA, MLA or Chicago style. That ain’t what studying is about, folks.
True studying involves doing three things:
- Consuming data (reading, watching the news, etc.) is the first part.
- After consuming data, it is necessary to think about the information you’ve just learned. Do you believe it? Always look at the source of something you read. What might the bias be? Are you left with questions? Thinking about information you’ve just consumed will inevitably lead you to discover more to consume, more to learn, and more to question. This is the beauty of studying. It’s a workout of the very best kind for your brain!
- The last part of studying something is applying it to your life, actively. In future posts, I am going to go deeper into each of the areas of study I have listed above and share some things I have learned, where I have learned them from, and how I am using them in my life today.
When you make a new purchase – clothing, electronics, new dishes, whatever – and put the item aside, up on a shelf or into a closet somewhere, never using it, the acquisition is of no value to you. You’re essentially on your way to becoming a hoarder.
Don’t hoard the information you learn! If you do that, you will turn into a head full of information and not much else. You won’t get joy out of life. I believe that one reason so many of us are often unhappy and dissatisfied in our lives is that we are consuming more information than ever before, but not thinking about it and using it.
That’s my “study” story. Thank you, Daily Post, for your inspiring prompt! I’m looking forward to connecting with more members of the WordPress community.