October 22, 2013 | Posted in:How Life Works
This past weekend I attended a conference for financial bloggers in St. Louis (appropriately named FinCon). It was a great experience, because I was able to meet and connect with so many other like-minded people and hang out with most of these great bloggers in real life.
The conference itself focused on bringing bloggers together to mutually exchange ideas about how to run better websites, blogs, etc. It was facilitated by means of classroom-style presentations, Ask Me Anything talks and breakout sessions. And there was no short supply of free coffee, bacon and booze. Mmmm bacon.
Most of the content I found to be extremely relevant, but there was one topic that was discussed ad nauseam that I care very little about: “how to make more money from your website”. That isn’t the point of this blog anyway.
I didn’t have to attend the conference. It isn’t a rite of passage to obtaining the best financial blog on the internet. I attended voluntarily, because I realized that I want to make continual education from those that know more than I do a regular part of my adult life. The concept of meeting and learning from others who have come before me was a very exciting one.
How many people would get excited about a training session like this if it were for their 9-5 job? And what if it took up an entire weekend? It isn’t something that I’d be very thrilled about, because I’m not overly passionate about my day job. Sure, I like it, but I don’t want to spend my free time honing my military skills.
If the conference taught me anything it’s that I should be spending my free time learning, even if I have to lose an evening or an occasional weekend to do so. In my mind, you aren’t really losing or wasting time if you’re working on developing skills to help you in an area that you’re passionate about.
Why don’t more people think like this?
Members of the suburban Middle Class have a natural repulsion to filling up their off-duty hours with learning, because it’s outside of their comfort zone. They would rather spend their free time shopping, cooking ”cheese”-filled-microwave dinners and enjoying the bluish glow of their overly-expensive-1000″-television sets. This is because most members of the Middle Class are small thinkers.
It’s easy to sit in front of a television night after night, smart phone in hand, scrolling endlessly through your Facebook feed. Reducing the amount of brain cells in use at any given time is sure to make a person feel pure relaxation. “Social interaction, and brain activity aren’t really that important anyway. Plus, I learn a lot watching the nightly news.”
Even though I try to use my free time as efficiently as possible, I feel like much of it ends up wasted anyway, especially the time that I spend aimlessly browsing the internet. Because of this, I decided that a better way to spend some of my evenings would be to learn stuff from other smarter human beings.
I sat down in front of a computer — with purpose — and started typing my interests into Google to see if there were any locally offered courses or seminars in my area. It turns out that every single thing that I want to learn more about is being taught by somebody in my area either professionally, or informally. Writing, Speaking, Gardening, Carpentry, Automotive Repair; Everything Else.
We’re in an Age where we don’t need to formally enroll in college courses, or sift through various Encyclopedias to glean the knowledge we’re yearning for. We can simply hop on a computer, send a few emails and instantaneously be in touch with course providers, who turn out to be actual human beings.
Whether you’re attending an in-store course at Home Depot on how to install drywall or learning how to destroy the fear that causes people to shy away from public speaking, you’re doing something that most people aren’t doing: learning and taking advantage of the full range of abilities of your cerebrum. Your brain wasn’t designed to sit in front of a television for hours, which is why brain activity is almost non-existent while engaged in long periods of television consumption.
While most Middle Americans will continue their patterns of habitual small thinking, we can relish in the fact that we are Thinking Big. We want to use our free time for increasing our knowledge, and our skillsets. We can then use our new-found skills for making the world a better place for our children, and future generations.
Your job this week is to sign up for a class that matches your interests. And you are to attend, and enjoy this class thoroughly.
You can use this new opportunity solely for networking, or to increase your general understand and abilities. You could even use your new skills to make your own life better, or to aide your quest to becoming the next Johnny Moneyseed or President of the United States (yes those two positions hold a similar level of clout to be mentioned in the same breath). There is no limit to the power of Thinking Big.