I’m a curious person. Hence, why I chose to name this blog Pioneer Curiosity. I want to take a minute or two of your time and talk about a passion of mine; being self-taught.
I have taught myself how to do many things such as type on a computer, knit, embroider, and cook, but I want to take a deeper look at how being self-taught can change how you interact with the world. Maybe you are also the kind of person who picks up a tool and teaches yourself how to use it, or maybe you can’t stand the idea of jumping in without an education. Either way, being self-taught can help us all learn lessons. Let’s look at my top five.
As I said before, the main thing that leads me to try new things and teach myself is the desire to know what I am capable of. If something interests me, I research it. I figure out where it comes from and then decide if I want to know more. Curiosity is the building block of what drives me to learn. If I don’t want to know more about it, I find it hard to continue learning. However, I find that if I do enough research, almost anything can peek my interest, it’s all about finding the right detail.
When it comes to learning how to play guitar or knit and there is no teacher there to keep me accountable, I’ll tell you right now, it’s tempting to give up. I know that not everyone has the discipline to continue improving their skill. This push-forward-and-continue attitude is something a self-taught person knows well and uses in every avenue of his or her life. Maybe it sounds foreign to you, or maybe it sounds inspiring. Either way, you can turn yourself into a person who likes self-discipline, but even better than that, if you remain curious about what you’re learning, the discipline will hardly feel like work.
3. Control over knowledge
When I teach myself a skill I have complete and total control over what I’m learning. For my whole life someone in some room has been deciding what subjects I need to know, and given me books full of what I should know within the context of that subject. While this is necessary to some extent, being self-taught is exciting because I am finally given the ability to learn about whatever interests me. This is my opportunity to fall back in love with learning.
The other exciting aspect is that this same level of interest can be used and applied to the information I have to learn. For example, I’m in a class which I have to take to graduate; however, by making connections between the information I’m learning and the details that interest me I can make the class more interesting. This takes practice, but it’s what I find necessary to continue enjoying college. I hope that after your last level of schooling whether it was high school, college, grad school, or earning your Ph.D., you spent or will spend more time learning something new. When you have your passion or interest in your own hands, it’s your opportunity to learn the way you would like to, and decide when you study what. This is a valuable time not to be taken for granted. After all, if you don’t love to learn, how do you plan to inspire and encourage the next generation?
4. Not Afraid to Try
I ask my nieces and nephews to try new things all the time. Sometimes they do in excitement, and sometimes they are just plain stubborn. This fear of trying new things, especially when you’re afraid you’ll look silly is something all of us struggle with. However, I think it’s a curse we should all free ourselves from. If I had to count the amount of times I’ve tried new things and felt uncomfortable or embarrassed, I wouldn’t know where to start or end. This uncomfortable feeling however is something that creates growth. You learn a new skill set or lesson each time you put yourself out there. And the more often you do it, the less you’ll feel uncomfortable. You also might start attracting others to you who put themselves out there with you. Being alone and embarrassed is much harder than doing new things with your friends.
Vision is something that I don’t see very often among my age group. I don’t want to give into the idea that people my age are lemmings just following the crowd, because I don’t think that’s true. Maybe for some, but not all. Instead, I would like to address fear. The fear of messing up especially when things haven’t gone the way you wanted them to in the past can make anyone stop and rethink taking another step forward. However, people who teach themselves how to do things know that mistakes are just part of learning and moving forward. It’s that vision that after twenty or thirty mistakes there will be a successful knit sweater or gorgeous curtains that keep the visionary working. Maybe you think you have to be called to be a visionary, but I’m not so sure. Yes, it comes easier for some people…but I don’t think that’s an excuse to stop yourself from setting out with a goal or dream and knowing that every step you take gets you closer to reaching it.
So have you taught yourself anything? And have you experienced anything from your time learning a new skill? Do you have some other lessons you’ve learned or are you pretty much on the same track as me?
Please share in the comment section. I look forward to learning more.