Thursday, 1 May 2014

The May Challenge

The other day my husband phoned me from work , with a mathematical problem he had to solve. After the appropriate flattery, he was able to get me to help.  I put down the phone, feeling quite chuffed that I was able to help him and turned to remind myself what I was busy doing... then I saw the pile of washing waiting patiently for me. (sigh.)

I have to remind myself, I am in the very fortunate position, that for the couple of years that we are living in Germany, I have been able to put my photography business aside and take some time to learn, learn & learn some more. Things I'd normally not have time to explore on the internet, I now do. I have to, otherwise the thought of that pile of washing would drive me absolutely dilly!

Learning new skills is keeping my brain humming. It's exciting! Last year I did a course in Surface Pattern Design, which was a totally new field for me. And I loved it and loved that feeling of learning constructively again. Then I learned how to design and write my own blog. I'm using a new system to set up a new website. There's the iPad and on top of all this I've had daily lessons from how to drive on the wrong side of the road, to how schooling works here and how to convince people that I am actually intelligent despite the days when my German just comes out all wrong and I sound like a tongue-tied baboon.

As children, our brains are constantly learning, and they're soft and squishy like sponges, but I wonder just how stiff they get as we get into the rut of the same old, same old. They say that staying young is related to staying curious. There's a lovely lady in our family, who is now well in her nineties and I have this vivid memory of her in her eighties, climbing into my car to see exactly how these child seats are attached to the car and how they work. At 80 she was not going to ever use this knowledge herself, but she's ever curious and never afraid to ask, "but how?" I do believe that's what's kept her young for so long.

To learn new things we need to be open to new things. And open to asking questions, no matter how stupid they may seem. (I need to work on that!- What have you always wondered about, but have felt too silly to ask?) What's great, is that your best buddy knows stuff that you don't! We don't have to go back to University to learn stuff. There's so much knowledge on our doorsteps, we just need to chat, and talk to each other to learn and grow, daily.

It's all exercise for our brains and it keeps us young and creative. (Now I feel better for the lack of other exercise I've been doing).  What new things have you been up to, lately? What did you learn today? How many new things did you learn this week? And yes, the littlest of little things do count!

The May challenge is to see and acknowledge how much new stuff you actually are learning all the time (give yourself some credit!) and then see whether you can add to that? Challenge yourself to try some new things! It can be as small trying a new restaurant, or going somewhere local that you've always said - we should go there sometime - or maybe it's a course you've been dying to do. Stretch yourself, stretch your experience. What things have you often thought of doing, but haven't had the time or the guts? Maybe it's time to make time? Time to dive into it? Time to set yourself a challenge?

Tell me about it in the comments below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great ideas and inventions, suggests Margaret Wheatley, miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. If we can move through the fear and embarrassment of not knowing, we will rediscover that we are creative.
So let's ask questions, and learn.