Get Your Learn On

I write constantly about how important it is to write. Specifically, I write about the positive aspects of blogging, how it can help develop you as a person and as a brand and how you can use it to express yourself. But lately, I haven’t been writing. Now there are several reasons why I haven’t been writing much lately. Apparently adding a miniature human girl to the mix with my 2.5 year old miniature human boy, with boundless energy and a “free spirit” will result in less time for writing. Apparently spending your days on the beach do not lend themselves to a plethora of opportunities to write. Deciding that at 34, in addition to being a stay at home dad and running my own small business, I should leap into two new startups does not create opportunities to blog. But there’s are not the things that have been stopping me from writing. No. What’s been stopping me from writing is reading.

I’m not reading Danielle Steele or Stephen King. I AM reading R.A. Salvatore when the mood strikes me (in my opinion, the best, most prolific fantasy writer outside of Tolkien) but that’s not the kind of reading I’m talking about. What I’m reading are articles. Hundreds of them. Each week. Topics range from the best recipes for homemade ice cream to the best team members for a startup. From logo design to new fangled light bulbs. From tiny houses to billion dollar companies. Why am I reading all this? Wait for it… I like to learn.

There, I said it. When I was completing my education degree, they constantly talked about the need to be a “lifelong learner”. At the time, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard. It sounded like a horrible after school special; “Suzie Jones: Lifelong Learner”. Lame, right? Wrong. It has become my mantra, a battle cry that I hurl forth in advance of every potential opportunity to fail or succeed. You see, call me crazy, but I think that at the exact moment you decide you know everything and you don’t need to anything more is about the exact same time that you either need to change your thinking or give up on life entirely.

My most recent “dabblings” if you’ll forgive the frivolous term, has been in the world of startups. I’ve been working with a small team to get one of them off the ground and have been working on my own to get the other in motion. The two ideas could not be more dissimilar but what is the same is the desperate need for knowledge. From project planning to team management, marketing to user interface, logos to logistics and all stops in between, the amount of information required to get the ball rolling is, to say the absolute least that I could possibly say, daunting. But luckily for me, for every topic there is to research and review there are a dozen great people writing about them. So what?

Well, what I’m suggesting is twofold. First, start reading. Read on topics you never would have imagined you’re interested in. Read about topics you thought you understood. Read about topics you never dreamed you would comprehend (might I recommend Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or The Tao of Physics). Read everything you can possibly get your hands on. But equally important is the need for you to write, about topics you feel comfortable exploring. Maybe you know everything there is to know about organic gardening. Maybe you’re the world’s leading expert on compression software. Maybe you’re a baseball aficionado. Whatever the case may be, the world needs you. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to learn and to teach at every opportunity.

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