The People Around You Can Be Your Best Resource For Learning
I am a master woodworker. I am a renowned homebrewer. I am a professional guitarist. I am a published theologian. Here’s what a typical day looks like for me: I wake up early in the morning, walk into my home library, and flip open my Bible. Then I read for about an hour, write for about forty-five minutes, and spend fifteen minutes or so praying. Next, I walk outside to my woodshop with a thermos full of hot coffee. I begin sketching out my project for the day: I’m restoring a vintage axe head and giving it a brand new wooden handle.
After working for a few hours, I head back inside for lunch. While I eat, I look over a recipe I recently wrote up for a new batch of homebrewed beer. I take stock of all my ingredients, place them all in a wooden crate, and carry them downstairs to my microbrewery setup in the basement. I work through the brewing process until dinner. I’m meeting Jessica at a local restaurant in town. As I pull out of the driveway, I shift my truck back into park and run inside. I grab my guitar and my mandolin. Jessica and I are scheduled to play at a local coffee shop after dinner.
We eat, we play, and that’s my day!
If you’re still reading, I’d like to make a confession: I’m not actually any of those things I said I was in the first few sentences, and that’s not actually a typical day for me…
But what if one day it could be? It sounds pretty great to me!
Lately I’ve been hungry for education. I’ve been looking for ways to expand my knowledge. I’ve also been wanting to take up some hobbies that allow me to work more with my hands, and get me away from my computer. But instead of diving into books to satisfy my cravings for more wisdom, I decided to instead learn from the people around me. So last week I spent time with four people who I knew could help me.
Four people who could teach me. Four passionate people. Four people who have knowledge to share.
I met with the pastor of our church, Bruce, for breakfast. We talked about faith and prayer. He told me to start writing down my prayers, and to talk more with people about my faith and beliefs.
I asked my younger brother Zach to give me my first guitar lesson. He had me go through a few simple chords, and told me to practice them on my own until our next lesson.
I talked through my sketch for a handcrafted beer flight paddle with my girlfriend’s father, Rich. He helped me visualize what the next steps in the process would look like, what tools we would use, and how to get the most use out of the board of wood we are using. He recommended that I go back and make a few adjustments to the sketch I had been working on.
I went over to my good friend Phil’s house to help brew a batch of wheat beer. He took me through the process, step-by-step. He explained the importance of each step, what he’s learned from brewing in the past, and what we can expect with the batch we were working on. He told me to look into some homebrew kits.
I loved every minute of each interaction.
It got me thinking. If you know me well, you know I’m always encouraging people to follow and embrace their passions. I’m also a big believer in lifelong learning. There’s so much value out there for us as humans to soak up. The fact that a person is out of school should never be an excuse to stop learning.
Knowledge is a great thing. It’s a blessing that we as humans have the ability to learn new things everyday. There are a lot of ways a person can learn new things. Books are good place to start of course, as is the internet. But if you’re like me, and you love being around passionate people, you should think about learning more from the people around you. You should supplement the education and knowledge you can get from reading books with interactive, social learning, and you should learn from the people closest to you.
Here are a few reasons why:
- You’ll be more invested in learning. When you learn from someone you know, you’re actively listening, you’re asking more questions, and you’re thinking more about what you’re learning.
- You’ll enjoy learning more. It’s fun to learn by doing, especially if you’re with someone you enjoy spending time with.
- You’ll strengthen your relationships with people. There’s a lot of value being passed back and forth in these interactive, social learning situations. When you are intentional about the time you spend with another person, it can help make the bond you have with that person stronger.
- You’ll feed off the passions of the people you learn from. If someone agrees to teach you something, it’s probably because they are pretty passionate about it. You’ll find that you can feed off of this passion and use it as fuel for what you’re passionate about in your own life.
- You’ll make the people you learn from feel great. Just asking someone to teach you something will make them feel valuable, even before they even start teaching. It’s a good feeling to make other people feel like they have something to offer.
- You’ll be a more accountable learner. Your teachers (the good ones anyway) will often give you unofficial homework assignments, and they’ll ask you how things are going. You’re unlikely to put off learning when someone you care about has taken the time to teach you, and wants you to be as invested as they are.
- You’ll zero in on your hobbies, passions, and interests. If you don’t know what hobbies or interests you want to focus on, learning from someone else who has experience and skill in the areas you’re looking into will help you decide.
So here’s my challenge for you: learn something from someone this week.
Be intentional about it. Decide what it is you want to learn more about, and think about who you know that can help teach you. Reach out to them, schedule some time, and be an enthusiastic learner. At the end of the week, reflect on what you learned. If you’re interested in learning more from the person you reached out to, schedule more time. If you aren’t as interested as you thought you’d be, think of another person in your life who could teach you about something.
Learning is always a process. But it’s often up to you! If you can be more invested in being a lifelong learner, I guarantee you’ll have stronger relationships with the people in your life, you’ll feel more fulfilled, and you’ll be more motivated to get what you want out of life.