Monday, November 16, 2015

INSPIRATION A to Z (L - Learning)

This post is the twelfth in a blog series where I’m exploring various aspects of INSPIRATION. When I chose INSPIRATION as my word for this year, my first thoughts were about finding, acting on and (in some cases) limiting INSPIRATION. I also knew I wanted this word to motivate me not only in my scrapbooking and crafting but also in my physical, spiritual and intellectual goals. During my FUN year last year, I published a two-week series entitled Where Does My Inspiration Come From?, which looked at the many different sources of INSPIRATION specifically for scrapbook layouts. However, in this series, I’ll be sharing a word for each letter of the alphabet (from A to Z) that relates to INSPIRATION along with my random and in-depth thoughts on that word and the various ways it relates to INSPIRATION in our lives.

L is for Learning

Learning is defined as "the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something." Learning is the process through which we acquire new information or build on information that we already know.

As children, we spend most of our time Learning, at home, at school, wherever we happen to be. Learning opportunities are everywhere and we soak up new information and try out new activities instinctively. We are ok with taking risks to try new things and staying out of ruts, which Kurt Anderson (in his foreword to Spark) calls Amateur Spirit.

However, as we age mature, our days are often filled with many tasks and routines and Learning opportunities, while still abundant, are more difficult to fit into our busy everyday lives. In essence, we lose that Amateur Spirit. And yet, we often feel the INSPIRATION or have a need to learn something new or to improve our skills or knowledge in a particular area. That INSPIRATION, desire, and/or need help us find (or make) time for Learning.

Speaking of time - have y'all heard the 10,000 hour rule? I first read about this rule in Malcolm Gladwell's book,  Outliers: The Story of Success (which I reviewed HERE). This rule basically states that to be expert at something requires 10,000 hours of practice. The book is filled with examples of individuals who spent years practicing and studying and Learning to gain a level of mastery. However, this rule is often misquoted to say that it takes 10,000 hours to learn something new or to become good at something, which can be quite discouraging for those of us who want to learn something new, right? Ten thousand hours is a long time!

However, the following TEDTalk by Josh Kaufman dispels this myth and explains how we can learn something in much less time. In fact, his research shows that we can learn something new and become relatively good at it in only 20 hours! He also shares four steps to rapid skill acquisition. (I can definitely find INSPIRATION to spend 20 hours Learning something new!)

The INSPIRATION for Learning something new can come from many sources. Earlier this year, Robbie and I listened to the audio book of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Neither of us had ever read this book, and we found it to be a wonderful story, which also led to our Learning some new things.

The story is about a young boy who has lost both his parents and ends up living in a busy Paris train station taking care of the clocks that his uncle is supposed to maintain. There are lots of facets to this story, which revolves around the boy's desire to repair an automaton that his father was working on when he died in a fire. I have to admit that I had never heard of an automaton and wondered if it was an actual item or something created for this fiction story. We learned that an automaton is "a machine that can move by itself." (I think Robbie wants one to add to his toy collection!)

Another Learning opportunity from the book revolves around the movie-maker George Melies. I assumed this was a fictional character, however Robbie recognized the name and knew about his Man in the Moon photo/movie. We actually looked up more information about George Melies. So, from this one book (and the movie Hugo, which we watched after listening to the book) we learned about automatons, George Melies, and some history of movies and movie making.

As a huge proponent of lifelong Learning, I love this quote by Albert Einstein.

Intellectual growth should
commence at birth
and cease only at death.

In summary, we often need INSPIRATION before we make time for Learning, and to continue to grow we must find the INSPIRATION to continue Learning throughout our lifetime.

How many hours are you willing to invest in Learning something new? Please share your thoughts on  Learning and INSPIRATION in the comments. 

Click HERE to see all my INSPIRATION A-Z posts, or click a letter below to see individual posts.

A(Art)   B(Baking)   C(Creativity)   D(Drawing)
E(Experiences)   F(Finishing)   G(Goals)   H(Hiking)
I(Immersion)   J(Journaling)   K(Knowledge)
L(Learning)   M(Movement)   N(Nurturing) 
O(Organization)   P(Planning)   Q(Quiet)   R(Reading)
S(Style)   T(Teaching)   U(Upcycle)   V(Vacation)
W(Work)   X(Xciting)   Y(Yuletide)   Z(Zzzzzs)


  1. I've seen Hugo but I didn't realise at the time that there was a book first. It's a beautiful movie to look at: very inspiring in its styling and colour choices.

    Twenty hours? That's sounds do-able! Maybe if I carved out a little more time I might actually learn how to use my camera properly

  2. I LOVE to learn new things. I'm always on the lookout for something new. The only problem with that is I want to learn thoroughly---which causes me to sometimes put off getting started. I'll never forget the year I got Quicken (seems like a hundred years ago now) for my birthday in January. I wanted to give myself the proper amount of time to learn it. I finally got around to it in September. I was really upset with myself to find that I was up and running with that program in about 10 minutes---and here I put it off for several months to allow myself the "proper" time to devote to it. Sometimes you just have to jump in!

  3. Great Ted Talk. I've heard about the 10,000 hours and always thought that was crazy. I like the 20 hours, because there are so many things I still want to learn.

  4. That's the best news I've heard all week! 20 hours seems much more do-able :). I always enjoy your alphabetic musings.

  5. I'm willing to spend a lot of hours if it's something I really want to do. I read a list once that I like a lot. To succeed in something you need: 1. focus, 2. discipline, 3 purposeful practice (the 20+ hours), and 4. time. I definitely learned how to use my DSR and more recently, some drawing skills, but utilizing those four. The internet and the library are gold mines for those of us interested in life-long learning.

  6. Thanks for this reminder that learning encourages learning. Albert Einstein also said "Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." I love that they go hand in hand! One other thought I had - learning for our own self benefit is good, but far more valuable is learning/imagination that can be shared.
    Enjoying your posts, as always! ��

  7. I'm also a proponent of life-long learning (as evidenced by my extensive catalog of online courses!) I just want the extra twenty hours every now and then to devote to learning something well!

  8. Oh yes life long learning is such an important thing. I remember seeing that TED talk and also hearing an interview with Malcolm Gladwell that it is the the rule misunderstood/misquoted that he gets asked about more than the work behind it all.


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