Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Learning Without a Purpose

Something I’ve noticed about many people these days is not what they learn, but why. They try to pick up new skills to enhance their careers or to do their jobs better. Management skills, programming skills, presentation skills, and more.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but should work be your only impetus for learning something new?

For the last 20 years or so, most of my learning was to advance my career. A few years ago, I decided that life was too short to focus solely on my job or career.

I decided to learn new things because I wanted to learn them, not because they’re useful or practical. Not because they could potentially advance my career. Because they interested me.

So, what have I been learning? A few months ago, I did an introductory course on data journalism. I don’t plan on getting back into the world of journalism, but the tools and techniques and concepts of data journalism intrigue me. And I’ve been getting back into an introductory course on the Python scripting language.

While I may never use what I’ve learned in those courses professionally, I enjoy doing something a little different. I enjoy moving outside of my little sphere. I enjoy pushing myself and trying (though not always succeeding) to master something new.

And that’s the key: having fun with what you’re doing.

If something interests you, learn it. Even if others think you’re wasting your time. Learn Esperanto. Delve into beekeeping. Study aikido.

Give the naysayers the finger and do what you want to do with your time. And remember that it is your time. Not anyone else’s. You control it and how you use it. Just use it as you see fit.

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