Yesterday, we published a raw and honest article on why you might think you are an average person (and also how to overcome that feeling).
Average looks, average income, average relationships, etc. This line of thinking is easy to fall into, especially, when the media highlights massive successes and even your own newsfeed bombards you of friends and acquaintances with their new and exciting ventures, which then leads into the human tendency to compare yourself to others.
I fall into this line of thinking all the time.
The other day I was watching Netflix and while I scanned the suggested documentaries section, I thought to myself, “Man! There is a ton of sh*t I have no idea about!”
This really bothered me! Like, really really bothered me!
I have always been the type of person who, when I saw something cool, I wanted to immediately learn it and try it myself (requisite skill set or experience be damned!). I am also the world’s most impatient person, so it makes sense that I have always had this underlying sense of FOMO when it comes to knowledge, skills, and understanding.
Yesterday’s article had me thinking about ways to combat these sporadic feelings of inadequacy.
“Self-doubt will always be a part of our lives, but I have found the best way for me to counter this is to always be on a journey to bettering myself or creating something new.”
Recently, one of my good friends committed himself to starting an e-commerce project (with no prior experience). Before this, his job had been an utter nightmare and he had considered doing the unthinkable… moving home. Clearly his job was affecting him. It was creating considerable self-doubt and even more frustration as he looked on, as his friends launched startups, traveled the world, and seemingly, was doing more than he ever dreamt of.
The difference in his attitude and his demeanor have been night and day since he embarked on this educational journey. Once he set his sails and began to learn how to succeed with this project (learning branding, SEO, social media, sales, affiliates, etc.), his self-doubt and feelings of “averageness” have been replaced by a sense of purpose, passion, and momentum. Words straight from his mouth.
“I’m just excited man”
Thinking back to my own experiences, the same has been true with myself and that of other friends.
The best way to not feel average, is to NOT BE AVERAGE! Well, duh. But the truest and realest way to actually do that is to consume yourself with learning new skills, acquiring new experiences, and testing out passions. Ya know, DOING.
So, today, I present you with PRSUIT’s list of free online tools to help you learn something new, and being exposed to new and exciting perspectives. By committing to one or two of these (or something entirely different!), you are separating yourself from those who don’t mind being average. You are bettering yourself and committing to a journey of self-discovery. As Todd said, in the article I mentioned above, here is what I am committed to doing:
“Every day I will get up and look for things to be excited about. Every day I will come up with new ideas. Every day I will look for things to improve and to learn something new that inspires me.”
Truth is, you are NOT going to make your life radically better today, but you can make today radically better now by chasing new knowledge and skills.
Stay focused. Stay balanced. Learn, and most importantly: DO.
Here are some thought starters to encourage you to learn something new in 2016
Learn how to start and grow a podcast
If you have been following PRSUIT for a while, you’ll know that we have our own weekly podcast on iTunes! – The Hustle Sold Separately. We started this podcast in October and we have already been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Fox News, etc. It has been an exhilarating ride and our journey is only just beginning.
Podcasting involves a lot of moving pieces but it is an extremely creative and interactive experience that has seen an explosion of growth lately. Several of my friends have recently gotten into podcasting and won’t shut up about it! It is very rewarding as a creative outlet and a passion project. The days of podcasting being seen as a “boring hobby” are over, as hundreds of millions of people tune-in and download podcast content every day on their smartphones. Better yet, you can make some serious, serious money with your podcast. Two of our favorite resources for learning how to podcast are How to start a podcast: Pat Flynn’s Step-by-Step Podcasting Tutorial and John Lee Dumas’ Podcaster’s Paradise.
Learn to play the piano (and not because your mom made you!)
If you’re like me, you might have been “encouraged” to play a classical instrument when you were a kid. If you’re also like me, you gave that up as soon as your parents stopped “encouraging” you to take lessons. That was that.
As an adult, I have found myself increasingly drawn back to playing the piano. After all, according to the New York Times, the study of music is closely linked to success. Not only that, but learning to play has been linked to higher IQ, increased memory, and a variety of other cognitive improvements. Personally, I love the process and journey of the creative outlet. Plus the sense of perseverance of playing piano instills in me.
There are a variety of apps, tools, and courses to help you pick up playing. Here are our favorites. I really like Flowkey which helps you learn piano on your PC by playing songs you know. Pianu is another great one that provides interactive PC lessons to help you learn to read and play music.
Learn how to start and grow your own blog
Since, launching PRSUIT, I have had many friends, family, and readers reach out to me saying how cool it is that I make a living from blogging and that they want to do the same. Ya know what? It is pretty darn cool. Blogging is a fantastic personal outlet, creative effort and learning experience. I have met hundreds of unique people, been exposed to some incredible experiences, and have also been crushed, humbled, and honored along the way.
Blogging and online publishing takes perseverance, nimbleness, and a competitive attitude. Lucky for you, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when launching and growing a blog. Yes, you need to be original, and yes, you need some style and swag, but other than that, it’s all about creatively driving growth, which you can accomplish that by learning from folks who have already been there and done that. You can learn from Neil Patel who runs Quick Sprout or you can head over to Accelerate Your Brand where I take you through all of the steps we have implemented to grow PRSUIT.
Learn how to read more by reading faster
I am a voracious reader but also a somewhat slower reader. With everything I have going on with work and other commitments, I find it difficult to set aside enough time to read as many books as I’d really like (shame on me!)
Enter speed reading. I have heard a lot about this, and some folks swear by it to help them consume more at a faster rate while also improving comprehension.
Most people have an average reading speed of 200 words per minute, which is about as fast as you can read out loud without slurring your words. The reason for this is that while reading, people rely on their inner voice to pace them through the text. This inhibits you from achieving higher reading speeds. Essentially, you can only read as fast as you can speak.
By learning speed reading, it is possible to read at a higher speed with better comprehension by silencing this voice… aka subvocalization.
There are a variety of software to accomplish this and I really like Spreeder, which teaches you how by loading a passage of text and then pacing you through the text at a predefined speed that you can adjust as your reading comprehension increases. Another good choice is Syllable, which speeds you up because your eyes don’t waste time moving from word to word and avoids time-wasting subvocalizations.
Learn a new language
As far as, “learn something new” articles go, this one is a usual suspect. However, as someone who speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Hindi and Urdu, I can attest to the growth potential of learning new languages.
Not only is learning a new language a great way to encourage world travel, new perspectives, and appreciation for new cultures, but it is an incredible process and learning experience. I studied languages for my undergraduate degree and a lot of people said that I didn’t get the true college educational experience because I wasn’t challenged to “learn” in the traditional sense. According to them, learning a language is not like learning a chemistry or financial principle. Well, I disagree and I think learning a language is a truly self-educational experience. It teaches you to think dynamically, troubleshoot, apply case studies to learning, and much more.
Beyond that, learning and speaking a new language is simply fun.
Learn how to draw
I struggled in art class as a child. Like really, really struggled. I have always been kind of irked by this yet never really tried to improve my ability.
Like anything, becoming a better drawer, sketcher, painter, etc. is all about repetition and practice. As a hobby, drawing can become a therapeutic and creative outlet. It can even lead to business ideas, fashion lines, etc.
Now is as good a time as ever where more and more creative endeavors take place online. Drawing takes place right in front of you with your hands! Imagine that! Check out Drawspace – a great resource for learning to draw.
Learn to code
Like I said earlier, I experience knowledge and skill FOMO all the time. We live in the app era, so it is no shock that I began to experience this several years ago as the success of apps and their developers’ grabbed headlines and prime airtime. I wanted to know how these guys and girls were creating amazingly interactive experiences on smartphones across the world.
Apparently I was not alone as there are over 50 million coding students on codeacademy.com alone!
Learn how to play chess
As I have grown older, I have found fewer opportunities to engage in traditional competitive outlets. Outside of the occasional pickup basketball game or touch football, I don’t really engage in organized sports (maybe that’s just me). I think a lot of my peers find this to be the case – folks who used to enjoy the grittiness of competition but don’t have the time or drive (maybe fitness?) to engage in regularly scheduled or spur of the moment competition.
I have turned to other outlets to find this when I want to engage in something competitive in the spur of the moment. Outside of the occasion Halo video game, I have found Chess to be a great answer to this urge. Not only does it really challenge my cognitive ability, but I have found it to be just as competitive as other more active efforts. Check out ChessAcademy for digital lessons and then consider playing on chess.com
Learn how to do…ANYTHING YOU WANT
The ideas I just mentioned are just some thought starters. It doesn’t matter what you want to learn or how to do it as long as you are embarking on a journey to improve, discover, and learn something new. There are a myriad of great resources to learn and engage with new ideas, skills, and knowledge. Be sure to check out Coursera and KhanAcademy for some more inspiration.