Sharpening Your Skills and Becoming More Well-Rounded

Not uncommonly, we reflect on time spent and see that there are always things that we can do that would have been more productive uses of our time. We hear of those people that speak multiple languages, travel all over the world, conquer their career goals or simply learn a new skill that ends up benefiting them immensely in the long run. You can find yourself wondering, “I would love to do this if it wasn’t so hard/time-consuming/expensive/etc.” In the grand hustle of our lives, it is extremely easy to put off steps or activities that can have incredible impact potential on your life, or the lives of those you meet.

In the spirit of aspiring to more, we think that there are several possibly simple ways in which you can start the process of gaining new skills, prospective, ambitions or the like. Hopefully these will be of use, and not something you have heard a million times in books, or from some savvy sounding host on the radio.

  • Read.
    • It is so easy with phones ever-prevalent to forget the opportunity to read some grand adventure, look into history or find a compelling narrative. Descartes said, “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries,” Heck, even Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” Reading really is a great way to learn something new, or gain a new insight, and the more you do it, the more enjoyable it becomes.
  • Take a Class.
    • Now, I know what you are thinking; classes are expensive, and what is the point of taking a class when I can learn it myself for free? I would say to that, “Well, have you ever looked at all the kinds of classes you can take?” Don’t look at it as someone teaching you something you could master alone, but as a doorway to try on a bunch of different hats. You can try a class on how to salsa dance at the local college, and find out that you love it and want to do it more. One class turns to several, and from there you find yourself dancing all the time. Even without this, taking classes is a great way to network, and find people like yourself with common aims. Having friends giving you a push is a great way to continue working hard at something new.
  • Save/Invest your Money.
    • Many people’s situations push them to the verge of being paycheck-to-paycheck, and it is often disheartening to hear of others stashing large sums of money for trips, luxuries, etc. To this end, it is often a great suggestion to start small. If you are on a tight budget, maybe set aside 5% of your earnings, and make sure that you act as if this is a bill you are going to have to pay, instead of an extra expense. In the example of a $1000 pay period, paid biweekly, that is $100/mo. Taken over a year, that is $1200 saved. Over the course of 5 years, that is $6000, and a pretty nest egg over only 5 years’ time.
    • Also, although investing is a terrifying prospect to some, it is often possible to get in small and take advantage of manageable growth. Plenty of apps exist for you to invest micro sums of money, and include notes on how to learn what to do and how to do it. Moreover, you can always go a less scary route and put money into a CD, bond, or the like, and accrue interest in the long term. It may take a little while, but spending some time practicing fiscal discipline can have huge benefits that you can compound later on.
  • Meet New People.
    • Making new friends and expanding the people you know is always great. We have already touched on networking in a class setting, and truthfully, the benefits of friends in high places can be incredibly impactful. The more people you know, the more people you have to call on when you have a question or need some kind of help. Moreover, new friends can drive you to focus on your ambitions and avoid complacency. Swing your net wide, and allow yourself the benefit of meeting people from a large denomination of backgrounds and expertise. This will allow you to become more worldly, and will also afford you the ability to get more insight on subjects that may otherwise allude one’s self. Past this however, it is wonderful to just have someone to hang out with or talk to.
  • Exercise.
    • Whether it is running, dancing, lifting, yoga or whatever other activity that wears you down but makes you more physically fit, make time for it. It is important to sharpen your body with exercise, as this can often sharpen your mind as well. Strenuous activity strengthens your reserve, and tests your perseverance, so make sure to set time aside for it. If you have goals to become the next Hercules, tackle that head-on with plenty of time throughout the week to properly meet this. If you are more like the rest of us and just want to run/walk a little farther, be more flexible, get a little stronger or possibly lose a little weight, take two/three days out of your week, and designate around an hour to this. Exercise may not feel great when it is being done, but will feel great after, and will get easier and easier over time. (make sure to eat right, too!)

Of course, these are tip-of-the-iceberg suggestions. There are all sorts of small changes you can make today that will end up in your favor down the line. Personally, we believe that regardless of your station or situation, there is always a way to change/improve it if you are willing to just take a small portion of your day to address it. Just be patient, and follow through.