How to Be Smarter Right Now
My 12 year old daughter recently introduced me to the television show The Office (the U.S.version). Apparently, every 12 year old in this country has binge watched it. As a matter of fact, most 12 year olds binge watch most of the programming they absorb.
But it’s not just 12 year olds who do this binge-watching thing; my mother, who is just a tad south of 70 years old, does the same thing!
It makes sense…I mean, why wait? Waiting is overrated today, simply because you don’t really have to do much of it. Regrettably, I have started to hear myself say things to my daughter that begin with “when I was your age” and end with “five channels” and “we had to wait until next week or, OMG, next season to see what happened!!!” It is the Gen X version of having to walk three miles to school in the snow, barefoot, blah, blah, blah.
The people complaining about all the “young people” staring at their myriad screens while mindlessly bingeing on Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok (like those of us old people actually know what TikTok is), can learn a lesson from these youngsters and their seemingly wasteful behavior.
With all the technology and information we have today, are you aware that you can literally learn ANYTHING at ANYTIME, often for free or very little money? It used to be (“when I was growing up…”) that you had to go back to school and get another piece of paper that would cost you more money than it would ever be possible to make simply because you had that piece of paper! But now that enough intelligent people have caught on to that ruse, enter binge learning!
“I’m still learning.” –Michelangelo
Urban Dictionary defines binge learning as:
A tendency to partake in bouts of knowledge-seeking; An almost obsessive “indulge(nce) (of) an interest”(Eli Dourado, “‘Binge Learning’ is Online Education’s Killer App”). This is often within a field in which one already had a strong interest, but may also include seemingly random facts or topics. Can take the form of watching a collection of videos, tutorials, seminars, listening to podcasts, or just browsing Wikipedia or Google Dictionary (now the ‘define’ keyword). Has some similarities to binge watching.
Not only can you “randomly” binge learn as described in the definition above, but the number of amazing, credible sites that offer real courses on anything you could possibly imaging wanting to learn has skyrocketed in that past few years. I have personally taken courses on Coursera (receiving a Certificate in Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania), Khan Academy (watching countless interviews with entrepreneurs including Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX), Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn), and Scott Cook (Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit) just to name a few), and Udemy (which is like having my own education director for my business with short courses in everything from effective marketing to healthy lifestyles to using Canva to Guy Kawasaki teaching me The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship).
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” –Earl Nightingale
There are dozens of places to do organized binge learning. Lynda.com, Skillshare, Udemy, Edx.org, Futurelearn.com, Khan Academy, Coursera, TED-Ed, Codeacademy, Stanford Online, Treehouse…this list could go on for a long time!
The take-away here is simple; you USED TO have to get “an education” by going to school. That is not the only way to do it anymore. You don’t have to wait for the next semester. You don’t have to wait to get financial aid. You don’t have to spend more money on your education than you will ever be able to pay back. You can take hold of the reigns and start learning something new TODAY.
“Nothing will work unless you do.” –Maya Angelou
Take control or your learning. Take control of your personal optimization. Take control of your creativity. Take control of your enjoyment.
Take control of your potential. You are already looking at the only device you need to do this.
What do you want to learn today?
What are you waiting for?
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” Henry Ford
(By the way, in case you were interested, after I got past the first season, I became obsessed with The Office and have become a huge Steve Carell fan…in case you were interested.)