I was jogging in the hills of San Francisco, thinking about things I want to learn (electronic music production, Qigong), things I’m learning now (business skills) and things I’ve been studying for years (fiddling, yoga, meditation).
Then I thought, “I always seem to be learning something.“ And so I defined a new life rule:
Maybe it’s unnecessary to make this a rule if I’m already practicing it. But somehow it seems useful. I don’t state the rule to force myself to keep learning, but as a way to accept who I am and what I’m doing. It relieves some pressure. When I make a mistake I just say, “I’m just figuring this all out as I go.” And so I can be more forgiving and kind to myself.
And “always” doesn’t mean that every second of the day you’re studying something or solving a problem. Just that there’s a subject or an area that you’re interested in enough to study. Your brain needs time to absorb stuff, so even those moments of routine or relaxation are a part of the learning process. That’s why podcasts play music to break up all the talking; it allows things to sink in.
If you’re learning to play the fiddle, you’re not just studying an instrument; you’re studying yourself. There’s a zen saying, “To study the self is to forget the self.” If you do something with your entire heart, mind and body, you become one with that task. If you can learn this with music it can carry over to other things.
Here’s my other life rule:
Jump in the water if you can.
What are you learning now? What do you want to learn?