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10 Habits of Learning That Will Make You A Fortune

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn

While formal education does a decent job of giving us the vocational training to work for other people, it’s self-education where you can discover your reason for being and follow the creative path of entrepreneurship and invention.

Ultimately, self-education is about finding what intrinsically motivates you.

This is the knowledge that will set you free to discover who you are and what you are capable of doing. Self-education is something that is essential in today’s rapidly changing world where you must always be learning and upgrading your skills.

Whereas formal education is great for learning a wide range of subjects you may not be able to learn on your own, self-education is where you can learn about yourself and explore your creative potential by applying your talents and interests.

More than ever before, we have the freedom to make the world our classroom by following our curiosity and seeking out what inspires us. 

The best way to learn is by doing.

Don’t just think about a problem, pursue a solution and make it a practical learning project to test your ideas in the real world. Take bold steps and learn from your mistakes as you go along, this is the fastest way to learn and unleash your potential.

The key to self-education is to set your priorities and make learning a deliberate daily habit. This way you can always be challenging yourself and absorbing new ideas, experiences and perspectives.

Here’s  what I recommend you do to make learning a daily habit:

1. Set aside at least 30 minutes a day for quiet reading time.

Put it in your schedule and make reading books or ebooks that inspire you a daily occurrence. I do this as part of my evening routine to wind down before I go to bed. It find it relaxes me and it primes my brain to dream about the stories and knowledge I read about. I find this allows me enough time to read 2-3 books a month.

2. Spend your commuting time listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

If you’re like me and you sit a lot at work, then listening to audiobooks is perfect to combine with physical activity like taking long walks exploring the city and the natural environment where you live. Establish a routine of watching your favourite podcast each week and maybe you’ll get inspired to interview people yourself and start your own.

3. Schedule a block of 3 hours each week to take online courses.

To learn on your own, you have to set clear goals, schedule the time and prioritize your actions. I complete at least one online course per month by scheduling my time to when I can focus entirely on the work involved. I recommend dedicated blocks of at at least 2-3 hours to focus on learning the material and if you can spare more time, you should try blogging or vlogging about what inspires you from your online learning.

4. Stop watching TV and watch documentaries online instead.

People often ask me how I have learned so much about subjects like history, religion, politics, psychology, sociology, economics and technological change. I always answer that the spark that inspired me to want to learn and study on my own is usually an inspiring documentary. I have watched literally thousands of documentaries and I highly recommend them as a tool to discover new things and get inspired to dig deeper and learn more.

5. Seek out other self-motivated individuals following a creative path.

I strongly believe in Jim Rohm’s maxim that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. You need to surround yourself with the dreamers, creators and doers. Go to meet-ups, conferences, inspiring events, social mixers, hackathons, co-working spaces and retreats. I highly recommend getting involved in your local startup community so you can surround yourself and collaborate with local entrepreneurs.

6. Take interesting people out for coffee or lunch each week.

One of things that most surprised me when I first set off to travel the world is how outside of the modern West most people think it’s weird to eat a meal alone. Food is meant to be shared so why not share it with someone that interests you so you can hear their stories and practice the very useful art of cultivating new friendships. Your LinkedIn network is a good place to start.

7. Find a mentor who does what you want to do.

Successful entrepreneurs are always on the hunt for high performers who show initiative. Unfortunately, these people are rare. If you reach out to an entrepreneur with a detailed presentation on how you can provide value to their organization as an apprentice or intern, you will get their attention. Tell them how much you admire their work and say you will do whatever it takes to learn from them. This is a great way to build a reciprocal relationship with someone who is very busy.

8. Act on what you learn and develop your own creative projects.

What separates creative doers from everyone else is they take action and create solutions that meet human needs, thereby creating value for others and learning from their customers or audience as they go along. I recommend always having a side hustle to test if others see value in your ideas and solutions.

9. Make your life an adventure and be open to all kinds of new experiences.

Go live in a mountaintop monastery for few weeks, join a religious or spiritual movement that inspires you or immerse yourself in a foreign culture to gain a more global perspective. Th extraordinary experiences you find off-the-beaten path will challenge your prejudices and allow you to view your own culture with more insight. They also lay the groundwork to have breakthrough ideas later on.

10. Make the effort to become an excellent public speaker.

There are few skills more valuable than being able to tell a captivating story and deliver an engaging presentation. When you’re up on stage, you can magnify your influence and inspire many more people with your stories. Public speaking forces you to face and overcome your most primal fear: the fear of social rejection. Joining a local Toastmasters chapter is a good place to start.

The canvas of creativity that we draw from is the sum of all of our experiences. As Steve Jobs once observed, creativity is just connecting things. The more you learn, explore and challenge yourself in different ways, the more creative you will become.

In a technological world that rewards creative initiative and automates the routine and formulaic, self-education is how you will make a fortune.

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