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Stretch learning

Dear Reader,

As I write this, I a reading The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea. It is a fascinating look at the Gulf of Mexico, past and present.

Most of the books I read attempt to make me a better business man, developer,  or person. This one is far out of any of those categories. This knowledge this book imparts currently has no practical use in my life.

Still, the birth, growth, and eventual reigning in of the sport Tarpon fishing industry was a fascinating piece of history I had no idea existed.

I have to keep learning, my mother drove that desire into me at a very early age. All learning doesn’t have to be practical though. Sometimes, it is ok for me to learn things that stretch my mind in new areas.

Until next time,
I <3 |<
=C=

A Habit of Continuous Learning

Thomas Huxley talks about learning as I talk about continuous learning

Dear Reader,

January is on the downhill slide into February. For a lot of us – yes us – that means that New Year’s Resolutions have been abandoned like so many empty Ben & Jerry’s containers. I’m 51 years old now and have yet to have a New Year’s Resolution last longer than the end of February. Maybe I’m just doing them wrong, but if I am, I know a lot of people who are as well.

This year though, I have a goal – not a resolution – to learn something new every month. My goal is to start a habit of Continuous Learning.  Honestly, this isn’t just a vanity thing, in our industry, if you aren’t continuously learning then you are quickly left behind.

Here is how I am developing my habit of continuous learning.

 

Read more

When I was growing up, Jr-high through the end of highschool I read around 300 books. 6 years, 52 weeks a year, that’s roughly one book a week. Ok, so most of them were pulp science fiction, I read them none the less. These days life is a bit more hectic than when I was in school, reading however, is still important to me. I’m not sure who said it but I saw a tweet once “Great writers read a lot”. (I tweeted that recently, but I do not claim it as original)

More than just to improve my writing though, I learn a lot by reading. So I’ve set myself a goal of 1 book per month. I just finished January’s book “The Lost Tribe of Cony Island”. Most of the books I read are not software or marketing related. (My two favorite business topics) I do  lot of research during the day on two two topics, my reading is to diversify my thinking and broaden my horizons.

 

Nomad*

No, this isn’t an ad for Nomad PHP or Nomad JavaScript, but they are an important part of my plan so I’ll mention them. I will attend – and pay attention – at each meeting. Nomad* meetings give me a chance to learn from the best in the industry. I have a bad habit thought that I have to break. When attending a Nomad* meeting, I tend to tune out and work on email or something until it’s my turn again. Part of my habit of continuous learning will be to pay attention during these meetings.  To help me do that, I am going to take notes about what I learn. I find that I retain a lot more of what I learn if I write it down at least once.

 

Get involved locally

I am part of the leadership of Nashville PHP. Nashville however, has 30+ tech groups. Each of them can teach me something new. So it is my goal to attend a different User Group here locally each month in additional to Nashville PHP.

 

Continuous Learning

All of these activities are designed to do one thing, help me learn more and help me learn continuously. Doing them regularly will help me develop my habit of Continuous Learning. That habit will carry my career farther than just about anything I can think of.

 

Until next time,
I <3 |<
=C=

Photo Credit:
Kathy Schrock

My reading list is way too long

Dear Reader,

As part of my end-of-the-year process, I’ve been looking at how I spend my time. I’ve always fancied myself a “creative” but when I look at how I spend my time, a lot of it is spend sitting in front of a TV. I find myself Tivo surfing a lot these days under the guise of “winding down”. Watching re-runs of sitcoms takes a lot less effort than sitting down and reading a good book so I tend to be lazy and do that. One of my goals for this year is however to read more though. This means I have to cut something out. Given that “big media” has declared war on me by penning SOPA, I think this is a good opportunity to re-evaluate my support for them and their sponsors by reading more. (Yes, I am aware that most major book publishers are supporters of SOPA/PIPA…baby steps.) So I’m starting my reading list. Hopefully, I’ll post about each book as I read it.

Reading inspires me to write, every time I read, I have to keep a notebook handy to jot down the ideas for new blog posts or chapters for “Avoiding a Goat Rodeo“. TV, on the other hand, just lets me veg out. I’d rather be inspired than just shut down, so for me this year, more reading.

Until next time,
I <3 |<
=C=

p.s., yes, those are Amazon affiliate links. Not the reason I wrote the post but if they bother you, go directly to Amazon and search for the titles.