The Need to Learn



I need to learn things. No really, I need to learn things, and every day. If I don't learn things I get bored and go crazy. If I'm not learning than my mind automatically assumes that my job is insufficient for me, that I need a new one, that I need a new hobby, or a new bass, or a new computer/iPad/phone/pick-your-tech-gadget. . . .

I can't go very long without learning new things. I get restless, I get dissatisfied with life. I have nothing that I can think about. If all I do is work and do normal things around the house than I'll go nutso. Abso-freakin'-lutely nutso. I can already feel the crazy coming on.

When I get bored I consider getting a new job, but I like my job. And I don't know what I would do instead. I think about picking up a new hobby, but I don't really know what I like to do. I think I should take a vacation, but I don't have money for that sort of thing right now. I should write a book, or go hiking, or quit everything and go live on a mountain in the Himalayas, or be a monk in some Buddhist monastery, or something truly crazy. . . . pretty much, when I get bored, anything is an acceptable alternative to what I am currently doing.

So what's the problem? Why don't I just learn something new every day? Why don't I just read more every day?  Or stop whining about it and make a change?

Well . . . I wish that there was an easy answer to that, but I'll give it my best.

We all live and die by patterns. Habits. Those habits rule our lives. What is easier: clocking in and clocking out without putting much thought or effort into your work; or showing up, putting forth the effort, thinking things through, innovating and making a difference? Well, if the majority of the workforce is any indicator, I would say the former of the two options is easier, and more common.

What is easier: scrolling endlessly through the innumerable (and predominantly pointless) posts on Facebook; or purchasing book after book to feed an insatiable desire to be learning new things every day?

Skimming through Facebook and blogs kind of gives the feeling that you're learning new things. There are little tidbits of knowledge spread throughout the web, and it almost fulfills that desire to learn, but the knowledge is buried deep under the clickbait, trite phrases, memes, and sometimes you can't help but get distracted by the silly videos of cats having light-saber fights . . . Ok, I'll admit that was a pretty good video, but that's beside the point.

The point is that it's easier to just browse and drown ourselves in tedium than it is to learn. It's easier to cruise through our day and complain about our dissatisfying lives than it is to contemplate a plan and act on it. And it's a whole heckuva lot easier to read self-help books and articles than it is to actually apply any of that knowledge to real life.   These are the patterns that really rule our lives, the patterns of complacency and pretending to learn when we are really just passively browsing through life.

Knowledge can be power, but it rarely is all that empowering, simply because we don't apply it. Knowing things doesn't mean much unless we do something with what we know.

It's time for a change. I need to learn some stuff that I can use before I go more crazy than I already am.

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