The Two Ways I Learn

by Zach Briggs
  1. I have to
  2. I have to

That's it, though some explanation could be in order on the why's. Way 1 is due to external forces pushing me outside of my comfort zone and indirectly inducing me to learn a new skill as a means to an end. My favorite example is how I learned to build and deploy a Rails app because I had too many reports to generate by hand. Now I write Ruby and JavaScript for a living from my home. If it weren't for that first shotgun app then I would probably still be doing Direct Mail analytics in Lancaster, OH.

Way 2 is being so into something that it is impossible not to learn. My friend Joe has a sickness with playing guitar; he just can't not play and therefore is freaking amazing at it. I want to want to play guitar as well as Joe does, but I just don't and it bugs the heck out of me. (I probably need to let myself off the hook for that.)

Since I cannot simply learn through wishing I had more discipline I must therefore be sure that I'm in situations that are always slightly outside of my comfort zone. When I feel terrified of messing up then that means I am living life well.

  • Do not suffer a profession that doesn't push you.
  • Volunteer for something just outside of your ability. Want to start teaching? GDI could use some volunteers.
  • Troll Craig's List for freelance work. Want to break into Web development? Agree to build a Web app for money and be amazed at how dedicated you become to finishing it.
  • Let yourself off the hook for shit that you're not ever going to do. You'll feel better for it. and that might open up the space for a thing that you'll actually love.