This episode of Project Thinking Out Loud: The Power in Being Human. I talk about what Othello, darjeeling teas, and books have taught me about the power in the thing that makes us human.
The power went out just now as I was publishing a new blog post. Perfect timing, right? I flopped down on the couch to decide what to do with my electricity-less, internet-less time. And I began thinking about the book I’m in the process of writing now. It’s about how to learn anything. Specifically though, I thought back to when I was in high school and my friend Angie and I plotted our ultimate learning project: our rise to Renaissance Man stardom. We wanted to be like Leonardo da Vinci and the other historical “masters of all trades”.
We loosely acted on our plans. We made a list of all things that a true Renaissance Man should know: classic music, biology, art history, world history, math, politics, among others. A true Renaissance Man should be one of the most capable people in the world in all these subjects, we agreed. He (or she) had to be the best. So naturally, we made being the best our goal.
We never became Renaissance Men. In fact, we failed quite miserably.
The most important thing you have to do when you’re setting out to learn a new language is decide why you’re learning.
You can’t be general or vague or non-committal about it either. “It’d be cool to read books in French,” “My family speaks Spanish, so like, it’s probably good to learn,” or “It just sounds cool,” usually aren’t good enough reasons. I say “usually” because I don’t know the true passion or enthusiasm you might feel when you give these reasons. But I can guarantee that you’re not going to learn anything unless you have a real reason that resonates with you.
It’s only been 6 days, and I think I’ve cracked the code to Project Thinking Out Loud. I’ve discovered the key to creating – which I may or may not have ripped off of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. I read it a long time ago, so who knows. But even though I’m sure this idea isn’t original, I’ve finally realized how powerful and true it is.