If you’re thinking to yourself: “Not another blog about self-development and personal growth!”, then you’re right. It isn’t.
My definition of these terms is much more inclusive than that of most people. I believe that any learning experience, no matter what area of life it’s in, helps us grow. A few examples:
- Learning a new language
Many people don’t realise that learning a new language gives them the keys to a new way of thinking. Every language mankind has ever invented has thoughts and concepts that are unique to it, that are incapable of one-to-one translation into at least one other language. Each has a world-view which is unique, and learning multiple views can only help make us more flexible and tolerant.For example, the German word gemütlich might translate to something similar in meaning to “cosy,” or “comfortable.” Neither of those words carries the exact subtleties of flavour of what the word means to a German-speaker. Sometimes, there is no way to say something in a language at all, and words and phrases must be borrowed from another language; Esprit de Corps is something that actually cannot be accurately described in English directly.Of course, the best way to learn a language is to go to a country where it is spoken, and then fall in love with a native speaker. The joy of the emotion makes learning their language so much easier. For those who for any reason cannot do this, I intend in the future to offer language courses, if there is the demand or desire for them.
- Learning to use a camera
It’s not just learning the technicalities of the camera itself, but the new techniques and ways of looking at the world that are important. We have to start thinking in terms of when to press the button, as well as things like the point of interest.Have you ever wondered so many pictures are boring? There is the subject, sitting in the middle of the image, and somehow everything seems so dull! A little trick I learned years ago is the Principle of Thirds. If the point of interest is 1/3 or 2/3 of the way across, or 1/3 or 2/3 of the distance from the top to bottom, the picture immediately becomes more interesting. Learning how to achieve this with autofocus cameras is a stimulating experience.Then we have the complexities of depth of field, development and enlarging (if you use film cameras), or computer manipulation (even if it’s just cropping Aunty May’s left foot from the edge of the picture). Mastering these new techniques definitely stretches us and gives us new capabilities and new points of view.
- Cooking a new recipe
There are so many cookery books available, not to mention the possibilities of the Internet. Not only can we learn about new tastes and combinations of tastes, but the discipline of following a recipe can, of itself, be a learning experience.Discovering the cooking of other countries can be so liberating! New flavours and smells, new textures, new spices and herbs, new equipment and techniques, and so on. These can only improve the way you cook everything. Best of all, you get to eat the results!You might even discover that the food you've been eating for years is not what you really want and that, for instance, Japanese food is what really gets your motor going.
- Writing a book
It doesn’t matter whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, the experience of writing a book can be an incredibly creative experience.If it’s nonfiction, having to put your thoughts into a logical structure helps you understand the material better, since you may discover connections that you hadn’t consciously known existed before. It’s like teaching; only when you teach something do you really begin to understand what it is that you’ve learned.Fiction, on the other hand, calls on levels of creativity you may not have realised that you have. Plotting, character creation, scene-building, and even the selection of the most apposite phrase or word call upon unsuspected abilities andresources from the depths of your self.
There are so many possibilities: learning oil painting, embroidering a picture, teaching yourself to use all ten fingers when typing, even learning to drive a car (just to mention a few other things I have learned over the years), are all things that grow our selves, and expand our capabilities.
I hope you will follow me as I follow some of these paths and show you what I have learned with time. If I can help you avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls I have encountered, it can only be to the good.
I will also offer products I have acquired or developed myself, which I believe will help you to achieve your own growth. If there is something you think I could supply, drop me an e-mail, and I’ll see what I can do.