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How to Educate yourself?

Last updated on June 9, 2022

Self-development is the development and improvement of your inner potential, abilities, skills, and acquiring new knowledge.

Some people believe that it makes no sense to spend a lot of time and effort learning something new when we are already getting the necessary knowledge in school. If you are interested in self-development and working on yourself, you will need time, willpower, patience, effort, and desire. Self-development is about protecting your personal boundaries. Self-education is a great tool for testing the limits of your potential. Self-development is spontaneous and you cannot know in advance where the boundaries lie. Because no one outside of you can tell you what to do, only you yourself define these boundaries. It is your will that defines where and how you can move in your self-development.

In accordance with your inner Will Navigator, you determine the correctness of the direction by the dynamics of your own energy flow. If you feel driven, then you are moving in the right direction. If nothing pleases you, it might be necessary to try moving in another direction, and, possibly – up or down, taking into account that the space of personal self-development is multidimensional.

Self-development is about self-strengthening and self-protection. One of the most essential aspects of self-development is that as a natural process it is an essential mechanism for us to protect our identity. In other words, we develop ourselves in order to survive.

 Our self-realization is the highest form of adaptation to the conditions of the changing world. After all, we realize ourselves in the specific circumstances of life and cannot be effective without considering their nature.

Self-development is a great way to strengthen ourselves because we act in accordance with our inner nature, strengthening our strengths and protecting our weaknesses, realizing our opportunities, and reducing and controlling risks. By developing and learning self-control we become more secure. After all, we rely on our own internal resources as our source of power.

If you do decide to do self-development and are ready to spend your time on it, then it’s important to understand why you feel the need to work on yourself.

I do self-development so as not to become a robot. In this age of information technology, everything is automated. We more and more often perform various actions automatically: we get up in the morning, get ready for work, go to school or work, come home, watch TV, and then go to bed. We live unconsciously, we do not analyze our actions because It’s easier that way. Gradually we become robots. To begin to engage in self-development and self-improvement means to begin to live consciously, analyze your own actions, behavior, and the actions of others, and draw certain conclusions.

I do self-development to meet the demands of the times. Nothing lasts forever. Nowadays everything changes very fast. New inventions, theories, methods, and rules appear daily. If it seems that only yesterday you studied at school or university, and today everything you have learned is no longer enough. It’s time to get busy with self-development. I also do self-development to be a versatile person. Some people have extensive knowledge of concepts that others only understand superficially. This indicates a broad outlook and developed intellect. Of course, it is impossible to know everything. But it is necessary to strive to become a versatile person. Important to have a broad outlook, to be able to maintain a conversation, to set goals, and achieve them. 

How to start? 

Choose your main goals

You can’t learn everything at once, you have to make choices.

How do you figure out which interest is most important? Greg McKeown, in his book Essentialism, offers two radical pieces of advice. First, if you can’t say an unambiguous “yes,” say an unambiguous “no.”

Write out all your goals and rate each one on a 10-point system. Anything below 9 points is not worth considering.

Second, use strict and explicit criteria. For a new activity, choose three optimal benefits that are meaningful to your life. For example, it should raise your self-esteem, be enjoyable, and improve your financial situation. The more criteria a new practice captures, the more valuable it is to you.

 Evaluate the practice

Once you’ve chosen a practice, find out what you can achieve in it. Find out how developed the practice itself is: does it have a clear criteria for success and failure, does it employ experts, and develops its own teaching techniques? If the practice is established in the community, you’ll have a clear view of where you’re going. If there is no clarity, it will be much harder to develop.  

Set a specific goal

Don’t just “learn to run” or “speak French.”

 It’s better to turn your self-education into a project with specific objectives, so it’s clear when you reach your goal. Imagine what you want to achieve and what you can realistically achieve in a given time frame. Don’t try to “get good at grammar,” but pick the 10 most important topics, find as many exercises for them as you can, and make a final test for yourself. Determine a timeline. The deadline should be clear.

Build your horizons.

The best solution for self-development is understanding the amount of work around the project. If you’re learning French grammar, read comics, listen to podcasts about language history, or go to a lecture on linguistics. If you need to prepare for a half marathon, watch documentaries about famous runners, read sports magazines, and find out the national and world record for the distance. The outlook will help the project and outline paths to new topics. 

Plan for completion and reward.

The commitments you make to yourself are pressing and need to be balanced with irresponsible rest. Always designate exactly when – to the minute – you will finish. Behaviorists are right: we’re all lab mice looking for positive reinforcement. When you finish an activity, reward yourself with a cup of coffee, a walk, or an interesting book. The reward should be a simple pleasure. Do not reward yourself with something useful and responsible: I spent an hour learning English, and now reward myself with interval jogging – you’ll snap in a couple of days. Rest should be relaxing.

Even if you miss it, don’t quit.

Perfectionism destroys good habits. The worst thing about self-training is quitting everything because you missed it once. It’s much more helpful to accept yourself with all your skipping. It’s better to accomplish 30% of the tasks you set than do nothing.

Prepare for obstacles.

Most of the obstacles that frustrate a schedule can easily be anticipated. If you have a run three times a week and have an out-of-town trip coming up, think ahead about adjusting for the new conditions. If you have an exam soon, reduce your English grammar time to 10 minutes a day.

Find your people

Learning alone is difficult. Even if you set up the learning process yourself, you’ll still need an outside perspective.

When motivation only comes from within, any personal problems threaten self-development. Find people who are also passionate about running or English. Start with amateur forums. You’ll understand how it’s common to talk about running, and what problems athletes have. Make acquaintances, look for allies, and most importantly, determine who is best at running. The most helpful self-training friends are experts who are willing to share their experiences. Pay attention to other self-trainers; solidarity can play to your advantage.

Look for a balance of cognitive load.

Watch your own cognitive load. On the one hand, it should be hard enough not to get stuck on one level. On the other, overload reduces motivation and can derail the whole process. Find a balance that suits your schedule and learning environment.

Make sure your goals are out of your comfort zone.

Repeating the wrong verbs over and over again gets you used to it, you get more and more comfortable and you don’t want to leave your comfort zone. But if you don’t get past your comfort zone, your skill development can stop. At the same time, you can’t just jump over them. You need to move gradually. Try irregular verbs in different conditional sentences, then move progressively to the conditional mixed-type constructions. Set small goals outside your comfort zone. Good luck!

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