I am a firm believer that challenging yourself to learn new skills fuels your work performance. However, I think work performance is only the tip of the iceberg.
It's a powerful force when you're able to do something that interests you. Letting your mind wander can produce or connect ideas or thoughts that you never thought you had. After all, there's a reason why Google, HP, 3M, and several other companies have adopted the 80/20 rule. The rule allows their employees to work on assigned tasks 80% of the time then spend the rest on tasks or hobbies they enjoy doing. The article can be found through the link below.
As for myself, challenging yourself to learn new skills has an overwhelming effect on my overall health and well-being, which translates into both the quality and quantity of work performance.
Related: Hobbies Are Rich in Psychic Rewards
Increased Focus and Mental Engagement
I've found that this is one of the most noticeable and quite possibly important topics of the bunch. Staying mentally stimulated all day regardless of work or free time for me is much easier than going brain dead at lunch, in the evening, or on the weekends. I tend to feel exhausted and more difficult to get back into an active mental state from these brain breaks during the day.
Learning new skills are not just restricted to hands-on type of learning either. Some effective types of learning that I use to stay mentally stimulated throughout the day are podcasts or YouTube video channels that I find interesting. I can either listen while I'm driving or watch them when I have a few minutes to spare but again, it's all about what works best for you.
Health-wise, I've noticed a huge increase in focus and mental engagement from learning new skills. In addition, an active mind throughout the day can result in a much more deep and restful night of sleep.
Unleash Your Creativity
At their core, everyone is unique and creative. I've heard the phrase, "I'm just not a creative person," way too many times. Creativity is just like any other skill in that it can be developed, and as Albert Einstein put it, "Creativity is intelligence having fun."
Exposing yourself to new experiences and skills will naturally give you a different outlook or insight to a new way of life. These new experiences will give you the ability to express yourself in a new way of thinking and problem solving. In addition, learning new skills and developing your unique sense of creativity can give you the curiosity bug. You might start to question many things you have taken for granted.
You might start to notice a more positive outlook on life and find the little things in life to be more meaningful.
"A creative person is a happy person." -me
Learn More About Yourself
There are so many barriers everyone unknowingly puts up for themselves. Whether it be learning a new skill, picking up a hobby, or even learning about a new job, technology has made is possible for anyone to learn anything online. A simple internet search of "How to..." can turn up thousands of high quality results. In turn, you can truly learn more about yourself from skills or hobbies you never knew you liked, with communities of people sharing similar interests.
Developing additional skills creates a better understanding of the world and how it works. You will learn more about yourself which can open new doors. You not only develop a larger knowledge base, but you can bring more value to a relationship or conversation you have with others.
A few things to remember.
Money should never be a thought that crosses your head when you're learning new skills. When you develop a solid set of mental skills and can apply those skills in a practical manner, the cold hard cash will follow.
Skills should not just be limited to soft skills. You'd be surprised at how many skills you can develop from whittling, for example. After I completed a few wooden projects, it was very apparent that I unknowingly became much more patient, determined, and willing to attempt large projects at work.
Lastly, have fun! Learning new skills shouldn't be a walk in the park, but it should be fun to push yourself and feel an improvement. I've found that learning new skills, as random as they might be, have had many positive effects in my life.
Now get out there, have some fun, and learn some new skills!
If you found this blog helpful, check out these other related topics:
- What I Learned As An Intern That College Doesn't Teach
- 7 Things to Get You In The Mood For Design
- Getting Out In The Mountains Is the Best Thing For a Creative Person