If you’re like me, you spent your COVID quarantine picking up new hobbies and adopting fun new skills.
I learned how to make pasta … and pizza … and sourdough bread (which was a popular one, according to Facebook).
I had tried to learn these skills pre-pandemic, but to no avail. The concepts seemed to foreign–too far outside of the wheelhouse that I had boxed myself into.
And then I tried learning during the quarantine–while I was learning all of these fantastic, happy-making cooking skills.
And guess what? I started picking up the concepts! — and pretty easily at that! It was even fun.
I was constantly getting stuck … constantly going to bed perplexed … but a connection had been subconsciously made in the back of my head that changed the way I viewed the process.
The first time I made pasta, it came out too thick and too grainy. The sauce was chunky and hadn’t developed the necessary flavor.
But I had fun doing it. It was a challenge. It yielded a result, albeit not the intended one–but I could acknowledge the errors in-process and view them not as an impassable wall, but a hoop to jump through–like a game.
The next time I made pasta from scratch, it was passable.
And the time after that, it was delectable.
And now, I think my from-scratch pasta and Bolognese sauce would rival that of any Italian restaurant.
I think that parallel process of learning something jovial like making pasta reconditioned the way I viewed learning high-frequency skills like programming.
It redefined the word “learning” for me. It was no longer a task or something arduous to deplete my free time, but rather a game from which I derive enjoyment.
Now, on the backside of this pandemic, I’ve learned to apply the same mentality to everything I seek to learn and it has decreased the curve exponentially.
I’ve adopted new skills for work and clients in a day, sometimes just an afternoon because learning is no longer an insurmountable task–it’s a challenge and a game that I look forward to.
The fact of the matter is that the world is changing at an exponential rate. Unlike past generations, we (Millennials) and those after us won’t be able to ride on the laurels of a single profession for thirty years until retirement.
Technology is advancing at a rate similar to a downhill train with no brakes.
Not only will we have to redefine our professional identity multiple times throughout our careers … we may even need to redefine ourselves every 3-4 years.
And so the most valuable skill of tomorrow is not programming … or design … or UX … or law … or medicine…
It’s learning. And being able to teach yourself the skills you need to not only survive, but thrive.
And that’s why it’s imperative that learning become a source of enjoyment. A source of pleasure. Something you look forward to at the end of the day … the same way you would Netflix, or video games, or a romantic dinner with your significant other.
The age of the learning revolution is here. Let’s enjoy it.