Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day #10 - Intellectual Goals

Now that we have gotten started identifying personal goals, we can proceed to our second category goal – intellectual goals. But first allow me to share my personal goals with you.

1.     Maintain my current weight.
2.     Begin a new daily routine that includes at least one hour of writing.
3.     Better manage a key personal relationship.

These are examples of what I mean by personal goals. These are areas of my life that I can address without any help from anyone else. They also represent some “whats” that can be approached in various ways. The “hows” will come later. And these could be one week, three month or one year goals. They happen to be my goals for the month of July. Ok - enough about my personal goals.

I have three earned degrees from three wonderful institutions of higher learning. But the most important knowledge that I have acquired was not acquired in any school. I appreciate my education and I gained significant knowledge from most of my professors and all of my schools. But formal education is not the only way to gain knowledge or expand one’s intellect.

That perception is one of the barriers to expanding and reaching our intellectual goals. When we consider subject matter that we would like to access or even master, we are often discouraged because we have neither the time nor the money to go to school. But going to college or enrolling in a formal academic program represents a “how” and not a “what.” Put another way - going to college is one way to accomplish an intellectual goal but it is not the only way to get there.

As long as we are alive we should maintain a list of subjects about which we would like to learn. There may be some language that we want to learn to speak – some technology we would like to master – some part of history we would like to learn about – some dish we would like to learn to prepare. This list should not simply be in our heads. If it is, we will die with most of the items on our list unattained. Rather, we should place our intellectual goals – the list of things that we want to know before we die – in our overall goals. After we make a commitment to them, then we can decide how we are going to accomplish the goals.

Today there are unlimited, accessible ways to learn. There are free online courses, there are books we can read about everything, there are lectures and workshops we can attend, and there are people who are smart and who love sharing what they know. Even commercial television has some shows that are great sources of knowledge about things that really matter. There is always an affordable way to gain knowledge of any subject. There are still libraries that lend books for free. I like YouTube. There are videos that cover every subject I have ever needed to know more about. I also have fallen in love with iTunes University – free courses on every subject taught by real college professors all over the world. I have listened to lectures and taken online courses about philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, religions and communications all while walking on my treadmill in the morning. Not only am I expanding my intellect but also I am actually accomplishing two separate goals during the same time period.

The key is to decide what you would like to know that you currently do not know now. Then write down the three that you would like to learn before all of the others.

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