Curiosity, Ambition, and A Life of Learning – a Challenge!!

learning for life challenge

When I started writing this post over the weekend, it was just a standard post.  Then I got to thinking about it more and more and decided to jump into something feet first with you guys. I am over the top excited today to reveal a summer challenge that I want all of you to do along with me.  Before we get to the details, however, a little background.

When I was working in the corporate sector, I started getting this super strong desire to learn things – anything, really, that wasn’t part of my day to day job.  Maybe it was that I had enough distance from formal schooling or maybe it was just trying to break out of the mundane day to day routine of work, but it all started with this blog. 

Four and a half years ago, I threw myself into learning about blogging.  I read HTML books, taught myself photoshop, and all of the other necessities that went along with running a design blog. As this online world became more and more familiar, I started looking for a new challenge.  I turned to language learning; learning the conversational basics of Mandarin, German, and a few other languages.  I had stints learning about yoga, meditation, and even surfing (which, unfortunately isn’t sustainable, living in Ohio).

I used to think that I was trying to fill a void – that maybe there was something missing in my life that needed to be replaced.  That thought scared me.  It made me think that I was trying to cover up for something or compensate for some deep feeling of inadequacy. As I’ve grown more as an adult however, I’ve realized that I’m not searching for anything that I’ve lost, I’m on a quest for learning.

As we get older, and further from our days in school, I think it simply becomes easier to fall into routines where all we see and experience is our own little world. Things that happen outside of our direct line of sight seem more and more foreign and the world starts to feel so big.

Every time I start to see myself loosing sight of the giant scale of opportunity that’s out there, I decide to tackle a little piece of it.  Teach myself something new, meet some new people in the process, and keep my mind learning about all of the amazing things that exist outside of my backyard. I think it’s essential to maintain an open mind and to see other perspectives that can so easily be lost when we get too comfortable with the status quo. You don’t have to be trekking across another continent or anything, but even small steps – like my weekly Skype with a friend in Europe helping me learn Italian – teaches us more than just the subject at hand… it teaches determination, patience, and humility (because butchering the italian language to a native speaker is certainly humbling).

Whether it’s learning a new skill like a language, or a game, chess, a hobby like knitting, or even a sport like the golf I’ve been trying to learn (much more practical than surfing) I feel like that push we give ourselves to discover new things and grasp a new skill not only keeps our minds alive, but helps us to flourish.

So, today I’m so excited to invite you to participate in a new kind of challenge.  I want to know what YOU’RE excited to learn about and then, I want you to tackle it… and document it. I want each of us to learn something TOTALLY new. It can be big, it can be small, it can be whatever you want.  Throughout the next 12 weeks of summer (until Labor day), we’ll have several ‘check-ins’ where I’ll show you how far I’ve come with the hobby I’ve chosen and I’d like to see how far you’ve come as well.  You can post about your #earnestchallenge if you have a blog, you can post about your #earnestchallenge on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest or Instagram too… Anyway you like to share, I want you to share with me and with the Earnest Home community!

This week, we’re figuring out what skill, hobby, sport, or game we are going to learn and sharing with the world. This Friday, I’ll be revealing what I’m going to spend a little time over the next few months learning.  Here is the schedule so you can play along:

Earnest Home Summer Learning Challenge (aka #EarnestChallenge)

Friday, June 12th – Reveal your skill!

Let us all know what you’re going to be challenging yourself to learn this summer.  It can be anything big or small, but it HAS to be something you have no experience with. Even if it’s something you can’t really tackle in just 12 weeks (like mastering mandarin) this will give you a jump start! Think of it like your very own version of MTV’s Made.

Monday, July 6th – Show us your progress!

It’s just been 3 weeks, so it’s still early, but we want to see how it’s going! Snap a photo, a video, or just give us a little update on your blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.  Use the hashtag #earnestchallenge in all of your posts so we can see!!

Monday, July 27th – Halfway there!

You’re halfway through the 12 weeks!  Show everyone how far you’ve come with a new post!

Monday, August 17th – You’re crusin’ now!

It’s likely that you’ll be pretty great at your new skill.  Give us a little peek into how it’s been going.

Monday, Sept 7th – Sound the trumpets!

The challenge is over, but maybe you’re not.  Show us how far you’ve come and what’s next for you.  Share and struggles or roadblocks you hit along the way and any triumphs you’ve celebrated!

If you’ve gotten all of the way to the bottom of this post, you deserve a gold star.  I am SO excited to see what you all come up with and see your progress throughout the summer.

If you have ANY questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll get to it asap!


photo: death to the stock photo

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