The essence of life is growth.
Typically, when the topic of "Education" comes up, conversation centers in on how the cost of a formal college education is spiraling higher and higher earth every year. But this is a narrow-minded way of looking at the world. In reality, education is more accessible, more practical, and cheaper than ever thanks to the ways the internet has evolved over the last decade. A person’s ability to self-educated and cultivate the skills that matter the most to them has never been greater.
The internet has evolved into the single greatest collection of human knowledge the world has ever known. Every single person can tap this knowledge using no more than their cellphone.
As a creative, there’s never been a better time to be alive in all of human history.
Creatives need to be able to follow their instincts and their passions. To be inspired and challenged is essential to finding fulfillment in your work. But without growth, without trying new things, your drive can go stale. Even worse, your “why” can get lost in the growing tides of monotony.
The key to keeping your edge sharp and keeping yourself motivated is to continually push yourself beyond the boundaries that hemmed you in yesterday. To learn. To seek knowledge and apply it using your own perspective and life experiences to create something unique. Something singular.
Now, you probably know all of this on some level. A reminder is helpful, but if you aren’t already actively seeking ways to grow your own knowledge base and build your skills, then it’s probably not enough.
In my experience, if you aren’t engaging in ongoing self-education, it’s for one of three reasons.
- No time
- Can’t afford it
- Don’t know where or how
Let’s tackle them one-by-one.
No one ever has time for ANYTHING any more. There’s no time to go to the gym, there’s no time to call your parents regularly, there’s no time to learn to code, there’s no time read a book. We’re all just too busy! The truth of the matter is this: the only way you will ever have time to learn a new skill is if you make time. You have to be intentional and plan your schedule ahead of time. Sit down and make a list of what is most important to you, then plan out blocks of time to focus on those values. I hear people talk about getting “distracted” all of the time in today’s age of smart phones and constant notifications, but when I ask them what they got distracted from they can’t tell me. You have to have a concrete, intentional plan for your time or else you’ll just build feelings of frustration toward the distractions without a way to constructively deal with them. On top of it all, modern technology allows us to learn in bite-sized, self-directed chunks completely at our own discretion. You don’t have to have a 3 hour block of time to dedicate to learning a new photography technique. 20 minutes is more than enough.
Can’t Afford It
I get it - prices and cost of living are skyrocketing right now (thank you, Federal Reserve) and for many people, wages aren’t rising quickly enough to keep up. But you shouldn’t look at self-education as an expenditure. You should look at it as an investment in yourself. Forget stocks, mutual funds, and gold. In life, the best thing you can possibly invest in is yourself. As long as you do a good job vetting the resources ahead of time, nothing will give you anywhere near as high of an ROI in the short-term OR long-term. But even if you truly have zero disposable income and are just struggling to make ends meet, you still have options. There are plenty of resources out there that offer legitimate value and are completely free. Cost is no true obstacle if you’re serious about your own personal development.
Don’t Know Where or How
Now, this one is actually a decent reason. But fortunately for you, I can help! Here are a list of resources, materials, and blogs to check out that I can personally recommend. Most will be free - and I promise that any that aren’t free are REALLY worth the price.
Great Resources for Creatives
For Indie Artists & Producers
For Coding / Programming
For Design & Branding
For Writing & Blogging