Hi, my name is Anne and I’m a recovering edu-holic.
I’m addicted to reading, learning, courses, credentials, anything with a syllabus, merit badge, gold star or that might result in a new strange combination of letters at the end of my name. If I’m not doing these things, I am researching these things for….for I don’t know why.
It’s been over 5 years since my last credential. At the end of 2013 I got twitchy about that. I’d participated in webinars, courses and conferences but it didn’t feel enough. I was about to spend a lot of money to take a test and get a credential just because I could and felt I should. Not because I deeply wanted to.
At best that’s nonsense. At worst it’s crazypants.
I took a deep breath and walked away.
I declared (to myself) a moratorium on professional development without a personal connection for 2014. I decided to learn, read, and study purely for the joy of it- not for approval, credentials, recognition or because something would make sense on my LinkedIn profile.
What a relief!
(OK, to be fair, I still LOOK at courses and certificates and degrees, etc. But, I have given myself a break from the suffering and frenzy that can come with it. That’s progress.)
A few weeks ago I signed up for my first MOOC (Massively Open Online Course)- The Science of Happiness through the Greater Good Science Center. We’re studying happiness, connection, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, reconciliation, mindfulness, and gratitude from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course draws on neuroscience, evolution, physiology, complexity, anthropology and psychology and sprinklescphilosophy, religion and humanities throughout. More relates to evaluation and the conference our program is having on Collective Behavior than I anticipated or intended. Oops! These things happen.
Each week we’re invited to try evidenced-based practices to increase our happiness. Putting research into practice? Yes, PLEASE!
Through the course I found out that KindSpring was starting a 21-day kindness challenge on October 2nd. I signed up for that too. Why not? It’s a way to strengthen kindness muscles and find new ways to be kind with a group of people. For Day 1 the kindness challenge was “Pay forward a surprise treat”. We left a home-made banana muffin and note for our postal carrier.
It doesn’t matter what course is. It could have been sewing, or watercolor painting, or a foreign language, or astronomy or ancient Greek literature or swimming lessons.
The point is that we ought to give ourselves a break from achievement and learn for fun more often.
Right now I’m selfishly studying happiness to make the world a better place.
It doesn’t have to make sense.
It’s fun. It might make a difference.
That’s good enough.