Learning JUST for fun

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.

Kindness matters

 

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.

Yes, I’m still eying the John’s Hopkins data science specialization through Coursera so I might finally learn R.  But not this year.

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.

 

 

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Small Kindness

I’m on a trip doing important evaluation business.  Yesterday morning before leaving for what I knew would be a long and also enjoyable day, I left a tip for housekeeping with a note that read:

Thank you for making this a more beautiful, peaceful and comfortable place to be.

Housekeeping staff have an under appreciated and difficult job.  My sister used to be the front desk manager in a hotel and I’ve heard the stories.  I hoped a note of thanks might brighten someone’s day.

When I returned to my room, this was waiting for me:

Unexpected rose

Unexpected rose

Maybe it was “give every guest a rose day”.  I don’t know.  But I was touched and so pleasantly surprised by this small, generous gesture.

This morning when I left a tip for housekeeping I left two notes.  One said,

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds around my neck. ~Emma Goldman

and the other said:

Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. ~Alphonse Karr

When I got back to my room today, I found this:

Two roses?!  Wow!

Two roses?! Wow!

Two roses in my room! Now, I am pretty sure today is not “give every guest two roses day”.  I’m going home tomorrow (weather permitting), so this little quotes and roses exchange will come to an end. It seems to me that someone, or maybe multiple someones and I have had a lovely exchange.  This is a small kindness I will not forget. In the book of things that matter in my evaluated life, this is an important impact.

Now I’m off to find parting quotes for tomorrow. Any ideas?