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Photo: Thomas William on Unsplash

Learning is fun.

Wait, give me a chance before you go. I’m sure many of us have less than fond memories of “learning” while at school. If this was the only time you learned I completely forgive you for thinking of learning as drudgery.

I’m thankful friends introduced me to subjects not covered in school which required me to figure out how to learn on my own. By doing this, I discovered a life-long hobby with endless potential — as a bonus, it may also help keep my brain healthier for longer.

Cognitive calibrations aside, I’ve discovered my passion to learn is an asset — especially as a recent graduate. Our workplaces are in a constant state of flux and change faster than we’ve seen previously. A direct consequence of this is the need for all us to continually update our knowledge and learn new things. …

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Photo: Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

“All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Being a beginner in a new skill is hard. We often feel overwhelmed at how much we still have to learn. Especially if we haven’t properly broken down our skill into subskills, it can seem we’re attempting to summit Everest without any gear.

When I want to learn a new skill, it’s usually because I’ve watched all the cool stuff someone better than me can do. …

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Photo: Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

“Most work is boring, but focusing is incredibly meditative.”

-Adam Savage

There’s a dirty little secret about work that very few people acknowledge — all jobs have tedious parts at least some of the time.

The notion of the dream job has become so popular that sometimes we forget that work is, well work. If we go into work expecting it all to be fun, sunshine, and rainbows we’ll be disappointed. It turns out, regardless of our occupation, many of our tasks will be tedious. …

“Everything you possess of skill, and wealth, and handicraft, wasn’t it first merely a thought and a quest?”

Rumi Jalalu’l-Din

I’ve fallen in love with the ethos of craftsmanship. From a young age, I was surrounded by master craftspeople. Some examples include the nearby Amish communities, master woodworkers, and teachers who expanded my understanding of the world and what was possible.

Although people usually consider craftsmanship reserved to skills which usually fall under fine arts (e.g. blacksmithing, woodworking, leatherworking, etc.) it really belongs to any keenly refined skill. …

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Photo: Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash

Exhausted, demoralized, and wanting to stop a small voice cries out to us. “Take a break, you deserve it and have worked hard.” The small voice is our desire to rest. It’s a tricky voice because we rarely hear this voice when we’re fully engaged and energized.

Instead, rest calls to us when we’re at our weakest. If we’re trying to improve ourselves and push beyond our limits, exhaustion is inevitable. Sometimes, we need to rest. Often, we need to dig deep, double down, and press ahead.

Procrastination is a powerful adversary. It’s the master of rationalizations, justifications, and changing appearances. …

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Photo: Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

-Robin Williams

Creativity and madness can be closely linked. Vincent Van Gogh’s life is a prime example of this interconnected nature. He was viewed as a drunkard, insane, and altogether a blight on many people’s lives.

People argued that his works were proof of his insanity, especially when combined with his behavior. Although people of the time weren’t able to appreciate his work, he preserved. Vincent kept creating because he had to, it was a part of who he was and how he understood his experience.

Thankfully for us, his works survived and improved with time. We now regard him as a revolutionary artist and a talent that may never come again, should Doctor Who have its say. …

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Photo: Vincent Nicolas on Unsplash

“Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not.”

-Uncle Iroh

Navigating life is difficult. As we start out our own journey, we realize that we’ve been given a map with no legend and no compass. It is our responsibility to fill out the map as we go through life.

Invariably, we have to make choices as we explore the world around us. Some choices will be good, more of them will be bad. A decent chunk of our bad choices will lead us to suffer. When we first encounter suffering we will feel pain and hesitation.

We’ve been taught to avoid suffering from a young age. It’s reflected in the advertisements we see, the messages we get from friends and family, and in our brain’s hardwiring. …

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Photo: Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

“It was bitter work, but the results were worth it.”

-Avatar Roku

I’ve always been fascinated by the work of skilled craftspeople. They are experts of making something absolutely beautiful out of simple material.

It’s clear that they’ve developed and honed a very specific set of valuable skills. Although craftsman may invoke images of woodworkers, bladesmiths, or similar professionals, I think there are more craftsmen then we often think.

I would consider a mathematician deriving an elegant proof, an organizer uniting a divided community, or an inventor finalizing a world-altering invention in the same light.

It’s often easier to see the elegance and skill of craftsperson who works in the trades as their work is very concrete, but the craftsperson label applies to all who push their chosen craft to new heights. …

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Photo: Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

“There is no such thing as a free lunch”

When I was younger, I didn’t understand this quote at all. I thought that it was just something that jaded, bitter adults said. As I’ve become older, I’ve started to realize the value in this statement.

Many people choose to interpret this negatively. In most cases, they’d be right to view it within a negative light. When people say this to others it’s often to imply entitlement. Like with all things, this is but one way to view the quote.

An alternative way to view this quote is an assertion of value. I love food and think that lunch is a great meal. In some ways, I’d love for lunch to be free every day. Between my currently meager stipend and lack of creativity, my lunches usually leave much to be desired. …

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Photo: on Unsplash

I know what you’re thinking and I promise I haven’t gone mad.

Several people I know do everything in their power to avoid public transportation. The reasons range from logistical ones to their personal misgivings from a bad experience. While public transportation can be uncomfortable or unreliable at times, overall it’s a relatively mundane experience.

Public transit’s mundane nature is a fantastic incubator for creative thought. One important way this is accomplished is through spontaneous interactions with people from a myriad of backgrounds and beliefs.

An important component of creative work is the unique combination of novel experiences and ideas. It’s impossible for us to live through all combinations of these experiences; however, we’re given a small window into different beliefs and lifestyles when commuting together. …


Dallas Blowers

I’m a nonprofit professional who’s deeply passionate about effective learning, self improvement, and chasing my curiosity wherever it leads.

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