Last week I had mentioned that being stuck at home during a global pandemic might not be an ideal situation, but we can, if we care enough, use this time to sharpen our skills, read and learn. That we’ve been given this great gift of having the excuse that we don’t have time ripped away from us because we have nothing but time on our hands. We just have to take advantage of it. I mean, it’s not like we have it as rough as Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln, while generally thought of as one of our greatest Presidents, was a self-taught man with very little formal education. Lincoln’s mother taught him to read and he went to school when his father allowed him, but the vast majority of his learning came from the books he borrowed. The problem was that in the very rural and desolate parts of Kentucky and Indiana where young Abe grew up, books were a hard thing to come by. There are countless stories of the future prairie lawyer walking ten miles to borrow a book and ten miles back to return it. Once, a book he borrowed was damaged by fire and he spent two whole days splitting rails to pay for it.
My point in sharing the story of Abraham Lincoln’s education is to point out the great lengths he had to go to in order to accumulate a little knowledge. I wanted to put into perspective the dedication to learning required for someone growing up poor in the early 1800s. Had Lincoln never learned to read, digested so many great texts or learned his skills as a thinker and orator, our nation would have been deprived of a great leader, but no one would have blamed him for it.
Times Have Changed. In 2020, If You’re Still Stupid, It’s Totally Your Fault.
There are thousands of books available online for free right now. Check your libraries and you can digitally borrow just about anything you’ve ever wanted to read. The first book I always suggest is How To Win Friends And Influence People from Dale Carnegie, but I was reminded last week of another hidden gem from ole Dale. If these times are scary for you, check out the classic book How To Stop Worrying And Start Living. Brene Brown has six books with awesome content and my mentor Lance Tyson has a pretty great book titled Sales Is An Away Game. No matter what you want to read, now is the time to read it.
YouTube is a blessing of modern life. Just about any subject that you want to know more about has a documentary on YouTube. There are awesome lectures from the great thinkers, TED Talks from our modern thought leaders and audio versions of some of the world’s greatest books. With so many great resources at our fingertips, too many of us ignore them and watch cat videos instead. If you want to use this time to the best of your advantage, turn your YouTube watchlist into YouTube University learn from the best in the world. At the top of my list is Brene Brown’s fantastic TED Talk The Power Of Vulnerability. If you can dedicate four hours, check out Jim Rohn’s Sunday Lecture. Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, and countless others are all available at your convenience and we have no excuse not to take advantage of it.
It doesn’t matter if they are hard skills or soft skills if you want to learn it, there are courses available online right now. Skillpath Seminars is currently offering its awesome Star12 package for $349 (with a discount code) which provides 12 months of training both online or in person. My good friend Elena Rahrig has hours and hours of awesome content at Transform International and it’s available at $35/mo. If you’ve ever had a skill you’ve wanted to learn or a class you’ve wanted to take, now is the time and we should act accordingly.
My favorite Mark Twain quote and I have a lot of them, is “I Never let my schooling interfere with my education.” School may be closed and we may be stuck at home, but our educational options in this day in age are unlimited. It’s a hard to swallow pill, but the truth is, if you don’t walk out your front door smarter when this whole thing is over, it’s 100% your fault. In the year 2020, we have no excuse to still be stupid. The knowledge of the world is available to us, we just have to go pick it up.