This website is filled with resources and signposts to where and how you could study. There are so many things that it is almost overwhelming. I think that sometimes it is good to work out what you would like to learn first, find your ‘red thread’ as Rosa would say and follow it. Of course you can always just flick through and see what catches your eye!
On the Self Made Scholar blog you can find a list of “The Ultimate Self-Education Reading List“.
The American Scholar by Emerson
Self-Reliance by Emerson
Here are a list of techniques I have found useful:
Setting your compass: A friend of mine once said to me that “we grow in the direction of the questions we ask.” I have experienced this many times over. So what are the questions you would like to grow towards?
Finding your question(s) and your theme(s): One way of working out what you want to learn, is by simply asking What do I want to do? and then What do I need to learn in order to do it? This might be as simple as realising that you want to bake a cheesecake and then recognising the steps you need to take in order to do that – or perhaps your goal is to become a Social Entrepreneur, in which case the steps to get there may be more complicated.
If you can not answer the question What do I want to do? or Who do I want to be? (Who is my Self?) Then these are good questions to start with. In fact if the answers are not clear to these questions, then I think it is important not to rush to finding an answer, giving yourself the time to find true answers to these questions, can be some of the most difficult yet important work and learning that you will do.
Below are some resources that guide people to finding their passion and their task. Flick through them and see what speaks to you. Develop your own methods for finding your Task and your Passion and share them with others.
There are two questions that Otto Scharmer and others ask that I believe to be helpful in finding your theme.
1. What do you love to do?
2. What gives you energy?
Otto Scharmer and the Presencing Institute have developed a set of questions for Journalling that could be useful for finding your focus.
Ask for reflections from other people.
The other thing to remember is that it is not always important fight to find a theme or a question, when the time is ripe it often comes to you. In the meantime, enjoy learning about what interests you in that moment.
Making the most of what’s around you: The world is filled with events, people and resources that you can learn from. Have a look at what events are on around you. Ask people for a learning session around a particular theme, ask someone to be your mentor. Every conversation can be an opportunity to learn. I have often brought the questions I am carrying to someone that I have just met at a bus stop or have asked them around a family dinner. Some of my key insights have come from having conversations with people who would not think of themselves as qualified to help me. Here is a list of Peer Resources, that has information on mentoring and peer to peer learning.
Notice what comes towards you:
Use Alternative Research Methods: My experience has been that mainstream research methods require that we guess what we think will be the results of our study before we’ve even begun. They require nearly all of our ideas to be referenced and sourced from thoughts of the past and it is often assumed that to know something we must pull it apart and dissect it. I am a firm believer that there are healthier ways to come to know and discover something. Alternative Research Methods allow for new and creative ideas to come into being and flourish. I also find them to be much more enlivening.
Pay attention & observe:
The Slightly Different Game:
Explore & Travel: There is so much in a world to explore. Pretend that you are a tourist in your own city. Take a walk down streets of your neighbourhood that you usually never go down. Visit the national parks in your area. Bring a tent and take a road trip – it’s amazing what you can see in one weekend. Travel the world. Use CouchSurf or Airbnb meet the locals and stay at their place.
Volunteer or find an Internship: Take a look around you. Where are the places and who are the people you think your could learn from? Ask if you can volunteer or do an internship there. Be clear in your agreements and make sure that you are learning what you want to be learning from the situation. Otto Scharmer outlines a useful process for Shadowing someone. Catchafire is a New York City Area Volunteer organisation.
Document your Journey: