Learn in 2014: Master the Skills You Want This Year

learnin2014It’s that time of the year again, when we bid adieu to the old and usher in the new. The New Year brings with it new resolutions, new cheer and new reasons for celebration. What better way to celebrate than to dig up those old dreams, all those things you wish you’d done, and get going! There’s never a better time to start learning, than now! Yes, I keep telling myself that each year, but things seem to be coming together nicely now with 2014 just around the corner.

Learning keeps the heart and spirit young. It helps expand your horizons. It pushes you past limits you never thought were possible. It builds that confidence, that belief in yourself, that you can, still, do anything you set your heart to. At the same, it helps to keep things simple. Time and again, we’re reminded that it’s the simple stuff that matters. You don’t need to make grand plans. It’s okay to pick a few things that you really want to do, and just start with those.

My learning list reads more like an endless scroll. But here, I’ll give you a sneak peak into my Top5 learning list – a few simple, and evergreen skills I want to master, infact, I think these may quite be atop most people’s wish list.

1. Learn Music

Nothing quite soothes the soul like music. To be able to create it yourself, is a rare, exquisite pleasure. To be able to express oneself through music, is priceless. It’s seems quite daunting at first, all those reams of music scores, looking like scribbles on the lines. But if you apply yourself, it can be quite rewarding. First you’ll need to understand some basic music theory. Ofcourse theory by itself is no fun. Personally, I’d like to learn to play the guitar. There is just something so warm and soul touching about the way the strings play out. What’s your favourite music?

2. Learn Yoga

Yoga is for the body, what music is for the soul. We’ve all tried different workout regimes. We’ve tried multiple gyms, and perhaps even tried personal trainers. But doing weights in the gym, just doesn’t cut it for a lot of people. Some people, like me, just want to be fit. Yoga is an awesome way to overall fitness. It is perfect for those looking to exercise without the sweat and turmoil associated with gymming. It doesn’t stress or punish your muscles. In yoga, you gently stretch, and then slowly strain your muscles. Yoga exercises are meant to train both body and mind. Hype aside, it is pretty simple to learn basic Yoga poses. You have to focus on your breathing, and make sure you do the poses right. It also helps to understand the purpose or the intention behind each pose – which aspect of your mind, and which part of your body are you working, and why. Investing in a good Yoga course is essential. Done properly, it can help you learn to control both your body and mind.

3. Learn Photography

How often have you looked at that amazing picture on some website, or even your friend’s facebook page, and been transported into a totally different space? I bet you’ve found yourself wishing you could capture moments as beautifully. It’s not as difficult as it seems. You don’t really need expensive equipment. A basic photography course should be enough to get you started. Just understanding the fundamentals like the right composition, the rule of thirds, the impact of ambient light, can go a long way towards making your photographs awesome. Once you get good at the basics, you can try out your hand at specialisations like Food photography, or perhaps even Wedding Photography. Who knows, this could be your first step to being a professional photographer!

4. Learn Basic Programming

It’s not news anymore. We are in the digital age. Every other person is creating their own website, and even their own app. I hate being left behind. Don’t you? So what if you didn’t learn programming in school. It’s never too late to start. Today, there are many tools to help you create your own website or app with very minimal programming skills. You can create a gorgeous photography website in minutes, and then gloat about it to your friends! If you’re adventurous perhaps, you can explore actual coding, starting with say a simple language like Ruby. Learning is it’s own reward, but when you see your own website or app or code out there, being used by other people, that’s a different feeling all together!

5. Learn to be Happy

It’s easier said than done. Everyone wants to be happy. We struggle. We pursue. We’re always searching for the elusive happiness. But we rarely stop to feel, to experience. The pursuit of happiness, is amongst the most difficult in the world. It’s a bit like a dog chasing his own tail, in circles. You can’t quite pursue happiness. It’s a choice you make. It’s a state of being you have to actively choose. It means prioritising what’s really important to you, and letting go or not stressing about the other things. Again, that’s more easily said than done. Perhaps a course, or a coach, to help guide you on how to actively choose to be happy, may help.

Though that’s just a Top5 learning list, you can see that it opens so many more doors. They are all linked. A fit body and mind, make a person happy. Pursuing hobbies helps you de-stress. Pushing yourself beyond your limits, mastering new skills, builds confidence.

Learning is always on-going. Infact, with the world around us changing so rapidly, we are forced to learn new things everyday. So perhaps for 2014, instead of learning just one new skill, it might be a better idea to master the art of learning!

What do you think? What are you going to learn in 2014?