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Can you commit to ‘The 5-Hour Rule’ to guide your lifelong learning?

Commit to 5 hours a week

Dedicating five hours a week to learning creates space for innovation

What is the secret to success used by successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Oprah Winfrey? It’s a system of constant learning called the ‘5-Hour Rule’. Its proponents commit to five hours per week to learning new things. The reason? Lifelong learning boosts creativity and prevents status quo thinking from becoming a routine that stifles innovation and enjoyment.

Benjamin Franklin is said to have followed a similar pattern – he woke up early to read and write, set personal growth goals and tracked the results, and also created a community of like-minded artisans and tradespeople who hoped to improve themselves while they also improved their communities.

Champion martial artist Josh Waitzkin also applies the 5-hour rule to his practice. He says ‘”I have built a life around having empty space for the development of my ideas for the creative process. And for the cultivation of a physiological state which is receptive enough to tune in very, very deeply to people I work with … In the creative process, it’s so easy to drive for efficiency and take for granted the really subtle internal work that it takes to play on that razor’s edge.”

CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, has said that lifelong learning is something that defines him as a leader. “I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things.”

How can you benefit from making the same commitment to lifelong learning? Connect2Classes makes it easy with an extensive catalog of learning experiences and life skills training that can benefit your life including cooking and baking, DIY and home improvement, visual and performing arts, and more.

 

Parenting the Love and Logic Way is a course that gives students proven techniques, exercises, and tips that help kids become more responsible while the whole family has more fun.

Starting a New Business will help jump-start any new business.Generate cash faster and avoid common pitfalls. Start with the right legal, insurance, and accounting knowledge. Learn how to finance your product or service, identify key customers and develop a strong marketing platform.

If you are serious about pursuing an education in wine, Mastering the Art of Wine Tasting is the most important wine class you can take. It is a thorough grounding in the skills necessary to taste wines like a professional.

Or simply click to explore all of the courses offered on Connect2Classes.

 

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Fountain of youth? It lives within your community.

Fountain of Youth lives within your community

Edmonds Community College and Edmonds Arts Festival partnership creates opportunities for students

We’d like to feel younger, right? If you’ve been following the hot new Younger Next Year movement, you know that one of the six ways to stop much of the decay of aging is to get out into your community and join the activity. Studies have shown that people who are engaged in their communities live years (sometimes many years) longer than those who stay isolated at home.

As one Community Education program discovered, that principle is true at the institutional level as well. “We applied the Younger Next Year concept to our entire program,” says Marianne Legg, Program Coordinator for the Community Education classes at Edmonds Community College.

“We used to have our community education offices in the center of Edmonds and were a part of many community events. Eighteen months ago, our building was sold and we moved away from downtown. We felt so isolated,” states Marianne. “We began looking for ways to put the community back into our community education program.”

As the program discovered, seeking relationships in the community rejuvenated their class offerings and they were able to give their students some unique opportunities. And students, who might not have known about the school before, discovered it through a community partner.

As bonus, the community as a whole has benefited from partnerships with the school. Take this spring’s Creating Public Art class, for example, which partners the college’s community education program with the Edmonds Arts Festival to make 4-by-8-foot banners to hang at the festival this summer.

“We were blown away that the Edmonds Arts Festival wanted to work with us,” Marianne enthuses. Every June, this world-class Festival draws around 50,000 visitors to buy art and enjoy free entertainment and great food. “Hanging your banner at this festival is major exposure for anyone interested in a career in the visual arts,” she says.

Students will be able to create their own designs under the tutelage of a nationally-recognized illustrator. They’ll produce six banners which the festival can use for years to come; so, the Festival benefits as well.

“Yes, win-win-win is our goal with these partnerships,” Marianne says. “We feel everyone comes out ahead when we all work together on mutual goals. And our students get opportunities they wouldn’t have without taking advantage of the partnership.”

The Certificate in Event Planning is being offered in conjunction with the Edmonds Arts Festival which offers on-the-job training in organizing a major community event. “This is a fun way to learn the intricate details of community event planning from people with thousands of hours of events experience,” says Marianne.

The planning that goes into putting on an event like this festival includes marketing, artist booths, volunteer management, scheduling, fundraising, a juried art exhibit, a children’s art exhibit, entertainment, catering and more.

Certificate students will be able to pick their areas of interest and work with the directors of those departments. “Because our students are not just volunteering their time but are in an active learning relationship through us, they get an experience that no one else can,” Marianne says, adding, “This really is a great opportunity!”

Marianne notes that while community education “isn’t the literal fountain of youth, it can offer a sense of real community involvement that can help keep our students younger for years to come!”

Register for these classes and more at Connect2Classes.

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Why Making Things Helps Us Thrive

We can all use more things in our life that make us feel happy and fulfilled. There has been a cultural renaissance these last few years as we learn more about what really motivates people. It’s something we nearly lost in our manufacturing-heavy culture: the pleasure associated with making things and sharing one’s creations with others. This is also a business opportunity, so read on if you are intrigued by the idea of turning your passion into an enterprise.

This is a revolution. If you can imagine it, you can make it. And that’s new to the world. – Mark Hatch, CEO, Maker Media

Your Brain on Creativity

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Why does making and sharing things feel so good? It begins with creativity, one of those things that spurs us on to ever greater accomplishments. There is nothing quite like creative experiences to throttle our brains into happier brain chemistry by putting us into the flow states associated with positive psychology. And creative thinking also has benefits in other parts of our lives: it improves problem-solving, big picture and design thinking, as well as collaboration with others.

It doesn’t matter whether you are into art, crafts, DIY, or tinkering, your brain loves to create and rewards you for doing so. The process of creating and sharing your creations releases dopamine, a natural anti-depressant in your brain. Dopamine is the brain chemical associated with reward and the pleasurable sensations that come from it. It’s like we are wired to create. But legions of artists, crafters, do-it-yourselfers and makers could tell you that!

There’s survey evidence to support crafting’s dopamine effect. In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”

The positive effect of creative activities is well-documented in the scientific literature. Creativity and the novel experiences associated with it keep the brain agile and also motivate us. Things as simple as coloring or doodling encourage this effect, but the most benefit comes from ongoing creative pursuits:

Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging. – CNN

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

The following talk by British educator Sir Ken Robinson is one of the most popular TED Talks of all time. He argues that creativity is more important than literacy and that traditional schooling kills creativity. This is especially true now that home economics, woodshop, arts, and music are disappearing from schools. Less young people are learning how to cook, sew, and build via formal education, although classes, camps and after-school activities are filling the gap. Robinson says that our innate drive to create and to embrace trial and error are not valued in an educational system that tries to minimize failure. Creativity also tends to be multi-disciplinary, which is not widely embraced in our siloed educational systems.

DIY & Maker Culture

A major trend the last decade or so has been a shift towards people becoming more and more creative and leveraging that creativity to explore new interests or even launch new businesses. We’re creating handmade and one-of-a-kind items that stand out in the world of mass manufacturing. Some of us are launching businesses on sites like Etsy, an extravaganza of novel items launched from creative brains (which boasts 25 million shoppers). This has been fueled, as well, by the recession economy that has turned so many people into entrepreneurs:

In a world of mass-produced products, modern technology has made it easier than ever for a single individual to create and distribute items that are customizable and unique without having middlemen like manufacturers. This growing shift will continue to affect the economy and will likely have big implications on large retailers. It is a special time in history that will have a transformative impact on our future. – Huffington Post

You might have heard about the Maker movement, a grassroots movement based on the emergence of consumer-level tools for design and manufacturing. It’s reported that 135 million Americans are makers, which is nearly half the population. The maker manifesto calls for making, sharing, giving, and learning. It’s making a difference. MakerFaires are popping up everywhere, and there are other maker-inspired communities and events, as well:

Craft nights are replacing book clubs. Libraries and museums are being turned into “Makerspaces,” physical locations where people can come together to make. The sale of sewing kits in Walmart stores has recently gone up 30 percent. And just last year, someone created Christmas cookies using a 3D printer. – Huffington Post

This has become a major economic phenomenon because of a perfect storm of conditions:

  • Access to increasingly sophisticated tools to create, like 3-D printers.
  • The ability to find inspiration online.
  • Crowdfunding to make your idea reality.
  • Online marketplaces and social channels to get feedback and distribute creations.
  • Inexpensive and effective tools for branding, marketing, and promotion.
  • Learning opportunities provided by other creators.

Boosting Your Creativity and Learning DIY Skills

Albert Einstein said that creativity is intelligence having fun. At Connect2Classes, we are committed to helping our learners explore their creative potential. Creative businesses can be some of the most fulfilling, as well as being lucrative in a world of people looking for unique and one-of-a-kind items. We’d love to hear about how your creative endeavors affect your life – please comment!

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Want to learn how to do something life-changing?
Check out thousands of upcoming classes on Connect2Classes.

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How I found time to learn something new

Time to learn something new

When I was 23 I worked for a software company in Vancouver. We were a bunch of twenty somethings working in a fast-paced environment at a pretty exciting time. The Macintosh had just come out, mobile phones were new and I was travelling 3 weeks out of 4. We loved what we were doing so most us didn’t care about the long hours, days, and weeks. We actually enjoyed working. We enjoyed each other’s company and we made good money.

One day our boss scheduled a Time Management Consultant to come and speak to us. We were all thinking, “Really, how can you get any more time out of us?” Fifteen minutes into the day, the Consultant had me hooked when he asked, “What would you learn if you had time to do it?” I’m not sure everybody had an immediate answer, but I did. I had always wanted to fly. So by the end of the day I was convinced I had the time to take flying lessons. I enrolled within the week and had my license a year later.

What would you learn if you had the time?

The first thing I learned is that time does not come to you, you have to find it and grab it. I was out of town 3 weeks out of 4, but still managed to do Ground School and fly the requisite hours to pass my exams the first time. It probably took me three times as long as others to get my license, but that didn’t matter because I was flying in my spare time.

Learn something new this summer, you will be amazed at how great it feels. Maybe you know exactly what you’d like to learn, maybe not. Here are some steps to help you get there.

  • Think about the things you enjoy doing. Is there something you wish you were better at? Is there something you thought about at one time, but it has slipped away? Is there something that would just make you really happy?
  • Ask yourself what is holding you back? Is it time, money, fear or just that it wasn’t a priority up until now.
  • Do what the Time Management Consultant made me do. Write down everything you do and estimate the length of time it takes you. Decide whether every item on that list is more important than your goal. Figure out how you can combine things, postpone things, or just plain drop some things. I know I could drop a few hours of television every week.
  • Make a declaration! I aimed to have my pilot’s license within a year and I did. Not because it was easy, but because I had a plan to accomplish something I really wanted to do.

By the way, I don’t fly any more, but I have kept learning new things on a smaller level. I take tennis lessons every year, I tried the fiddle, learned Photoshop and did an MBA. Most recently I decided my dog needed to learn some things so we did that together – very satisfying!

I started an education marketplace called Connect2Classes because I worked for an organization that had difficulty publicizing their classes. I had no idea the amazing range of classes offered by local schools and businesses.

If you want to take the plunge and learn something new this summer, here are some ideas. Click on any of the links and you will find classes in all the categories below and more.

Cooking, foreign language, play an instrument, become a photographer, make a documentary, learn to dance, write your life story, learn to program, grow your own food, learn self-defense moves, mix fabulous drinks, relax with Tai Chi, or start your own business. I could go on and on. If you still need inspiration just browse through www.connect2classes.com. You will feel like a kid in a candy store!

Dallas Jasper

CEO Connect2Classes

 

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Be Good to Your Brain: Learn Something New!

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Brain training is big business, with all kinds of brain games touted as a way to help prevent memory loss. But new research shows you might be better off learning a challenging new hobby.

 

To test this theory, Dr. Denise Park, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas, randomly assigned 200 older people to different activities. Some learned digital photography. Another group took up quilting. “Quilting may not seem like a mentally challenging task,” Park says. “But if you’re a novice and you’re cutting out all these abstract shapes, it’s a very demanding and complex task.”

The groups spent 15 hours a week for three months learning their new skills. They were then given memory tests and compared with several control groups.

“Rather than just comparing them to people who did nothing, we compared them to a group of people who had fun but weren’t mentally challenged as much,” Park says. That “social group” did things like watch movies or reminisce about past vacations. Another control group worked quietly at home, listening to the radio or classical music or playing easy games and puzzles.

Park’s research, which was published in the journal Psychological Science, showed that not all activities are created equal. Only people who learned a new skill had significant gains. In fact, the improvements in memory were maintained a year later.

Here are some ideas for classes that can challenge your brain:

  • Learn to use Photoshop: manipulating photographs is fun, but it is also complex and creative.
  • Take up an instrument: If you have always wanted to play the piano or the clarinet, take some lessons. It’s never “too late.” You may find a hidden talent or passion, and either way, you’ll stimulate your mind in a new way.
  • Learn a new language. A 2010 study (Craik et al., 2010) claims bilingualism can delay dementia by as much as five years. To put that in context, the effect on dementia of learning a second language is greater than anything achievable by medicine.

So Vamos a aprender!
Find Classes at Connect2Classes.com