Henry Ford once said, “anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Throughout my career, I’ve had the good fortune to work with and learn from many wise, talented professionals. Many of my colleagues shared their technical knowledge and productivity tips, while others offered wise advice. A mentor shared a memorable tip: Learn at least one new skill every day.
Every day? This sounds like a lot of hard work and dedication.
Who has the time?
There are 1,440 minutes in every day. With roughly 480 of those minutes allotted for sleeping, that leaves us with 960 minutes for working, playing, cooking, socializing, cleaning, shopping and, if Ford is correct, attempting to “stay young.”
Is it realistic to learn one new thing every day in those 960 minutes? It depends. If we’re talking about learning a new skill, the current consensus is it takes around 20 hours of your time. If you want to master that skill, many say it takes at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. But what about learning one new bit of information every day? A new term, a recipe, or a concept? As a “Googler”, I am constantly searching for answers and information. But, can I really learn something every day? The benefits of continuing learning.
There are many obvious benefits to learning. Learning can make you more conversational, improve your ability to work with trivia teams and help you move up in your career. According to one survey, 54% of employees said it’s essential they get training and develop new skills throughout their career to keep up with the changes in the workplace. You can stay relevant to your employer by continuing to grow your skills. You will also be more marketable in job searches and adaptable.
Continued learning also creates a sense of accomplishment. According to Vanessa King, positive psychology expert at Action for Happiness, “Learning can help us build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. It can also help you connect with others. As human beings, we have a natural desire to learn and progress.”
Did you know that continued learning is also good for your brain? According to Dr. Kathryn Papp, neuropsychologist and instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School, “Cognitive and social engagement have been shown to be protective against cognitive decline, whereas hearing loss, depression and social isolation are associated with cognitive decline.”
The Global Council on Brain Health, an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, scholars and policy experts from around the world, agreed that stimulating your brain through various intellectual activities (e.g. Yoga, yoga, photography, gardening, learning new languages, volunteering, and many other intellectual activities can help stimulate your brain. provides benefits for adults’ brain health and can impact how well your brain functions.
Learning new skills is good for my career and can increase my confidence. It also gives me more things to talk about. Yes, please! Please sign me up.
Where to start? One thing you’ll quickly discover from an internet search is the seemingly endless number of resources available for self-learning. There are articles, websites, apps and podcasts to help begin and guide your learning journey. While researching this article, my colleague challenged me to document my self-learning and put my money where it matters. To keep myself honest, for 30 days, I’ll take a moment each evening to reflect on something new I learned that day. For those who are interested in starting their own challenge, here’s a list of tools and resources that I use and some thoughts about them.
“Learning something new is fun.”
Day 1: I wanted to start my learning exercise with something fun, so I downloaded the Popcorn Trivia app for my phone. Although I didn’t retain much of my three-part “Bring It On” trivia session, I noticed that I had missed some answers because I was too fast. This lesson will be a learning experience.
Day 2: Found out today what a Spotted Lanterfly is and what I’m supposed to do if I come across one. It’s worth reading if you live in the northeastern U.S. )
Day 3: I went down a complete garden rabbit hole today trying to learn about the Morning Glory Vines overtaking the fence of our new home. Some people view them as beautiful, while others see them as an utter nuisance. I am somewhere in the middle, but expect to spend a lot of effort and time keeping their growth under control.
Day 4: Switching gears today. Adobe Premiere Pro has been a while since my last significant use. Although it has been a bit like riding a bicycle, I have noticed some keyboard shortcuts that have changed over time and others that I don’t know. I will always remember Option + delete to ripple delete as a time-saver.
Day 5: I’ve been casually in search of a beach cruiser bike since last summer, when bikes were somewhat impossible to find. Although I was told there was a delay because of the pandemic, I assumed that the supply would soon catch up to the demand. Since I still can’t find one in the box stores near me, I decided to do a little research. “Some industry estimates project it will be 2023 before inventory gets back to normal levels.” Yikes! It seems like I might be walking around the block a little longer.
Day 7: How to make a natural vinegar weed killer: “A general recipe is one cup of salt, one tablespoon of dish soap, and one gallon of vinegar,” says Eva Reutinger, a horticultural consultant. (Not saying this is in any way related to Day three’s research…)
Day 8: You would probably not guess this looking in my closet but there was a time, as a teenager, that I devoured the contents of fashion magazines, especially anything to do with Chanel. Seeing “Chanel-esque” tweed jackets popping up all over the place, I couldn’t remember the name for the style (it’s boucle). That started a search that led me to the history of the boucle jacket and Chanel’s use of tweed.
Day 9: Maybe I was inspired by reading about Coco Chanel yesterday, but I signed into my Duolingo account today for the first time in almost a year. I downloaded the app for my phone in 2016 and made some progress in the French course but am back to basics again. J’apprends le francais.
Day 10: I spent a good amount of time today looking for local newspapers currently in circulation. I admittedly discover most breaking news online but, having learned a bit about local journalism and storytelling in college from the late journalist Tom Bigler, I am always drawn to and appreciative of news I can physically hold and dive into.
Day 11: I spent two hours on Tik Tok today. Two hours. This was actually research for work, believe it or not. (Unapologetic plug — check out Inside Verizon on social!) Although I don’t know how long it will take me to remember the #FancyLike dance and what happens when you freeze honey, I do know that I have some knowledge. On my side of town, when the sun goes down. )
Day 12: Today I watched LuLaRich on Amazon Prime, a fascinating lesson about greed, the power of social media and multi-level marketing.
Day 13: When it comes to gardening for the first time, I’m not sure which has been more overwhelming – sorting through plant options at the local nursery or selecting gardening apps on my phone. I was able to identify two Norway Maple trees in our backyard using the Seek app but I have a feeling I’m just scratching the surface with these apps.
Day 14: Scrolling through TikTok this morning (Again, research for work. I promise!) and came across this video about hold music. Spent the next 30 minutes reading about Opus No. 1 , I spent the next 25 minutes reading about 440Opus No.
Day 15: So, geography is truly not my strong suit. Today I spent some time learning about the locations of cities in California. Let’s just say that I thought the capital of California was a bit further south than it is.
Day 16: Checked out Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day:
Fulminate means “to send forth harsh criticisms or insults. “
Ex: People sure do love to “fulminate” about the fashion at the Met Gala on Twitter.
Day 18: A map of the human brain? Science is awesome.
Day 19: A while back I started researching my family tree on ancestry.com. While I can trace my family back hundreds of generations on one side, it is only possible to trace my roots back to my great-grandparents on the other. Each new piece of information brings up a few new questions. Today, I discovered a family tree that was created by a distant cousin. If his information is correct, today I found out the name of my great-great grandmother.
Day 20: Who doesn’t love a morning smoothie? Learned one new recipe today but am saving the others to try in the future!
Day 21: Highly recommend my colleague Dave Boerger’s article about blockchain. I found the security aspect very interesting and learned a lot.
Day 22: I had an in-depth workshop today on the Degreed learning platform. A session on a learning platform… meta.
Day 23: I know everyone is probably sick of pumpkin-spiced everything, but I came across a baking hack that is pretty great for those of us trying to watch our calorie and fat intake. Pumpkin is a pretty delicious substitute for oil.
Day 24: Many years ago, I signed up for a daily email that would tell me what to wear based on the weather forecast for the day. Although it may sound silly, for someone like me who doesn’t get up in the mornings, it saved me some time. Although I have not received these emails for some time, I still miss them and decided to check if the service is still available. From a search, it seems like those services were more popular 5-10 years ago. I did find a website that might be a nice resource going forward.
Day 25: As part of my learning exercise, I’ve been listening to ‘Skimm This’, a weekly podcast by The Skimm, which “breaks down the most complicated storiesof the week and gives you the context on why they matter.” It was an ad this week, rather than the content, that brought me to some new info. I discovered an interesting project called The Happiness Lab and a podcast episode called You Can’t Always Want What You Like featuring Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos. The science behind stalling fascinated me as a daily procrastinator.
(Note: I am also bookmarking some articles on “flow” and positive psychologistMihaly Csikszentmihalyifor later. )
Day 26: As an extension of yesterday’s daily lesson, I signed up for The Science of Well-Being, a course on Coursera also presented by Dr. Laurie Santos. It promises “a series of challenges designed for increasing your happiness and building more productive habits.”
Day 27: I have not watched an episode of Squid Game yet but did learn about making Dalgona today. I’m not sure if I’m daring enough to give it a try but I’ve enjoyed watching all the attempts on the internet, including our own team’s effort.
Day 28: I learned so much from the extraordinary women featured on today’s Women’s CoLab Launch Event. One very specific takeaway was from the Ambition Challenge Exercise with Coach Cloe Caron from The A Effect. These five tips to overcome self-doubt are great reminders.
Day 29: Learning continues, even on vacation! In Las Vegas to celebrate my sister’s milestone birthday, we took a stroll through the Antique Mall of America. We had a great conversation with one of our vendors, also from the east coast. In our conversation, I mentioned that I was born in Brooklyn. By the time we were ready to leave, he had set aside a book about Brooklyn from 1920-1957. I read the first chapter, but it was the first page that I learned about the Society for the Prevention of Disparaging Remarks Against Brooklyn. By 1946, it claimed 40,000 members!
Day 30: On a former trip to Las Vegas, I was so mesmerized by the strong scent in the Aria lobby that I wound up doing an internet search to see if anyone had an explanation for it and have been captivated by scent marketing ever since. The conversation came up again on this trip and I was able to find the name and makeup of the scent.
Day 31 (Bonus): My biggest takeaway from these past 30 days is just how many nuggets of information I learn on a daily basis simply by looking up a bit of trivia on my phone or searching for how to do something on my computer. There seems to be an article, podcast, or video about every topic. I am regaining appreciation for technology and the knowledge that is available to me. Also, the benefits of continuing learning. My next challenge for myself will be to spend 30 minutes every day focused on developing one skill.
Take your own 30 Day Challenge to learn something new every day and make sure you tag Inside Verizon so we can follow along. Do you want to take on the challenge?
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