One Year Experiment

There are only 24 hours in a day. There is no way for you to change that (daylight savings, maybe). We each have the exact same amount of time each day/week/month/year. I’ve come to realize that I don’t use much of my “free” time to the best of my abilities. I want to change that in the next year.

A friend of mine turned me onto something he is doing inspired by http://www.powells.com/blog/?p=24630%3Futm_source%3Dfacebook. He said he could not afford graduate school at this time, so he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of self-guided learning opportunity. As soon as I saw what he was doing, I told him I was in. My wife also said that she is in, at least for some parts of it. Here is the program that I am embarking on with him for one year’s time. I will be updating my blog each week to report what I’ve done, what I’ve learn, and what I failed at doing. My attitude through this will be I want to try each item on my list, and if I fail, at least I tried.

  1. Memorize the names of every country, world capital, and current president or prime minister in the world.
  2. Read the basic texts of the major world religions: the Torah, the New Testament, the Koran, and the teachings of Buddha. Visit a church, a mosque, a synagogue, and a temple
  3. Subscribe to a language-learning podcast and listen to each 20-minute episode five times a week for the entire year.
  4. Loan money to an entrepreneur through Kiva.org.
  5. Acquire at least three new skills during your year.
  6. Read at least 30 nonfiction books and 20 classic novels.
  7. Join a gym or health club to keep fit during your rigorous independent studies.
  8. Become comfortable with basic presentation and public speaking skills.
  9. Blog, create a basic posting schedule, and stick with it for the entire year.
  10. Set my home page to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Randompage. Over the next year, every time you open your browser, you’ll see a different, random Wikipedia page.
  11. Learn to write by listening to the Grammar Girl podcast on iTunes and buying Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
  12. Instead of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, read The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs, a good summary.
There it is. That is a lot to do along with full-time work, seminary and spending quality time with my wife. But I have complete confidence in my ability to try. If I don’t try, I’ve already failed. Tomorrow I will post my book lists tomorrow, and will continue to think about the skills and podcast options. My plan is to start on May 1st. Any thoughts, words of encouragement or  violent objections that you have, please let me know.
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