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7 Benefits of Learning Something that Doesn't Interest You

photo of Asian cliffside monastery © Katherine Broadway

Last December, I was checking Facebook and saw one of the new live chats pop up in my feed. WRAL-TV anchor David Crabtree and my friend, producer Stephanie Beck, were taking questions from viewers. One viewer asked what tips they had for an aspiring news reporter. Crabtree’s answer, while directed toward a student in the journalism field, can teach everyone an important lesson about life.

He suggested that while in school you:

“Take a course in a subject that you have absolutely no interest in and master it very quickly…. As a news reporter, at the morning meeting, you are thrown into a story. You have no idea what the story is or even what the subject matter is. You have to learn it very quickly, immerse yourself in it, master it and tell a cohesive, cogent story by the end of the day. If you have trained yourself by learning something you have no interest in you can transfer that into your work.”

His words resonated with me on a number of levels, so much so that I’m sharing them with you six months later. When I began this blog, this was a project that I had no interest in or desire to do. I embraced it, though, and today you’re reading my 100th entry.

Doing something I was not interested in doing has taught new skills, revealed new interests and allowed me to learn quite a bit about myself.

We all have to do things we are not interested in, don’t care about, or even want to do. Through the process, you will learn many new things, and pick up a few unexpected perks as well.

Benefits of learning something you are not interested in:

1. It creates a more interesting life. In the process, you will discover new ideas and knowledge. Many times you will find that it will lead you to things that you find interesting.

2. It makes you a more interesting person and maybe even a fascinating person. You will have many topics of conversation and interest to share with the people around you.

3. You will meet new and interesting people. Because you have a wider range of interests, you will be able to connect to and talk with a wider range of people. You will make new friends.

4. It deepens our character and builds self-esteem. The way to feel better about yourself is to do things that make you feel proud. Accomplishing a task you do not want to do and learning something new both feel good.

5. It makes you stronger and less afraid. Many times you do not do things that need to be done because you feel afraid and incapable of accomplishing the task. Learning something you are not interested in or something you do not like builds confidence in your own ability to stick with a task until the end.

6. It stimulates your brain, leading to more creativity and new ideas. At first, you may have to work hard to think of new things to learn, but as you continue to grow you will discover you have more interests than time to indulge them.

7. You will find that doing the necessary tasks of life are not so daunting and hard. You will develop the Nike skill: “Just do it.” You will put less energy and time in dreading a task and just get it done.

8. Some of life’s greatest surprises, joy and entertainment come from opportunities we would never have chosen. We find parts of ourselves that have been hidden. In the end, they add quite a bit of depth and color to our lives.

You may wonder why you cannot make yourselves do things you need to do. Many times, it is because you have not trained yourself to do the work necessary to discipline yourself to continue working when you want to stop. You do not know how to finish a job when it becomes “boring.” You spend your time fighting the anxiety of not doing what you need to do. This creates discouragement and dread.

The Beginning

When you begin a project, break it down into small pieces. Work, rest, reward, then repeat the process. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in 10 or 15 minutes, even if you still don’t want to be doing the task.

One last very important element in this process is to reward yourself along the way. Encourage yourself and remind yourself that you are doing a good job and that you have an important goal. You are working to make yourself feel better and to make your life more interesting and satisfying.

Are you finding it hard to find something to learn or after you start you struggle with finishing a project? Having support can be helpful? I will support and help you in your journey. Call me at (919) 881-2001.

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