How to be smarter, keep learning & change the world

Being a person of depth is a quality that we should all strive for. Why? Because people who are deeper than surface level are more attractive, interesting, powerful, and better contributing citizens. Why would you want to be like that? Why wouldn’t you? The more you know about the world, the more doors you open for yourself. Most would probably agree that the less you know, the more you’re limited. Below is a list of suggestions to help you move away from shallow and towards depth:

How to have Depth:

Learn geography! This is the best way to get your head out of the selfish mentality and learn about other cultures. Check out our previous article on the importance of learning about geography.

Watch TED talks. TED talks present novel ideas and intriguing ways to think about things. They have a huge variety of topics that will educate you, and open your mind to beyond your perception of the world.

Listen to the top stories. Yes, the news. So many people don’t like the news, but knowing what’s going on in the world is crucial for being able to connect with people on topics of importance.

Actually try to learn in classes, not just retain the information long enough to get an A, then move on. They teach you these things for a reason–and if you actually learn, you can add that information to what you already know, and use it again. They call it “wealth of knowledge” for a reason!

Read non-fiction. Of course any reading is great, but putting some effort into biographies, how-to & self-helps books, or opinion essays will improve your ability to understand complexity and make it easier to grasp difficult concepts.

Go to things. Go to conferences and cultural events. Force yourself out of your comfort zone and work on being well-rounded. Learn to appreciate music, dance, and politics. This also helps you meet people and make connections.

Work on your talents. Work hard to develop the things that come naturally to you, then use them to help people. Not only does service look great on resumes and applications, but it makes you feel great and puts you one step closer to influencing the world for good.

Listen to people around you and think about what they’re saying. Doesn’t matter if you’re part of the conversation, or if you’re just overhearing, or watching a YouTuber! Be silent and just hear what people are talking about. Listen to their opinions and ponder how you feel about them, and how it fits in to what you already know.

Form opinions and nurture ideas. Decide how you feel about things. Having your own informed opinion is what makes you, you! It is what keeps you from wafting around in the world and depending on what other people can impress upon you. Come up with ideas and think about them, instead of dismissing them.

Learn to discuss respectfully. Our views of topics and issues are allowed to change. Don’t let people tell you they’re not. Letting the things we think become molded by interactions is what creates change. Learning other points of view and being able to see different sides of an argument is the only way to be able to get enough information to have an informed opinion.

Put your money where your mouth is. You should invest in your ideas and opinions and do something with them. You can have a gym membership, but if you don’t use it–what good does it do?

A little analogy as to why this is important:

Trees have roots. If their roots are too shallow, they are easily felled by storms and overcome by harsh weather. Trees with deep roots have strong foundations that keep them firmly planted in the ground. They also are able to reach the rich nutrients that lie beneath the surface and drink from the purest underground streams! Be the tree with deep roots!

Photo credit: Vanessa Lynn.

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