85. Seventeen thousand days of getting smarter.

A delightful lady named Jane called last week to talk about how The Habit of Continuous Learning had been instilled in her and her siblings from a very young age and had contributed to an inquisitiveness to “learn everything about everything” that still resides in her to this day.

The youngest of three, Jane explained that almost to the day she was able to read and write her parents assembled her and her siblings around their kitchen table and explained to them that they were going to begin a new game in which they were all expected to participate and which would continue for a long, long time.

The rules of the game were simple. Each evening, while sitting around the table having dinner, each member of the family would share one thing they had learned that day and record this learning in a journal thereby opening the door for each family member to learn five new things each day.

Jane wasn’t certain but thought this family game of The Habit of Continuous Learning begun when she was around seven and, she laughingly explained to me, “I am now 54 so I have had 47 years of unbroken, consecutive learning.” She went on to explain that so ingrained has The Habit of Continuous Learning become with in her that not one single day has ended for her without adding one new learning to her journal.

Her goal, she explained, is to edit her journals and select the best “few thousand things I have learned” and publish them in a book which she is planning on naming, “I know more today than I knew yesterday.”

She went on to explain her journals have become how-to manuals that she refers to whenever circumstances require specialized knowledge like “how to get that seemingly irreversible stain out of the carpet or what is the most efficient way of administering CPR?”

Jane has passed this habit onto her own two children who, in turn, have introduced it to theirs.

This unrelenting thirst for knowledge has driven Jane to acquire two advanced degrees and she’s presently enrolled in both salsa dancing and German classes.

When Jane first had a flat tire and required the help of a passerby she immediately took it upon herself to learn how to change a tire.

The day after her television quit working she enrolled in an electronics course and learned how to repair her own TV.

Jane will proudly tell you The Habit of Continuous Learning has never felt like a chore but rather like a mission that can never be fully accomplished but the pursuit of which provides endless pleasure.

The Habit of Continuous Learning makes us better and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge definitely makes us more interesting. How many of you out there will accept this challenge of adopting Jane’s habit of continuous learning – something new every day – for the next 60 days?

I’m going to do this, who will join me?

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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