When I was in college, I chose not to minor in anything. Instead, I took elective classes from as many departments as I could, trying to get as diverse an education as possible. International studies, comparative literature, journalism – I loved dipping a toe in a range of ideas and types of classes.
One of my favorite classes (for my major) was a semester of creating an annotated bibliography. We didn’t write a term paper, but spent just as many hours – if not more! – in libraries, researching and analyzing books. I loved the process and the gathering of information. Plus, working in libraries housed in medieval manors just sweetened the experience.
As StrengthsFinder describes, the Learner
…does not necessarily mean that you seek to become the subject matter expert… The outcome of the learning is less significant than the “getting there” (pg. 133).
It’s true. I love the process of learning. At work, I thrive when I go to conferences or on our professional development days. I seek to become better, and that means participating in discussions led by experts and keeping myself informed.
As a stay-at-home mom, it means reading books and articles that make me a better parent – not just about parenting but about the values I want to instill in our daughters. If I have a policy question, I’ll find a book. If I wonder about certain ethics, I’ll find a book. I so often read nonfiction, that I’ve had to make a conscious decision to balance my fiction picks.
This is an interesting strength to combine with Intellection, as one seeks to delve deeply and become an expert while the other focuses more on the journey, rather than the outcome. If a topic strikes a chord, I’ll read book after book about it.
One summer, I read as many books as I could about food – where it comes from, why we eat the way we do, how we can do better. Since then, our food choices have changed. We’re by no means perfect but all that reading and research changed the way we relate to food.
When we became parents, I read parenting books. Not necessarily What to Expect how-to types, but experience books: Raising girls; the French way of parenting; the history of parenting.
When I get excited about a topic, I want Frank to join in. I’ll set aside books for him to read, as well, hoping that he’ll become as passionate about change as I am. He rarely reads along, but is happy to hear me process my findings. I’ve learned to not get frustrated by this. We’ll never have a book club, just the two of us.
Right now, I’m learning about the balance of princess culture, about glorified presidents, about schools and success. As a learner, I also need to monitor my social media intake. I only put twitter on my phone when I want to read the news in real time. I often take Facebook off for stretches. When I see something interesting, it’s hard not to fall down the rabbit hole of article after article, so I’m learning to become pickier with the information I consume.
What about you? Do you like the process of learning or do you like the final outcome? How do you balance and weed out all the information we have?
This post is Day 12 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.