How a Hobby Can Improve Your Life

Learning Language Can Be A Good Thing

For many of us, the reason that we want to change our life is because so much of it is stale. The everyday fact of doing the same thing again and again, and having a set routine, means that if there is anything that gets us down about life, it will be a recurring pain for us. To make our lives more enjoyable, what we require is a bit of a shake-up. Changing things around will give us something to get excited about and look forward to. Even a simple break from the norm can make a big difference.

Taking up a hobby is something that people often do to bring a bit more interest to their lives. What that hobby is, is truly limited only by our own imagination. What do you enjoy? If it is something that lends itself to a daily routine – or a weekly one – then it can be introduced into a pattern. Hobbies are alive with variety. All that matters about a hobby is that you find it enjoyable. Aside from that, the world is your oyster. But if it is something that you are taking up in order to introduce an aspect of fun to your life, you should make sure it has some sort of shelf-life.

One hobby that people like to take up is learning another language. When we are in school, it is often obligatory to choose a language as one of your elective subjects. Depending on where we are in the world, there may be a specific language that is compulsory. In Canada it will be French (or for French Canadians, English). In the US, it will often be Spanish. If we are not of a mind to enjoy school, we can come to associate a language with the boredom and restriction of a classroom. But often, once we have left school, we regret not having paid attention.

It may be directed towards future holidays in the country whose language you are learning, it may be directed towards being better able to understand a friend who speaks it as a first language. Or it may just be for the fun of it. Learning another language – off your own initiative – is a beneficial process. It allows you to exercise your brain, and makes you more receptive to the process of learning. When we have sought out an opportunity to learn, it is much easier to follow the learning process than if it is forced upon us.

In learning another language you learn so much more than just the words and the rules of the language. A language is formed by the culture in which it has arisen. So by learning the language you learn a lot about the people who speak it and the country or countries where they live. There can be a lot of secondary learning opportunities. Early on in a subject’s vocabulary you will learn about food, for example. This can play directly into learning about how to make the dishes whose names you have learned. So by learning French, you will learn French culture, French cuisine… the options open up the longer you go on.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on May 1, 2009.

Dancing: An Alternative To The Gym

Take The Floor and Take Control

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you; it’s basically impossible not to be aware of the fact. We’re all constantly told how exercise helps keep us not just healthy in body, but also in mind. There is seemingly nothing that exercise cannot do for us. Yet there is one drawback; for the vast majority of the population, exercise is boring. Endorphins created by exercise may make us happy, but few are happy at the prospect of exercise and are positively bored throughout almost any exercise routine or gym class.

 Yet the benefits of staying fit and active are clear for all to see, so the problem presents itself in that we should all be exercising – but we don’t really want to. Gyms and the like have tried incredibly hard to keep their exercise areas entertaining and stimulating, but unfortunately it still always feels like uncomfortable work.

 Thankfully, there are ways that one can get that ever essential exercise without being bored or frustrated. The answer is surprisingly simple: dancing. With television programs such as Dancing With The Stars, and the UK version Strictly Come Dancing, populating television screens – dancing has been receiving something of a boost to its public image. Rather than being seen as passe and full of overly made up women, it is now genuinely being treated as a real sport which requires time and dedication to perfect.

 What’s more, dancing is absolutely fabulous for burning calories. Obviously, to get the maximum effect from dancing, learning to dance fast and energetic dances is the best way to go about it. Dances such as the salsa, with fancy footwork and complicate arm movements, are ideal, as are old classic favourites such as the jitterbug and lindyhop. Salsa lessons in particular are a real favourite, and ironically classes are frequently held at gyms – the very industry they are taking customers from.

 Slow dances, such as romantic waltzes and sultry foxtrots, are also wonderful exercise – particularly for the older generation. Performing and rehearsing these more sedate dances is wonderful exercise, though without the intensity – and immediate calorie burn – of dances like the salsa. However, they have plenty of benefits themselves and if done for longer than one would traditionally have a salsa class, are just as beneficial.

 The wonderful thing about learning either slow or fast dances is that boredom is unlikely. Firstly, you are engaging your mind and instructing it to learn – usually following the steps of an instructor, and then constructing routines of your own. Also, unlike the gym, when dancing you are unlikely to be focusing on the idea of keeping fit and in shape; your mind is distracted by the steps and the fun of the dance itself.

 Dancing is the perfect alternative for those who find the gym dull. You can learn to dance at numerous registered classes, or even if your own living room – try copying the routines from Dancing With The Stars, or from your favourite pop videos. The important bit is the activity and raising your heartbeat for maximum physical benefit; how you do that is up to you, so dance away.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on April 19, 2009.

Barriers to Personal Development; And How To Overcome Them

Personal Development Obstacles Come From Your Own Mind

We have said a lot in the past about how personal development can be a long journey, and how the first step on that journey can be the most important one. It is completely natural to be somewhat daunted by the idea of making that step, but it really just makes it all the more worthwhile. The bad news is that even once you get going on the road to self improvement, you will still encounter difficulties. These difficulties may well lead you to question whether it is worth persisting with your personal development journey, and they must be given short shrift. It certainly is worth carrying on, you just need to find a way to make it easier.

It may be that you have skeptical people around you. This skepticism may well not be about you, or your ability. In all likelihood, if the skeptical people are friends or family, they will have plenty of faith in you. What they doubt is more likely to be the validity of your chosen method of self-improvement. They may even utter vague remarks like “You’re just fine the way you are”, in the belief that they are helping. Although we all like to hear affirmation, chances are that you’re not doing it for them. This is your own personal decision, taken for your own reasons, and what you need is encouragement. Your friends will understand and appreciate this, if they are good friends. They will make every effort to encourage you and see things from your point of view.

Occasionally, the obstacles will come from your own mind. It takes a very strong person to take a decision that they are going to change their life, and it is no admission of weakness to have doubts even once that decision has been made. When those doubts come it is a test of your resolve, and if you can face up to them it will make you all the stronger and more ready to deal with whatever life is going to throw at you. All of us have doubts at one time or another. It is in powering through these doubts that we learn more about ourselves, and grow as people.

We may also encounter unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances which make it hard to continue with our personal development. These are the only cases in which it may be advisable to step away from your plan for a time. If you fall ill, have a family crisis or lose your job – or something happens which is similar to these circumstances – then it may actually be detrimental to your self improvement to try and forge ahead regardless.

This relies on you using your own judgement and there is a very clear difference between an excuse (which sees you using a minor problem to step off when you are bored with your project) and a reason (something which clearly interferes with your plans, may well be traumatic and needs to be dealt with on its own merits). You need to give yourself the best chance of completing your project, and if this requires a temporary hiatus then that is something you should not be afraid to take.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on April 12, 2009.

Learning: The Never Ending Journey

Education – Not a Duty, More a Worthwhile Pursuit

Many of us, while at school, required every parental trick in the book just to get us to attend. There are many reasons why we often do not want to go to school – from simple, innocent ones like just wanting to stay in bed or have a day at home to more worrying ones like bullying at school or difficulties with the work. Either way, it is a rare child indeed who goes from day one of their schooling to the final day of high school without having a single day where they just didn’t want to go. The first rung of the education ladder where it becomes a true case of self-motivation for many is when college comes around – and for some people th  at day never comes.

Some of us never go to college or university. Sometimes that is through choice, and sometimes it is a matter of circumstances dictating that we cannot go. There is no reason that a person who has not been to college should not go on to thrive in the workplace anyway. If you have skills that are not particularly suited to the more academic field then there is no harm to proceeding in a world that does not require a college diploma. The trick is to know where your talents lie and play to that. However, education is not limited to your childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. You can take up a course of learning at any time.

If you are often complaining of feeling bored or unfulfilled, the reasons for going into some kind of education are all the greater. It does not even have to be for any loftier reason than for your own enjoyment. Learning something just for the sake of it is a real kick in itself. In fact, looking at things from the point of view of an adult who has been through the school system and didn’t much care for it can remind you of the value of knowledge. Many of us didn’t want to go to school because we didn’t see the point of it. Often a child will not, because they lack the overall sense of perspective that a few decades on this earth provide. You may not have wanted to go to school, you may have played truant a few times or played the sick note more than once, and that’s fine. It is when you are an adult that you begin to wish you had paid a bit more attention.

More than anything, learning something new is innately thrilling. It challenges your perceptions, it increases your understanding of the world and it gives you the chance to build your mind. Being a student again, and actually being there because you want to be, allows you to approach things with an open mind and be a more receptive learner. Back at school, you will have had a million other things you would rather have been doing, and you were still trying to make sense of the world. Having that bit more experience allows you to see education for what it is – fun and worthwhile.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com. This article originally published on the above website on April 9, 2009.

Putting It On Paper Can Solve Your Problems

Make a List, Prioritize  Your Life

 If you are dissatisfied with your lot in life, it can seem like a fairly daunting prospect to just decide that you are not going to stand for it anymore and make a change for the better. Where do you even start? It can seem like the hardest part of all is just to make sense of everything. Few of us are lucky enough to have just one problem, which if it is fixed will iron everything out and give us a simple life. One problem seems to lead to another one, two matters that are interconnected can each seem to complicate solving the other, and unravelling them can be so daunting that people give up on ever changing anything and just resolve to make the best of their lot in life. This is however not the best option to take. Unless you attack problems at the source, they will continue to make life difficult.

Approaching a personal development plan is daunting, yes. But when you sit and think about it, how wonderful would it be to be able to say that you are tackling your problems head on? There is a cliché that says that getting started is half the battle won. The reason this has become a cliché is because there is more than a morsel of truth in it. If you want to tackle your problems head on, then the best first step to take is making a list. What is it that you want to improve about your life? Do you want to give up a bad habit that is dragging you down? Is it a personal relationship issue? Is it a financial worry? These are just three sides to the issue of personal development, and there are certainly several other categories into which problems can fall. Your instincts will tell you which ones are your key issues.

When you put something down on paper, it makes it easier to isolate what exactly the crux of the problem is. Don’t limit it to a few words, write down everything that the problem makes you think and feel. Then isolate the key words in what you have written. Think about how you can address these problems. Evaluate different solutions and look at how each one will affect you. This will help you identify where you might end up swapping one problem for another, and allow you to take the solutions on their merits.

It may make for a harrowing experience, seeing your problems written down on paper. But both symbolically and psychologically it can make a real difference. The problems are no longer only on your mind, they are down on paper, and what you have in front of you is a battle plan, or game plan. You cannot defeat an enemy that you cannot see, but once you can see it, it becomes solid. And nothing that is solid is invulnerable. It makes a big difference to be able to see where you can attack a problem and once you do it, you will feel a whole lot better. It would be simplistic to say it will be easy sailing from there, but you will at least have steadied the ship.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Mar 30, 2009.