“The process for finding, creating, and consuming information has fundamentally changed with the advent of the web and the rise of blogging.”
Okay, cowboys and cowgirls, it’s time to round up the resources. Gather around up here at the corral. Do you want to be happy? There are so many resources that can help you do that.
Here is what I am little bemused by, as I talk to people during my travels around the country speaking and training. People ask me all sorts of questions, such as:
- You own your own business; how would I start a business?
- How would I become a professional speaker?
- How could I become a professional writer?
- How could I get published?
It’s just interesting to me that people ask these questions, and I guess they don’t know about the amazing resources available today – and all so easily obtained.
When I was a kid, if I had to do a report or author a paper for school, guess what? I had to go to the library and look at books and look at the Encyclopedia Britannica because we didn’t have any at home. That was, I admit, 50 years ago – I am 60 now – but the world has changed in remarkable ways in terms of access to information. In today’s world, there is so much information available to us. It’s extremely exciting!
We no longer must go to the library, although to be clear, I do love spending time there. The smell of books makes me happy! I love spending time in bookstores, too, and they are a wonder to me. But we don’t necessarily have to go there now.
I want you to think about the resources that are available to you to get information, inspiration, and achieve your goals and drive new levels of happiness.
Here are just a few resources to consider:
Web search engine. Just think about the vast and amazing universe of resources we now have for getting information. Think of any topic you want to learn about. Now you can go on any search engine and put in a search term and find many useful resources:
- White papers
- PowerPoint decks
- Online learning sites
- Thought leaders
- Facebook groups
Often in a topic search in any search engine, millions of results come up. I just looked up “how to be happy,” and I was presented with more than six million results. “Happiness” garnered a whopping 970 million individual results. You will be amazed at how many resources are available out there, and most of them are free or inexpensive. As Steve Ballmer said, “The No. 1 benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense, it is all about potential.”
Online Learning. There has been an explosion of online learning, and now there are many popular online learning websites. There seems to be more every day. Here are just a few:
- At the time of this writing, I have three training programs on Udemy. Udemy has more than 100,000 courses that you can search for by topic and 24 million students. They often have discount promotions on their programs, and there are many free programs. Each program is purchased separately. The website is udemy.com.
- If you have a certain level of membership on LinkedIn, you can use LinkedIn Learning at no extra cost. There are more than 13,000 courses on LinkedIn Learning, and they are searchable by topic. The website is linkedin.com.
- Skillshare. At the time of this writing, Skillshare has 25,000 classes and more than five million students. Skillshare tends to skew their programs toward the more creative aspects of business (such as graphic design). Skillshare has a slightly different model others in this list; you pay a single monthly fee and can access any program. The site is com.
- Mindvalley has programs on productivity, mind and spirit, health, relationships, and career. Mindvalley is different in a big way; they offer longer, more intensive programs that are 30 days, and you take one program a day for more in-depth learning. My wife and I have taken a few of the Mindvalley programs as students and have been impressed. www.mindvally.com
- While it is not technically an online learning site, I often find many great instructional videos on YouTube. I did one search for public speaking and thousands of instructional/how-to video clips popped up – many of them by well-known experts. Some are five minutes long, and some are as long as an hour and 15 minutes! Did I mention that they are all free?
I have only outlined a few here. There are hundreds of online learning sites and many run by companies and leading universities around the globe. Just search and find out which ones work for you.
Associations. If you want to learn about a topic, find out what associations are the leading ones for that industry. More than 30 years ago, I moved my career from sales to training. I researched the associations known within the training industry. I found the main training association. The results were: 1) I found they had conferences every year where I could attend and learn all about training and meet other professionals in my industry, 2) they had a monthly magazine about training, 3) they had many publications and white papers for sale, 4) they had exclusive research available to members, and 5) they had a local chapter in my area that met monthly. These are resources I wouldn’t find otherwise.
Find a SME. There are a lot of knowledgeable people in the world who are subject matter experts (SMEs) in specific industries. The industry knows that they are SMEs or thought leaders. Find out who those people are. I have found that most people are willing to help you if you ask in the right way. Tell them what you are trying to learn and ask them for 30 minutes of their time by phone. You can email them, call them, or contact them on Facebook or LinkedIn. Find these people and tap into them as a resource because people can be a huge resource for you in terms of their expertise, experience, and background. Plus, they often know of other resources. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.”
The library. I know a lot of people don’t go to the library anymore (too bad), but there are a lot of wonderful things now at the library. First, they have a lot of free lending library eBooks. You can download a book electronically from your local library without having to go to the library itself. But the other thing is that there is a person at your local library who is a research librarian. These research librarians are experts, and they’ve gone to school to do what? To learn how to do research. This is what they specialize in. If you go to your local library and talk to a research librarian and say, “I’m researching this; what would you recommend?” They will find resources for you! They’re just an amazing fountain of knowledge regarding a particular topic that you’re looking for. As Henri Frederic Amiel said: “Everything you need for better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you must do is go to the library.”
Books. Books and guides are interesting because with books you can go all the way back literally from the beginning of time. There’s the wisdom of the ages where you can learn from different people about different topics. A few months ago, I was sitting with my Kindle doing a quick search and found a book by Stephen King about writing. I’d heard about the book many times. Stephen King is sharing his expertise with us in book form. We can’t meet with him in person (he is too busy), but we can learn from him. Try to find different books that are available, different eBooks that are available. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn from reading books by experts in different areas. As René Descartes said, “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”
Happiness is not going to run up to you on the street and say, “I have been looking for you, here I am!” and give you a hug. You must seek it, work it, study it, and find it using resources. Look at what you want that will make you happy and go for it. The great news is that today is the best time to be alive because finding it is so much easier!
“At the end of the day, you are in control of your own happiness. Life is going to happen whether you overthink it, overstress it or not. Just experience life and be happy along the way. You can’t control everything in your life, but you can control your happiness.”
To learn more about happiness, read Shawn Doyle’s book Jumpstart Your Happiness.