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Dear Friend,

I have always loved reading. My parents would often hear me say “Can I just finish my chapter?” only for me to forget my self-imposed limit and read 3 more (chapters that is). This love of books and words has literally followed me throughout life and I happen to think reading is one of the greatest skills I have… but I’m a little biased. Anywhoo, my goal this year is to get started on becoming a well-informed individual. To do this I have put together 5 rules … well I guess they’re rather like steps to becoming a genius. Or at least the 5 steps I’m trying to take in my attempt to make people think I’m a genius… whatever description works best for you.

1. Listen

Keep your ears open for new information! One of the best ways to learn is to talk to others. Experience, passions, these all help people stay informed So talk to others about what makes them “tick.” They will have knowledge stored up that they are more than willing to share. Why are they so eager to share, you ask? Because they are excited about it, and they want you to be too, so keep your ears open and ask those old people at your church what makes them excited about life. (It doesn’t have to be old people at church, it’s just that they have lots of life experience and therefore lots of good stories to tell)

2. Look It Up!

If you’re having story time with someone and they make a reference you don’t understand, or want to know more about you have two options. (A) ask them about it  (B)make a note of it and look it up later! I happen to prefer the later because then I don’t have to interrupt the story, but still get to gain the knowledge. You also get the opportunity to get led on a path through the world, seriously, once I started on one page of wikipedia and would read the article and click on the most interesting looking link until I got to the point that I was learning about the study of words… and at that point all of the links go in circles. One of the best ways to start this particular path of awesomeness is to look up today’s date (not including the year, of course).

3. Be Diligent

This refers, of course, to following the news. This one is the hardest for me to do, because I don’t know what I’m looking for! I guess the point isn’t so much that I find anything in particular, but rather that I’m looking and learning along the way. (I’d be more than delighted to find links to great news sources in the comments… which ones are your favorites?).

4. Try Something New!

This is probably the hardest for me to get myself to do. I tend to like routine and admittedly I can get myself stuck in a rut, but have no fear! I’m determined to do new things. Whether it’s learning a new skill, or visiting new places (like the MIDDLE EAST!!!) it will happen. After all, if you don’t try new things, then you might not discover some of those passions that I mentioned in #1, you know, the one’s that make you WANT to learn new things.

5. Read Widely! (This One is My Favorite)

This is the easiest part of this plan of mine and that is to read widely! To get myself excited and with a plan I went to Goodreads.com and created a book list! Below is the link if you want to see what I hope to read in the future, and on the sidebar you can see what I’m currently reading. I’ve got books about people I’m interested in/inspired by, feel good books, more serious topics, you name it, it’s probably there. Check it out!

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/14036542?shelf=to-read