In the 21st Century, we are often a bit spoiled when it comes to education. Given access to a wealth of information and skill sets that in past generations would have required years of study and a fortune in tuition costs to acquire, we need only discover what we are passionate about to move on to new and exciting horizons of learning that will make us into the most popular person in any room.
Indeed, few individuals with an interest in the personal computer boom of the 1980s could have dreamt of a time when watching a lecture from Harvard University, learning a new instrument, and learning a magic trick from Penn and Teller could have been accomplished in a single afternoon. Indeed, whether it’s with the aid of smartphones or with the time-honored traditions of our local schools, we are now only limited by our imaginations when it comes to accomplishing exciting new goals. Here are just a few ways to develop a sparkling set of life-changing talents in the information age!
Stand-Up Guys and Gals: The Art of Comedy
If you’ve ever wanted to be the go-to person for friends who need cheering up, or if you’ve ever wanted to leave people laughing so hard they can’t breathe, you may be interested in the exciting world of stand-up and improv comedy. The art of stand-up and improv comedy has become more accessible in recent years due to an enormous amount of resources becoming available online, particularly as industry greats have taken their wisdom to social media and Youtube. If sketch comedy is your passion, the availability of online tips from members of improv groups like the Groundlings, whose alumni include Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, and Phil Hartman, can prepare you for an exciting new world of comedic skills. Whatever your interest, now is a great time to catch the comedy bug and wow new and old friends!
The Art of Magic: A Surefire Way to Delight Our Social Circle
Image Courtesy of Vanity Fair
Whether it is humanity’s age-old fascination with illusion or the wonderful experience of seeing new and exciting developments within an ancient art form take shape, magic appears to be as exciting as ever both in popular media and in the social lives of its dedicated practitioners. (Pro tip: a good set of magic skills is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to turn total strangers into new friends.)
Perhaps no skill set in the world can count more passionate affiliates among its base than that of the bona fide magician, whose code of honor is a cross between the samurai and the alchemist. (Second pro tip: be aware that trying to work out the secrets of the world’s greatest magicians can quickly become a lifelong passion and an introduction to a vast world of new friends.) In the United States alone, the art of magic has been raised to a stunning level of perfection by famous magicians ranging from Harry Houdini to Penn and Teller, and the information age has made it easier than ever to learn from the greats. A cursory scan of Youtube and other video sites will give the aspiring magician hours of entertainment and potential for in-depth learning, and few people can find a type of work that is as satisfying or as social as that of the illusionist. Indeed, anyone who has ever been a bit shy about approaching others may find their confidence levels boosted by the positive manner in which magicians are received, and anyone who has ever been in a boring situation knows how quickly smiles appear when a good magician enters the room.
Computer Coding and Website Design: When Fortune Awaits
Gone are the days when the aspiring computer coder needed to lock themselves away in a library for thousands of hours to learn the arcane and often intimidating secrets of computer science. There are hundreds of sites on the internet offering free tutorials for programming languages such as Python and Java and just as many sites teaching the craft of website building. There are even resources on using Elasticsearch for data analytics. Now, the opportunity for an aspiring computer scientist to create their own business or aim for recruitment by companies such as Facebook or Google has never been easier. Unlike similarly financially stable professions like law or medicine, a degree in computer science is by no means a requirement for working in the tech industry, where initiative and experience count for more than a degree. In fact, now is a fantastic time for self-starters to teach themselves a skill set that will not only impress potential clients and employers but will also help friends who need a career-boost with the design of a stunning website or app to support their dream job.
Lock Picking: Or How to be the Most Useful Person in the Room
Image courtesy of Positive Security Perth
Anyone who has ever been in a jam involving a tricky lock or a missing key knows the inestimable value of someone with lock-picking skills. Whether it’s fixing a jammed door at work and showing the boss that we’re dedicated employees or helping out a new friend when they’ve locked themselves out of their car, a person with the ability to pick a lock helps people to be more productive and safer! Thankfully, the secrets of the locksmithing trade have never been easier to learn, and being the indispensable friend that everyone turns to in times of emergency is a surefire way to being both popular and helpful.
The Guitarist: The Art of Winning Friends (and Making Music)
One of the most rewarding skills a person can develop over the course of their lifetimes lies in the development of latent musical talent. With guitar stores now competing for customer dollars online, it’s easier to score a professional-level guitar for a great price, and with a veritable wealth of tutorials online for honing guitar skills at anywhere from a beginner to an expert level, becoming the life of the party or camping-trip has never been easier. And don’t let the prospect of learning a new instrument intimidate you! As anyone who has ever learned Bob Marley’s discography will tell you, some of the most popular songs in the world are comprised of the same three chords, meaning that even a few hours of learning will have you playing your friends’ favorite tunes.
If the guitar seems a bit too formidable to start with, there is always the option of picking up a ukulele for even less than the cost of a good guitar. The smaller, more user-friendly alternative to a guitar, the ukulele has fewer strings and less tension on the fretboard, meaning that you’ll be playing new songs within an afternoon. Bonus idea: many companies are currently selling “guitarleles,” smaller versions of guitars that still retain the basic structure and six-strings of the larger instrument. These models are an excellent introduction to the world of guitar without the expense or finger-strain!
How New Skills Can Change Our World
As human beings, we are naturally drawn to people who are able to successfully develop new skills, just as our lives are often improved by taking on new skills ourselves. Whether it’s in the picking up of a new instrument or in learning a stunning magic trick, mastering the learning process of a new skill set with the aid of online lectures and tutorials or the local community college can bring new and exciting opportunities in life. For many people, the results can be completely life-changing!