If you’ve listened to Stimulus, you may be acquainted with emergency department nurse Jose Pacheco. He was the first voice ever heard on the show in episode number one Verbal Judo and more recently Caring for the Unapologetically Unvaccinated. I’ve known Jose for many years, but I learned something really cool hanging out with him recently that I’m going to start applying to my own life. Here’s how it played out…
We were on his porch and I noticed a little birdhouse-like structure for mason bees.
I knew he had been into beekeeping for a few years, so I asked, “How did you decide to get into this?”
I just had to smile at his (unexpected) response.
“Every year, I try to become skilled at one new big thing. One year it was coffee roasting, another axe throwing, then beekeeping, mountain biking, lock picking, breathwork, philosophy, building a monthly men’s group,” and so on.
When you’re in school, you are by default a student. But keeping the student posture or mindset can be hard the further you get in your life and career. Often, you end up just going through the motions. How do you stop that progression toward complacency? One way is by intentionally fostering the student mindset.
Making a habit of learning is a recipe for fulfillment.
The ‘why’ behind having a student mindset is going to be different for everybody. When I asked Jose about this, he said, “Because life is short. I want it to be interesting and I want to be interesting to other people.”
I think it comes down to this: having an internal compass that points toward being a perpetual student keeps whatever you’re doing stimulating and challenging. It’s the antidote to tedium, staleness, and mundanity. It’s a growth, as opposed to fixed, mindset.
So how would you apply this to your own life or work? There’s no one correct answer. It’s whatever resonates with you.
Is it… One big thing a year? A small bit of new knowledge every day? If you’re already an expert in an area, can you be like water and fill the cracks and gaps in your knowledge?
What do you want to learn? It can be weird, wonderful, or seemingly commonplace. It doesn’t matter. It just has to matter to you.