Ep.22 Tom Vanderbilt - The Beginners Mind: How to get out of a rut


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When did you last learn to do something totally and utterly new? Tom Vanderbilt, author of Beginners: the Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, was awestruck by his young daughter’s insatiable need to know how to do almost everything. He was inspired to embark on a year of learning purely for its own sake.

Tom had a truly unique year - a circuitous journey of learning, in which he attempted to learn chess, singing, surfing, drawing and juggling. These skills were chosen on the basis of difficulty and lack of marketability.

Close encounters with scorpions aside, Tom found that his new sense of curiosity opened him up to a profound happiness and a deeper connection to the people around him. By reinventing himself in small ways, life began to seem more magical.

In this episode Andrew and Tom talk about just why it is that so many of us stop learning new skills as adults. While we’re encouraging our children to be adventurous and to try new things, are we ourselves afraid of failure? Have we forgotten the pleasure and rewards of starting from scratch?

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