Peter Madrid

Focus on passion, then learn it, live it

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The expression “It’s never too late to learn” rings true these days as Americans struggle to find a release for everyday stress and worries.

We all have passions, but sometimes not enough time or energy to learn something new. How many times have you talked about learning to play golf, take piano lessons or sign up for a salsa dance class?

Identifying your passions is the place to start, says author Mary Bartek.

“Finding passions isn’t hard to do,” she says in a story posted on “It just requires that you do something you may not have done for a while: Think about yourself.”

If as a child you enjoyed tumbling class, she says, an adult dance class may be the answer. If once you wanted to be a veterinarian, rediscover that passion by volunteering at an animal shelter.

Yolanda Kizer, president of Casa Fenix Enterprises, says as a young person she liked to dance. Now a business woman who runs airport retail shops, she has rekindled a past passion by taking Zumba dance classes. She also has taken up yoga and meditation.

“Learning something new is important these days,” Kizer says. “With the way the economy is, there’s a lot you can do to help deal with stress. I got into exercise about three years ago. I learned Zumba because it helps so much.

“Look things up. Get on the computer. Read books. Talk to other people. Learn to be creative,” Kizer says.

Nachie Marquez was a diver at Arizona State from 1981-85. She maintains a healthy lifestyle by running each day. But she wanted to learn a new workout regimen so she began a home weight-training program.

“I added to my passion to staying fit and staying active,” says Marquez, director of Communications and Public Affairs for the city of Chandler. “I subscribed to health magazines, got some ideas and cut them out. I read other people’s stories and did some experimenting on my own. It got me excited for fitness again. All of a sudden, purchasing the weights was exciting. I was trying something different and I spiced up my (workout) routine.”

How do you get started? Once you’ve found your passion, find the time and the proper resources, Bartek says. Want to join a book club? Call the local library. Want to take an art class? Call the local community college.

Soliciting support is also important. Let friends know about your plans. Look to your spouse for support as well.

Whatever the passion, Bartek adds, her advice is the same: Find it, live it, love it.

8 ways to enrich your life by learning something new

1. Ask: More than anything, asking questions is the No. 1 way to learn more.

2. Read: Every day. If you have dead time, you have time to read. With the wealth of knowledge available online, there’s never an excuse not to read.

3. Search: Chase down answers to your most basic questions. No question is so small that it doesn’t have an answer worthy of you.

4. Slow down: Stop running so fast. If you jump straight from the bed to the shower to the car to the office, you’re moving too fast to uncover the questions that life presents – much less their answers.

5. Listen: Active listening promotes learning every single time we practice it. Active listening to music or nature will not only slow you down, it will teach you
something new about the sights and sounds we often take for granted.

6. Meditate/reflect: Believe it or not, some things can’t be learned from the Internet. Some answers can only come from the inside out. Taking time to be still and pray/meditate/reflect is one of the best gifts you can give yourself – and it will make you a better learner.

7. Look: Look at things from different perspectives. If you’re accustomed to seeing something close up, look at it from far away. When was the last time you used a microscope or a telescope?

8. Taste: One of the most enjoyable ways to learn new things is by taste. Some of the most fun can be had by trying new food with a group of friends.

– Posted by Ryan Stewart, July 9, 2007, on Reprinted with permission.

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