Barbara felt trapped.
She was a second lieutenant in the US army and found herself stuck. Being a second lieutenant required her to enroll in a mathematics electronic training program to learn new technology.
But math and science were never her strongest subjects growing up, so when she took the mathematics training class she finished at the bottom of her class.
The officers who finished above her were all in demand and had promising careers ahead of them.
Barbara knew if she stayed in the army she would always come in last place and never get ahead.
She also knew if she left the army entry-level administration jobs were the best she could find. No business was jumping at the chance to hire someone with a BA in Slavic language and literature.
Barbara had to make a change. She would need to reinvent herself if she wanted to find success in life outside the army.
So Barbara used her GI Bill money to return to school with the intention of mastering math and science. She mastered math and science by earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. She also earned a doctorate in systems engineering.
Now Barbara Oakley teaches a popular online course on learning how to learn. She teaches people the methods she used to learn math and science. She has also written a book A Mind for Numbers, which is a companion to her online course.
I love Barbara’s story! It shows that you can reinvent yourself when you set your mind to it.
If you feel trapped and like life is not going your way these 5 simple tips will help you reinvent yourself and start you on the path to lasting change.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
The best part about Barbara’s story was she made the decision to change. She asked herself, “What do I need to do to become the person I want to be?”
And once she had her answer she moved with intention. Math was hard for her, and she struggled most of her life to grasp the concepts but when she set the intention to master math. It was tough at first, but she stuck it out.
She made a plan and followed it.
Being intentional means you consciously choose your thoughts, your perspective, and your attitude. Nobody ever makes a lasting change without setting the intention to change.
In order to reinvent yourself, you need to ask yourself, “who do you want to become?”
And when you know who you want to be you can move with purpose and put a plan in place.
Being introspective and intentional go hand in hand when you’re reinventing yourself. Being introspective can start you on the path of understanding yourself.
To become introspective, spend time examining your thoughts and feelings by journaling. Keeping a journal is a great way to write out your thoughts and get in tune with yourself.
Ask yourself what questions to start understanding your inner self.
What questions like:
- What am I feeling?
- What do I want my future to look like?
- What do I want my relationships to look like?
Journaling also allows you to track progress on your goals.
Learn to Love Learning
Having a passion for learning is key to reinventing yourself. Barbara had to learn how to master math and science to become the person she is now. Barbara teaches a course to help others learn to love learning. Her course helped me learn to love learning and start mastering new subjects like SEO and UX design.
When you learn to love learning you can take advantage of all the endless learning possibilities the internet puts at your fingertips. You can learn how to do SEO, content marketing and other digital marketing and leverage your new knowledge into a new career.
In my blog post on learning and taking notes, I list all the books and resources I used to learn how to learn, and take better notes.
Try Something Different
Open yourself up to new possibilities. Experiment with exciting projects and try new things. Go places you wouldn’t normally go and try things like volunteering. When you go to new places and do new activities you open yourself up to meet new people. You might even meet someone who is doing what you want and you can talk to them and become friends.
Trying new things can be uncomfortable, but by trying you’ll learn more about yourself, create new experiences, and meet new people.
Those experiences and learning new things will help you find what you want out of life.
Meet New People
Jim Rohn once said you’re the average of the five the people you spend the most time with.
Find people who are doing what you want to do and talk to them. In Barbara’s story she found herself in college classes spending time with students who were learning the same concepts and taking the same test as she.
If you don’t know people who are doing what you want, read books from authors who did it. Study their journey. Use them as inspiration that you can reinvent yourself because you can read about someone who did.
“You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”– C. S. Lewis
That New You is Calling
Right now is the best time to reinvent yourself. It’s the start of a new year and the vaccine for the coronavirus has all of us with rose-colored glasses on. Use this time you have to think about whom you want to be in this new world.
Once you know, set your intentions on being that person and move in that direction. It’s not going to happen overnight but you can believe it’s going to happen. Commit to the new you by beginning where you are.