Expand your horizons in the New Year


“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self,” Ernest Hemingway once wrote. This philosophy is a perfect one to ponder as we journey into 2013.
With the New Year celebrations, MHAT-19 volunteers would like for you to remember that no matter who you think you are, no matter what you did in the past, no matter what past experiences have shaped you, you can always change and become a better version of yourself.
New Year is a time for letting go of the past and seizing the opportunities to make our lives better. Many of us focus on changing our bodies – getting rid of the fat we’ve put on during the holiday season and getting into a physical fitness mindset as we eat healthier (and in moderation) and exercise more often.
Another area of change is in our relationships with friends and families. The new year provides an occasion where we can find ways to be a little less selfish in our wants and desires and focus on giving the people we share our lives with the extra attention they often need – even if it’s as simple as learning to be quiet for a long moment and truly listen to what they wish to say to us.
The brand new year is also a time to improve our minds through learning new information and new skills.
Gavilan Community College offers South Valley residents many great courses to expand our minds and expertise. Who knows? You might find some classes that will possibly lead to a fascinating new career if diligently pursued. Gavilan’s Community Education program offers classes for professional development in the teaching field, healthcare, water management, paralegal skills and other areas of vocational pursuits.
Gavilan also offers areas of personal enrichment such as digital photography, fiction writing, conversational Japanese, guitar playing, interior design, stock investment and many other fun and affordable short-term classes.
You don’t have to go to a community college or university to train your brain during the New Year.
The public libraries in the South Valley offer books, DVDs, compact discs, CD-ROMS and other media to increase your knowledge power and help you in your journey as a life-long learner.
The Santa Clara County Library system lets you go online and browse through the catalog of available resources throughout the many community libraries in its system.
One of the best media resources are the CDs and DVDs in the “Great Courses” series produced by The Teaching Company that our local libraries stock. You can learn everything from astronomy to zoology with these courses that are taught by highly regarded professors at world-class universities.
Recorded Books publishes “The Modern Scholar” series, also taught by some of the best professors in the world.
You can learn about Greek and Roman mythology or the basics of nanotechnology and the exciting world of evolutionary psychology with these courses available free of charge through the Santa Clara County Library system.
If you have access to a computer and an Internet connection, you can increase your knowledge in certain areas by going onto a video-sharing website such as YouTube and doing a search on an area you would like to develop greater expertise in.
And if you don’t have such access, local libraries provide their public computers to you free of charge.
Perhaps you want to find a subject you have a hankering to master over the 365 days of the year 2013 and spend 15 or so minutes every day expanding your knowledge and understanding of that topic.
The key to quality learning is to be consistent in the pursuit of mastery of a topic. Make time to discover new information every day about the field you chose, and you will be surprised how, after a year, you’ll achieve an expert knowledge base of that subject matter.
All learning is self-learning. Ultimately, teachers and trainers can only take us so far. It’s up to us to feed our minds with information and process it into knowledge and understanding.
By wisely applying that newly gained knowledge and understanding in our lives, we’ll be superior to our former selves.

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