Expanded Horizons

We’ve all heard the phrase “expanding your horizons,” right? Some of us have even uttered the words ourselves! Whether as part of the ubiquitous and often superfluous New Year’s Resolution or in reference to any number of activities from changing the channel to traveling to distant shores, the term is part of our daily lexicon.

Considering that, if we don’t define “expanding your horizons,” it’s doomed to become another loaded phrase whose meaning becomes lost in the influx of daily messages our overloaded brains receive. So let’s start there. What does this common phrase really mean?

Expanding one’s horizons. For the sake of setting an achievable goal and helping you bring a newfound sense of meaning to a familiar term, we can define it as this: The attempt to learn new things, which will help broaden our appreciation of life.

But why do we need to learn new things – or new skills for that matter? After all, it’s so comfortable and easy to maintain the status quo… we may not be happy there, but complacency is familiar – nobody likes change! Well, the answer is simple: learning new things helps us find new meaning in life and gives us increased purpose. Simply put, it makes things interesting again, not to mention the other, innumerable benefits that learning new things can bring you. In fact, learning and adapting to an increasingly fast-paced global society is required in order to function and succeed.

Here’s a list of ideas to put on your list of aspirations that you can realistically accomplish:

Learn a new language
Learning a new language – or attempting to – has always been a hallmark of expanding one’s horizons. Mastering a new language is not as hard as it may seem (though it’s not necessarily easy either), and interest helps. Start by picking a language that is specific to a region or culture you admire or are passionate about. If you’re crazy about Italian food or Spanish dancing or even if you just think France seems really romantic, those would be great places to start. Whatever it is, tap in and have a reason that this is the language you’ve chosen. Of course, traveling to that part of the world and getting exposure to native speakers would certainly help – but it’s definitely not a requirement.

Increase your computer skills
Expanding your computer skills and knowledge of various applications will broaden your communication skills in a 21st century digital world (not to mention your career options)! Pick a couple of software applications, and explore them by browsing through their respective online tutorials. Engage in an online activity, such as blogging. You’ll be surprised, after some research, how easy it is to publish a website or use various forms of multimedia. You may find a new hobby, a new social network, a new job – or all three!

Try a new sport
Engaging regularly in a new activity will allow you to explore and discover aspects of yourself you never knew existed. Think about it – athletes didn’t become skilled overnight, what they picked up became part of them. Now no one is expecting you to turn pro, but by selecting an activity you’re inclined to do, you will find it easier to stick to a routine schedule of doing it! And of course, you’ll gain all the benefits. Hiking, kayaking, running, snowboarding or surfing are all fun activities that may well give you a reason to travel and add dynamics to your existing physical lifestyle.

Seek career development
Developing skills and achieving certifications can help you further your career growth and shorten your climb up the corporate ladder. Ask your company’s HR Department, what kinds of career development opportunities they provide. This will demonstrate your commitment to your career and help make you an even bigger asset to the organization as you expand on your knowledge and skills. If they can recognize this then they’ll be sure to help in the process. Career development opportunities can include going back to school for an advanced graduate degree, or getting certification in your respective field.

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