How to…

It’s been one of those ‘How to’ weeks and it’s only Tuesday.

A few Christmases ago I was given the book How to do just about everything.

It’s big, blue and tells you what to do. No, that’s not the marketing strap, but perhaps it should be.

I don’t think I’ve ever explored its self-help suggestions.

But after today’s ‘how to’ dilemmas of ‘How to find a lost earring in London’, and requiring someone that knew ‘How to deal with a visibly upset girl who’s lost an earring somewhere at or between 3 coordinates in London’, I decided to put the book to the test. Searching under ‘lost’ in the book’s index, my options are:

Conceal Hair Loss  ||  Find Your Lost Pet  ||  Help Your Family Lose Weight  ||  Lose Weight  ||  Retrieve a Valuable Dropped Down the Sink  ||  Signal for Help in the Wilderness

None is overly useful in solving my current problem, and neither can the advice on retrieving a valuable dropped down the sink be adapted to rescue the spotlight I’ve lost to the ceiling in my flat. Unless I can find a u-bend up there. The things they don’t teach you at school.

Thus the purpose of The School of Life. This is the window of their shop in Marchmont Street sometime last year.

Their current evening courses cover off lots of ‘how to’ questions, including:

> How to make a difference

> How to have better conversations

> How to read

> How to survive your family (my fave)

> How to be cool

> How to be alone

> How to fill the God-shaped hole

All practical but intriguing enough. Positively framed, but a bit different from the usual after-work sewing/ creative writing/ learn to dance lindy hop lessons.

Talking to a friend last night, she told me about the book she’s currently reading… How to Be Brilliant. For someone who’s pretty amazing at what she does already, I know it’s the perfectionist in her she’s trying to appease.

(A not-so-natty bullseye cover… but I guess you can’t have it all.)

It sounds like a read for those of us who have a constant need for self betterment.

As Seth says, he doesn’t watch TV because there are so many other things he would rather be doing. I agree.

He also writes about Clay Shirky’s concept of cognitive surplus – or should that be, people who want to make a difference?:

Clay Shirky has noticed the trend of talented people putting five or six hours an evening to work instead of to waste. Add that up across a million or ten million people and the output is astonishing. He calls it cognitive surplus and it’s one of the underappreciated world-changing stories of our time.”

While you’re all out there doing your how to courses and changing the world, I’m just contemplating my learning from all of this… how to NOT lose earrings.


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