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Living a LearningLife

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An interview with Todd Kashdan

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but what did in the inquisitive feline just may help you live longer--and have more fun doing it. Or so contends psychologist and George Mason University professor Todd Kashdan, author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life.

"Of course we all want to be happy in life," says Kashdan, who will be the keynote speaker at the LearningLife spring fest in April. "If you ask folks what the goal of life is, most of them will say 'happiness.' But really, that's only part of the equation. What we're searching for is meaning, fulfillment. Curiosity is a key ingredient to finding that fulfillment."

sm_donna2008.jpgAdults in conversation with children will often resort to this fail-safe question to make a connection with a child. Children usually have a quick and ready answer: An astronaut! A fireman! A pilot! A teacher! And so on. They call out their favorites without restraints, without hesitation. They see it and they believe it.
Can you remember longing for the grown-up day when you would magically become who and what you dreamed to be? For some people, things turned out exactly as believed; for others a new, different, and often surprising path was followed.
Whatever your path has been to now, do you find yourself coming full circle lamenting, "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up!"? You are not alone. In my work as a coach, I hear it often. I've been in that place myself.
Read this and other posts at Donna's LearningLife expert blog, Thresholds...

sm_donna2008.jpgAs a new year gets underway, many of us find ourselves making resolutions or vowing to "finally make that lifestyle or career change" we've been thinking about. It's a time of reflection, and of planning for the future.

Now, for those who want to plan their next career or re-evaluate their life path, LearningLife is offering life skills workshops that offer ways to get inspired, think about the future, and strategically plan out a blueprint for true life change. One upcoming workshop, Your Next Chapter: Exploring Life/Work Options, will be led by career consultant Donna Bennett.

Designed to help people think about their future and make meaningful decisions about their next steps in life, the workshop was initially intended for older adults considering an encore career. But now, however, when the job market and economy are tight, it is especially applicable to anyone who is looking to make a change in their lives.

Rleider-forweb.jpg"You don't just achieve a certain age and have happiness
fall into your lap," says best-selling author, life coach, and senior fellow at the U of M's Center for Spirituality and Healing, Richard Leider. "When we're young, we think...'when I'm a grown up, I'll have all the answers. I'll know what I want, and where I'm going, and I'll be fulfilled and content.'"

"But you know what? It doesn't work that way. People get done with their working life, with that long process of earning a living and meeting their basic needs, and they retire, and then they look around and say... 'now what?'

"A century ago," Leider continues, "there was no real idea of 'retirement'-- but today, people are living much, much longer -- the average American lifespan is almost 80 years. We've got a whole lot of living left to do as 'mature adults.' So then, the question becomes: where do you go to get an advanced degree in maturity?"