Do you like learning? Many studies have shown that education plays a greater role in life expectancy than wealth does. In fact, there is significant evidence linking "cognitive flexibility" or "a person's willingness to entertain new ideas" to them living a longer—and healthier—life.
I'm as guilty as anyone else of sitting down at the end of a day and watching YouTube or Netflix videos that don't require me to use any brainpower. This is okay. . . sometimes. But if turning our brain off becomes a regular part of our lifestyle, it has the potential to not only shorten our lives, but also cheapen our experience of life!
Wow, Luke, this a little heavy for a paracord blog, don't you think? Yeah, probably. So why am I telling you this? Because paracord is a great way to keep your mind active.
Why Do You Craft?
Some of you took up paracord crafting as a way to keep your mind busy after retirement. Good on you—you're on the right track. Never slow down.
Others stumbled across the hobby by chance and will spend a little time before moving onto something else. That's okay too. Keep learning OTHER new things!
Still others of you have found a good fit with "paracording" and plan on sticking around for a while. If that's you, you've found a great hobby that will keep your brain active and flexible.
Do It to Learn It
If you are like me, you often fool yourself into thinking you are learning, when you are really just relaxing. When you are learning, you shouldn't be merely watching a video or reading an article, you should also be doing.
Doing something with the intention of getting better at "micro-skills" within a larger skill is called "Deliberate Practice."
It's based on the principle that one learns best when they are able to reinforce their hypothetical knowledge with real-life experience.
For example, you can't become good at guitar by only studying about how to play the guitar. You also have to pick up a guitar and put some hours in, focusing on how to play each cord correctly.
These same principles can be applied to paracord crafting.
If you are feeling stuck in paracording—or any hobby for that matter—you might be leaving out half the equation. If you are DOING and never LEARNING, you will likely lose interest, as making the same thing over and over again can easily become monotonous. If you are always LEARNIING and never DOING, you really aren't learning at all. Book learning by itself rarely makes a very good hobby.
What New Things Can I Learn in Paracord Crafting?
If you are looking for new paracord skills to learn, there are many things to try.
- Learn New Knots—There is a group on Facebook dedicated to learning and documenting every knot in ABOK (Ashley Book of Knots). We've started a small collection of individual knot tutorials that we plan on expanding in the future.
- Make New Creations—If you usually make bracelets, try branching out into lanyards, or dog collars, or jeep grab handles. There are markets for all these items. Our YouTube channel and many other YouTube channels offer a huge variety of unique paracord tutorials.
- Create Original Designs—We established that creativity makes you live longer, right? Maybe it's time to break away from tutorials and try your hand at making your own designs. There is literally no limit to the things that can be constructed out of paracord.
- Solve a Problem—Instead of trying to come up with WHAT to make, focus on a problem that could be solved with paracord. The best tool is the one you make yourself.
Back to Life Philosophy
Regardless of your hobbies, interests, or carreer, keep learning! Learning does take work, and it's not always what you'll feel like doing in the moment, but when you look back, you will be glad you made the effort.