My whole life I have been a reactive, lazy learner. What that means is that more or less any knowledge I ever acquired came in one of the three possible manners:
- Someone madated a task for whose completion I had to acquire expertise or under threat of getting poor grades in school
- I myself had a need to get something done for whose completion I had to acquire expertise (example: I remodeled my entire house and acquired all the trade skills in the process but that is just because I didn't like the house in the first place)
- I did random leisurely reading and stumbled upon material (e.g. random Wikipedia browsing while bored at work etc.)
However, I have tremendous trouble initiating a learning experience on my own, e.g. mastering a new technology or reading a book that is more than a Wikipedia article. The biggest reason I lack motivation is because I am lacking a hands-on opportunity to immediately apply the knowledge acquired.
I am currently in a job that I don't like very much using outdated technologies which I have mastered and all the jobs that I would like to apply to require either experience or some degree of familiarity with the more cutting-edge subject matters. As I have no opportunity to get my hands on them at my current work, I am also very disoriented as to how to initiate a learning process independently and apply it as I go along.
Another example is that, while in middle and high school overseas, I could never learn any English in class because I wasn't exposed to using it in real life. All other kids were much better at learning it from book, however, when I came to the States for college at the age 19, I nearly mastered it within only three months and became much better at it than many of my previously better high school classmates.
And the list of examples goes on. Once I get my hands on something REAL, I tend to not leave it until I master it, however, I can't concentrate on abstract material in books but I would like to be able to. So I am asking if there are ways to transition my learning habits.