Avoid Being Dumbed Down: Cultivate a Skill
Last spring I did a video called, Refuse to Be Dumbed Down. What a response that received and is still receiving! This week I am giving you active tips and a challenge on how you can avoid being dumbed down by our modern culture.
Tip #1- Cultivate a long-lost skill
You loved playing the piano as a child, but haven't played in years. You used to paint before the kids were born but haven't picked up a paintbrush in ages. You had ambitions to write a novel when you were in your early 20s but never got past chapter 3. Do you relate to any of these? Many people long to pick up an old skill or passion again but discourage themselves by saying they are "no good" or have "lost what it takes". This week I'd like to challenge you to pick up an old skill and begin to hone it again. This takes discipline. It takes time and it also is a wonderful antidote to being dumbed down.
I used to play the piano as a child. I stopped playing during my college years and early to mid-twenties. I never thought I was very good. I would play occasionally. Recently I have committed to seriously taking the piano up again. During my summer break I took a piece of challenging music (challenging for me!), Mozart's Alla Turca. I worked on it every day for at least twenty minutes. I have committed to learning it. Be sure to stay tuned for a bonus video later this week where I play Alla Turca for you!
Tip #2- Reignite your passion for an art or skill or commit to learning a new one
If you don't have a long-lost skill, commit to learning a new one. Is there something you have always wanted to do? Now is the time! When I was in my late twenties I am so happy I decided to take a writing class. If I never pushed myself to take that class, I might never have written Lessons from Madame Chic. I probably wouldn't even have this blog!
Tip #3- Analyze how you spend your down time and make changes where needed
We often say we "don't have time" to do these things, yet we somehow find time to watch a reality TV marathon or read a gossip magazine. It's a great idea to analyze how you spend your downtime and see where you can make changes. There is nothing wrong with mindless entertainment or guilty pleasures, but we should be conscious that that is not the only way we entertain ourselves. Avoid being dumbed down by choosing an enriching activity during your downtime. As a side note, I actually find playing the piano during my down time quite soothing!
See you on Thursday, for the bonus video where I play, Alla Turca (and remember, I am not a professional pianist!) :)
This week I would love to know... Do you agree or disagree that today's culture is being dumbed down? What is a long-lost skill or new passion you'd like to cultivate? Let me know in the comment section and you could be picked as the comment of the week!
If you are unable to see this week's video (above), click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel, www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance comes out October 27th from Simon & Schuster. Pre-order available now.
I will be speaking and signing copies of my new book on Thursday, October 29th at Pages Bookstore, in Manhattan Beach, CA at 7pm. Details to follow.
Thank you to Melissa55 who has read an advance copy of Polish Your Poise in Madame Chic. She recommends it in her August favorites!
Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Cultivate your mind, seek out the arts or work on a skill this week! Share what you are doing on social media using the hashtag #MADAMECHIC so we can encourage each other and refuse to be dumbed down.
Comment of the Week
Erica G. writes:
I love this!!!!! I'm learning the violin as a 30-something. I practice ballet videos on YouTube for exercise, and I try to write poetry. I'm not "good" at any of them, but these pursuits feed me somehow. We homeschool, and we often have classical music playing in the background during certain subjects, and we've watched many classical ballets on YouTube. I adore your "culture minute" with your family!
Erica, I love that you are learning the violin in your 30s! That's the spirit!
Jeanne D. writes:
Jeanne D This is the first time I have heard of you or watched you, but I was delighted with your comments today. My mother had a rule that whenever I left the house, I had to look as good as I could for whatever I was going to do. I was never allowed to leave the house in curlers (this was in the 1950's). She died in 1964 and the 3 times I left the house in curlers (in the mid-1960's) I ran into someone I had not seen in years and felt so foolish. Needless to say, I did not do that again. That advice has served me well all my life as people always comment on how nice I look, or 'you always look great'. It wasn't long in the early years before I realized how much my daily mood was impacted by how I looked--so following this 'rule' has been one of the nicest things I have done for myself. It is such a treat to see someone in your generation feeling this way---and doing something about it!! Kudos to you!!
Thank you, Jeanne, for your lovely comment.
As you know, nearly every comment I get can be the comment of the week. Please keep them coming as I know that others enjoy reading them too. Also, your comment could be featured on the blog!
Please note, if you have submitted a question to me, look for it to be answered in a future "reader questions answered" video.
See you later in the week for a special performance of Mozart's Alla Turca :)
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