Monday, June 24, 2013


I was reading James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself,  and he wrote that someone asked if he could teach a class. He immediately went into his ‘list mode,’ and tried to think of ten classes that he could teach. And he struggled. I was wondering if I could actually teach ten different topics. I’m not even sure if I know ten topics in depth enough to pass on any useful knowledge. I came up with six things that could potentially have a syllabus, or I could talk about it for an hour:

Research writing. I probably haven’t written as many papers as some people, but I still consider myself qualified enough to help someone make a good paper. What is good? Something that could get an idea across in a concise, clear way… aka somewhere in the A-B grade range.

Designing a garden. I recently designed plant arrangements for our double 3’ x 15’ front beds. It was a bit challenging because of the deer, and the shade, and figuring out what blooms most of the year.  It was a fun challenge, and I think if a class isn't in order, then I could make an app design on how to consider these factors.


Front yard beds at the Stewart Estate
Creating a piece of art for your living room. This class would mostly be about what things to consider if you are going to present your own art to people. It’s like a painting class, but also includes the context of a house, specifically, an area where there’s a lot of traffic.

Something I painted circa 2005
How to present yourself when you are afraid of public speaking. Maybe I’ll rename this to Public Speaking 101. I’m a whiz at providing helpful feedback (mostly because I am full of opinions), and also because I really want people to get better at something. When I was a technical trainer, I never thought to take any Toastmasters’ courses. I just practiced a whole lot (in the car, in the shower, etc.) so I could train myself out of the ‘um’s’ and fast talking.

Building your own computer. I built several, and my class would be a bit more useful than a Youtube video because I can explain it in terms a non-computery person would understand. There is a serious divide between people who like gadgets and electronic tools of all kinds, and those who don’t. I think a potential bridge involves analogies and humor.

My very first built desktop! I chose pink lights for the outside and blue LEDs for the inside.
Perfecting the chocolate chip cookie. This is my last idea, and I realized I started grasping at straws at this point because I already gave a presentation on this. In the summer of 2003, I baked no less than 1000 chocolate chip cookies because 1. They were cheap, and 2. They helped me get friends. It was fun to bake! Most importantly, I learned how to troubleshoot baking problems, such as flat cookies, and ‘cookie smoosh’ as well as what you can do with reject cookies (besides eat them straight). Here is my favorite recipe.

And this was my list. The next step might be to come up with topics that I would want to teach. What could I learn about and give back to someone else?