A Confidence to Learn reader sent me these questions:

How do I get the motivation to follow through with my learning plan? There are many things that I have felt would be fun or interesting to learn, through the years, but I've made very little if any effort to do anything about it. Somebody told me once that it was just because I didn't want it bad enough.

So how do I get to the point that I "want it bad enough"? How do I get over my laziness, mental blocks, or whatever it is that is keeping me from following through?

Once when I was in graduate school, a few of us graduate students had an idea, which we proposed to the faculty. We wanted to create our own course in which we would decide what we would read, what we would write, how we would measure what we had learned. As students we wanted to govern all of the primary aspects of the course. We also thought it would be great if a faculty member wanted to sit in on the group to give us some guidance, to share knowledge, and perhaps to provide some quality control.

How old is too old to learn?

Take Anna Mary Robertson Moses an an example. She was born in 1860, right before the American Civil War. She lived to be 101 years old, so her life spanned from James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln, through 21 presidents of the United States, to John F. Kennedy. Toward the later part of her long and fruitful life—in her 70s, when others have passed away or retired or given up learning—she taught herself to paint.