“What is your terminal degree?” she asked me. I was taken aback. “You make it sound like I am completely finished with learning,” I replied, trying my best to sound like a stern professor.

My favorite hobby is volunteering as a board member of a nearby writers’ museum. Since my wife and I are “museum junkies,” I agreed to chair the exhibits committee as their closest role to being the museum curator. However, it is not my profession. So, last month I enrolled in a 4-hour online graduate course in museum exhibits, at Harvard University.  It has been 45 years since I completed a “terminal degree.” I am very excited, and a bit anxious after reading the course syllabus. For me, this course is truly unleashed learning—meaning, the course is not a have to, need to, must do. It is a want to!

Learning is a tool for awakening the soul, enriching the heart, and growing character.

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling,” wrote Albert Einstein, “but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” It is through learning that progress is achieved. Learning is the antidote to bigotry and hate. It leaves its master filled with confidence and pride, not just new competence. “I am not a teacher, but an awakener,” wrote Robert Frost.

Sales alert: My good friend, Paul Cardis, is in his late forties. He is about to complete the Harvard Business Analytics Program “because he wanted to.” A year ago, he asked me to join him in forming On3, an “unleashed” mobile-based learning company. On3 provides learning modules (over a thousand at this point) divided into short lessons, with a built-in coach, tools to assess what a learner has learned, and a way for a supervisor or owner to track what new competencies a learner has gained. Loaded with the latest AI technology, there is nothing like it on the training market today. From a construction worker on a job site to a hotel front desk clerk, anyone can learn at their leisure without needing a classroom, workbook, or additional paraphernalia.

It is the season of New Year’s resolutions. How could you take your hobby to a whole new level? How can you become a “master” instead of remaining a “novice?” What might you find if you searched for courses offered by your local YMCA, Chamber, Home Depot, community college, or online? What if you skipped that sitcom or superficial TV program and used the time to learn instead? Place “because I want to” unleashed learning at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions list.