Stepping into the world of cyberspace can feel like falling into Alice’s rabbit hole.

There are strange and wonderful things to experience. There are also dangers. I know many people who just will not venture in, claiming that the ‘real world’ is good enough for them. At the risk of sounding all ‘Matrix’ I’m not sure there is that much difference. Oh sure, we can’t smell, touch, or pet that piano-playing cat, but we have a seemingly unlimited smorgasbord of educational opportunities.

Let’s just get the obvious out of the way: there is really bad stuff on the net. Be aware, be smart, and be honest with yourself. Just like in the big city, you don’t go down dark alleys at night, buy a Rolex for $25, or try free samples from the gravity-challenged man wearing a long, soiled coat.

Here is another obvious statement: We have never before lived in a time when such vast amounts of information were so easily available. What do you want to find out?
What is the population of Port Hawkesbury, just south of South Lake Ainslie, Nova Scotia? Google it. Google
Want to know how to make a mermaid tail for under $25? YouTube it. YouTube
Want to find a funny book about being a Baby Boomer? Amazon itAmazon

The opening testimonies are worth the price alone. FYI = this is a shameless promotional tactic on my part. I warned you about the internet.

For the CREATIVE, the internet opens up the world. We can learn from so many people in so many disciplines. INTERNET LEARNING can help you become the artist you want to be. Someone in Florence, Italy can teach you how to draw. A woman in the UK will show you how to write your 1st book. A creative team in Florida will expand your photography skills. A guy in Germany reveals the secrets to making a video. INTERNET LEARNING is a bottomless tool box. But there are some challenges.

Almost 3 years ago I decided to become a full-time Creative Entrepreneur. I saw the Internet as my classroom. But … Have you ever experienced a 1st day of school in a totally new environment? Like maybe as a barefoot five-year-old walking into an MIT physics classroom? There are some challenges.

If you are considering INTERNET LEARNING here are some things I discovered along the way. Make no mistake, I am still learning.
 
 

Here is some of The Good, The Bad, & The Tempting from my internet classroom adventures.

 

Teachers / Mentors / Instructors

If they are ARROGANT, click off. A blowhard is a blowhard because they are covering up something, usually their incompetence or lack of integrity.
I have found that people who are HUMBLE, not wishy-washy, usually can be trusted. They become your fellow sojourners.

Extravagant Claims

If you are told you can make $30k every month with 2 hours of work and a $37 app, I would suggest some details are being left out. There are many people making very good money online but they have WORKED VERY HARD to get there. Take the long view, find smart mentors, and be willing to work.

SOS

This is a sneaky one. I knew I was getting it. I took a stand against it. I told myself to be mindful of it. And it STILL sneaks up on me. SOS is SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME. There are so many attractive distractions online. I’m not talking about bad things. These distractions can be very good. There are just too many great sounding, wonderful looking, and attention-grabbing opportunities … EVERY DAY!
Here is how it works: After 2 years of Internet Learning and exploration I committed to focusing on Photography, Writing, and Digital Arts. Great. I’m one my way. I’m in the saddle. But wait. What’s that!? I can make all that money selling other people’s products? I can become a Facebook Ninja with just that one app? Can I really become financially independent by selling popsicle stick art on eBay? It just never ends. Beware of SOS.

Worldwide Classroom

When you know what you want to learn and find the right teacher INTERNET LEARNING is fantastic. I can live anywhere in the world and improve my writing skills. Anytime of the day or night I can advance my photography. The cost of acquiring a new skill or improving upon one is often very inexpensive. And there are times when investing in yourself with a more expensive option makes sense.

Explore and Build Your Pillars

After a few weeks of my initial internet exploration, I realized I needed to have some solid pillars on which to build my business. Without pillars or guidelines SOS is an uncontrollable beast. I would recommend exploring until you find some areas of passion. Then decide on your objective. Is this going to be a hobby, a part-time financial endeavor, or are you looking to go full-time with what you learn? And then erect your pillars.
Here are my pillars.
Self-employed
Creative
Mobile
Life-affirming

For the Creative INTERNET LEARNING can make all the difference in the world. Find a Humble Teacher. Question the Extravagant Claims. Recognize the symptoms of SOS. Find your chair in the Worldwide Classroom. Explore and Build Your Pillars.

It’s an exciting time we live in. Just be aware of The Good, The Bad, and The Tempting.

What do you think?
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I’m Preston McCracken, join me in ENLARGING OUR LIVES.