A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

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This week I interview Jane Genovese, PhD student, small business owner and Public speaker – all at the age of 27!

Jane lives in my home town of Perth, Western Australia, and is currently on a university scholarship to complete her doctorate.  She also delivers presentations in schools.

What is your favourite destination in the world?

The South West of Western Australia. There’s a little beach house in Dunsborough that I use several times a year. It’s great to be able to get away for a few days, ride, walk, swim and reflect on life in such a beautiful, peaceful place.

You are in the position where you are able to make quite a difference in other people’s lives – notably kids – through the workshops you run as part of your business Learning Fundamentals. Tell us more about what inspired you to get involved with helping kids with the fundamentals of learning?

I struggled as a student at school. I wanted to do really well, but I had no idea how to study effectively and manage my stress levels. Somehow I managed to scrape through the system and get into law school. It was only once I got to university and failed my first test (I got 1/20) that I realised I needed some help. I had to learn how to study and most importantly, how to enjoy studying. Because sadly, by the time I had reached university, the high school experience had killed my love of learning. I thought to myself

There is no point going through another 5 or more years of study, just to get a piece of paper. This might as well be a rewarding, enjoyable experience!

So I ended up reading lots of books on study skills, participated in all sorts of workshops (e.g. speed reading) and for the first time in many years, I started to enjoy learning. I wanted to share what I had learnt with others, so I started my business Learning Fundamentals.

What keeps you motivated to get out there and help kids?

I find it sad that so many young people relate to learning as a painful, boring chore. Or they feel they are stupid. Through my workshops I hope that young people can get a sense that learning can be fun and that they’re not stupid. The system has failed them by not teaching them how to learn effectively in the first place and by not bringing the subjects to life.

I also love working with young people. They are fun, have energy and often have a really quirky sense of humour.

Have you had to change your approach as society becomes faster paced and the ‘distractions’ increase [iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, You Tube, iPads, etc etc)?

Definitely. We live in the age of distraction. In my presentations I often talk about the Facebook effect, the myth of multitasking and how to deal with all the distractions we are faced with. With all these new technologies and addictive websites, I think it’s a lot harder for students today to focus and concentrate on their studies than it was 10 years go.

On top of this you are studying (again!), and amongst other things you blog, draw and are writing and illustrating a book on procrastination. You also recently got engaged! How do you manage to fit everything in? 

My life is certainly not boring and there is always plenty to do! But I love it. Most of the time, my PhD, my workshops, blogging and all the other stuff I do doesn’t seem like work. I feel extremely blessed to be able to work my own hours and do work that I feel is worthwhile and makes a difference.

I meditate and exercise most days and I think this helps me to focus on the things that are most important. I rarely watch television, which frees me up to do other things.

Tell us more about this book you are working on.

The book is called Procrastination Buster: Getting Things Done and it’s about the psychology of procrastination, how you can breakthrough it and work on the things that are most important to you. It’s for people who want to play a big game in life.

I believe that we can all make a difference in the world today, even by doing something small. What advise would you give to someone who was stuck procrastinating because they think they couldn’t possibly make a difference in some way or another?

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. ~Author Unknown

Just get started. Do something. Anything. All great things begin with a small action step. As the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Yes, you are insignificant in the big scheme of things but you have more of an impact on the people around you and the planet than you realise. When you feel like giving up, take one more little action step.

If you would like to get in contact with Jane you can email her at:

jane@learningfundamentals.com.au.

Or check out her blog:

Learning Fundamentals.

6 comments

  1. i think when we manage to get over our fears we will be able to begin our journey
    you are right it all begins with the first step
    thank you for the post

  2. Interesting interview…and looks like I might need that book!! :)

  3. What an amazing story! And to think that Jane failed her first test in university and look where she is now, making such an amazing difference in so many lives! I wholeheartedly agree about learning. It can be such a bore and a chore in organized education, but learning is supposed to be awe-inspiring and fun! =)

    Thanks for the inspiration, Jane and Janine! =)

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