Over time, studying liberal arts will change how you look at everything – not just art, but math, science, literature, and beyond. This is because every subject branches off of other subjects, so whatever area you are learning about already includes part of another domain.
For example, when you study physics, you learn about matter and energy. So once you have mastered one field, you can apply that knowledge to something else related to matter or energy, which could be chemistry, biology, or astronomy.
When you understand these three areas, you get the picture as to what all those things are really about. It’s thinking about concepts in terms of each other and applying that knowledge to new domains that uses skills that come from studying the humanities.
This article will go into more detail about some of the ways that studying humanities helps develop certain skills that you can use anywhere. But first, let us discuss why this important.
Learning to be open minded
A liberal arts education is not only about learning lots of things, it’s also about developing other qualities in your student. Among these are openness or willingness to consider alternatives to your current perspective, tolerance of different opinions, and knowledge of how to use reason as a tool for understanding yourself and the world around you.
Open-mindedness can go beyond simply accepting what another person says; it includes acceptance of others’ beliefs and attitudes. If you disagree with someone, you should try hard to understand why they think that way rather than dismissing them as wrong or foolish.
This applies even when their ideas seem strange, incomprehensible, or contradictory to yours. We’ve discussed before how important it is to be able to evaluate claims using your own skills and intelligence instead of relying on someone else’s authority.
Liberal arts students are trained in reasoning, so this ability is especially valuable. But more broadly, an educational experience filled with experiences that challenge long held assumptions encourages thinking about our concepts and ourselves in new ways.
Learning to be creative
A liberal arts education is not only about learning lots of information, it’s also about developing your creativity.
Artists spend their lives practicing their craft, so why should it be any different for you?
You can just start trying to create things You already have many tools that help you in the art of creating. Starting with something simple like drawing or painting, then moving onto doing logos or lettering, and eventually sculpting and other forms of expression are ways to get into the habit of creating.
Learning to be optimistic
Optimism is not always easy to come by, but learning how to be an optimist can have a major influence in your life.
Optimists tend to focus more on the positive aspects of things, which can make it hard to stay pessimistic when you should be.
By instead looking at the good parts of something, you shift your perception of what’s going on in that area. You may also find that inspiration for other areas or projects comes easier if you are in a happier place.
A liberal arts education teaches us about different fields and courses, but there’s one thing they all share in common: they teach us how to think. This gives us some basic tools to apply to the rest of our lives.
You don’t have to remain part of the privileged few who enjoy thinking, though! In fact, it will probably do you well to learn how to think harder as soon as possible.
Generalizing from examples in books and real-life experiences is a way to start thinking harder. Generalizations are assumptions made about facts that go beyond individual cases.
Making general statements helps you understand concepts better, since you’re assuming everything else follows the same rules.
Learning to be resilient
Resilience is defined as your ability to withstand or recover from something that may hurt you or stress you out. It is having a long-term effect so you can re-adjust your life, skills, or strategies to bear new challenges.
Resilient people recognize that things in their lives will not always go their way but they remain stable under pressure. They are aware of the nature of tragedy and how to handle it well.
Tragedy does not discriminate. No matter who you are or what kind of person you are, it can affect anyone.
It can happen at any time, anywhere. There is no special warning sign before disaster strikes.
When disasters do occur however, it’s important to know how to deal with them. You don’t have control over whether or not a situation will get worse, but you can manage your reactions to it.
By being able to identify potential triggers and sources of pain, you’ll be better prepared to cope when situations arise. This also helps you to avoid adding more stress to someone else’s life by responding inappropriately.
In other words, learn to show compassion and sympathy for others while maintaining your own emotional stability.
Liberal arts courses focus heavily on teaching students about different disciplines and concepts. A large part of this is developing understanding and appreciation for diverse viewpoints.
This helps you develop your reasoning and analytical abilities.
Learning to be practical
A liberal arts education not only teaches you how to learn, it also trains you in how to use what you have learned. This is important because we live in a time where technology has completely changed the way people interact with each other and the world around them.
We’re constantly being exposed to new technologies and modes of communication that shift our perception of what is normal and efficient.
By understanding how systems work and are implemented, you will more easily identify bad implementations and improve upon good ones. You will also recognize when someone is using a good implementation and can therefore avoid falling for a poor one.
This is very valuable as we see every day how companies rely heavily on social media to promote their products and services. It is almost guaranteed that your company will at some point need to defend its reputation or take action due to something said about it online.
Being able to hone your digital literacy and marketing skills could make all the difference when you are needed most.
Another area where this applies is politics. Technology makes it easy to spread misinformation, propaganda, and fake news at lightning speed. People who lack a strong background in critical thinking may believe whatever claims are made without question.
Some areas seem to attract an unusually high amount of questionable information and false statements. Studying art, history, language, and literature provides insights into why this is.
Learning to be friendly
We spend our lives interacting with other people, so it is important to learn how to interact with them on their level. This includes learning about who they are as individuals and what makes them happy or unhappy.
This is called emotional literacy. It helps you understand others and yourself because you understood your emotions and why you have them. You will also know if someone else has their own set of feelings that may influence yours.
By educating yourself about different cultures, you expand your horizons. By studying art, music, literature and humanities, you find out more about humanity and the importance of beauty in this world.
These subjects help develop self-confidence. When you feel confident in yourself, you are happier than when you do not. Therefore, these studies can aid in a student’s academic success by making them happier students.
They also help teach students about politics and society. Artists and writers create stories that compare similarities between characters or situations.
Learning to be assertive
Starting early in life can help develop your assertiveness or soft skills. As we’ve discussed, being able to manage your emotions and show them to other people is an important skill for anyone to have.
Becoming more aware of how others perceive you and learning how to talk with them about things is also a way to boost your confidence. The more you speak up and let go off that nervousness, the easier it becomes.
Everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to socializing so this will vary for different people. But there are some general rules of thumb that most experts agree on.
Understand why someone may feel uncomfortable and work to resolve the issue instead of avoiding the topic completely.
Learning to be courageous
A liberal arts education is not about having lots of fancy degrees or being very popular in the community, it’s mostly about learning how to think critically. It teaches you to evaluate sources impartially, to consider all possibilities, and to draw your own conclusions even when others are more heavily invested in their beliefs.
This can make it hard to agree with things that seem totally wrong or foolish. You may feel reluctant to back down or give in when someone else seems completely sure of themselves and has made a strong case.
But this kind of thinking isn’t easy. It takes work to resist the temptation to accept what we’re told to be true, even if we don’t necessarily believe it.
It’s easier to go along with the crowd because that’s the way people have been doing things for so long. But ignoring the herd instinct doesn’t usually turn out well.
I’ve seen many times where an individual who possessed profound insights was ignored or even ridiculed because he wasn’t part of the “in” group.
You need to learn how to defend your ideas forcefully but also civilly, without getting angry or insulting. This requires training in logic and rhetoric, as well as self-awareness and discipline.