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Practice what you’ve learned in this chapter.

Mind your head

Think about your most inspiring teacher (in school or otherwise). Which quality makes them so great? Write in your journal about the characteristics of how they talked about their subject and how that inspired you to think about the subject.

Watch some recorded presentations of great product announcements—for example, Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh. Observe how the presenter doesn’t sell the product so much as the product’s vision—the dream behind the product. That’s evangelism at work.

Never stop learning

Make a mind map of the skills you have right now—for example, programming languages, platforms, tools, and so forth. Some of your map’s branches will look sparse. Identify a couple of areas where you’re lacking—and you’re motivated to improve— and commit to improving them over the next six months.

Set aside some money each month as a self-improvement fund. This could be for books, software, or other resources you need. Then you won’t need to worry about running out of cash when you have time to pick up something new. You will have the money ready to go.

Research a programming language that is as different as possible from the language you use at your day job. For C++ (statically typed, compiled, object-oriented), this might be Scheme (dynamically typed, interpreted, functional). For Ruby, it might be Haskell. Buy a book or two (Bruce Tate’s, for example), dedicate some time, and flex those brain muscles.

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