Sunday, 27 May 2012

School of life - The art of learning

Humanity is able to evolve by means of learning and passing down knowledge. We have structured educational systems to facilitate the consumption of information that spans over centuries. Worldwide societies are moving towards a specialist approach where the individual is encouraged to have a narrow but advance skillset, leaving little regard to other areas of general life. This works well for the larger vision for society but can leave individuals lacking and unbalanced in not having a diverse knowledge of life.

Embracing learning as part of your journey not just a destination will allow more freedom and enrich your life continuously. This will happen as your understanding of life will broaden allowing you to see more options in your choices and giving you more confidence in what their results will be.
  • Have a teachable nature. Valuable life lessons come from the most unlikely sources. In case of advice offered, always make room to listen but be firm in the understanding that it will be taken under advisement with no promise to comply or agree.
    • Try not to draw conclusions before engaging. Always listen then speak.
    • Learning from someone more advanced than you is the easy part; the more difficult task is the ability to learn from people equal or below you within community structures without losing their respect. This is a skill that requires practice with variety of methods from openly giving them the credit to taking the lesson to heart without skipping a beat.
  • Think outside the box. Seek life lessons from stories, encounters, friendships and everything else life throws at you.
  • Be unbiased while exploring cause and effect, do this by playing the devil’s advocate. Do not be satisfied with one side of any point, consider all the options that you can think of
  • Learning from other people’s insights and theories one should focus on finding nuggets of truth not simply accepting or disregarding it as a single concept. There are many truths that seem to be opposites yet their value lies in their application (Exp. Proverbs), try to understand and find the right place to apply them or find some core principles to learn from.
  • Form your own opinions. Forming our own hypothesis and theories on life is different from learning from others, start from single truth which you believe you have gained a deeper insight into and build a basic theory. Going forward you should not purely defend yours but put it to the test by searching for inconsistencies that can shed more light or change the direction of the current hypothesis. Each time you are forced to adjust it means you have either gained a deeper insight or explored alternatives which is the result of personal growth.
Life is too short to learn only from our own mistakes. We are continuously exposed to the results of choices, everything from important decisions to smaller almost invisible cause and effect situations. As our lives fork into a complex web of cause and effect we should take the time to see and understand the seemingly hidden details of life so that we are not merely a pawn but becoming the chess player.

This goes for understanding human behavior, self-improvement but also very important to partake in opportunities to form new life experiences. Fear of fears, if your hesitant to try something new replace that with the fear of withering away without experiencing life and only being a mere shadow of what you were meant to be.

Remember the fastest way to fail learning is by thinking you have completed the course. This lures you into false sense of fulfillment which will slow any additional progress.  The more you learn the more you should understand how little you do know in regards to the vast knowledge that is out there, understanding this will keep you motivated to progress even further. That being said having no targets can leave you directionless so try to set milestones, NOT finishing lines, while learning.

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