As humans, we possibly start learning when we are born and it may be ending only when we die. At least we are not aware as to what happens to us post our death. Every stage of life teaches us new lessons every day. It is upto us to learn from every experience and every person we meet in our lives
If we walk through every stage of our life, we realise how much we learn. As a child, every action of ours is a new learning. Starting from learning to crawl, walk and run, we have so many opportunities to learn every day.
We learn from everyone around us. Our parents, siblings, friends and neighbours teach us new things every day. We crawl, walk, fall down and get up again to run ahead in our lives. We cherish every moment and are grateful for the people who enable us to learn every day.
As we grow into an adolescent, we tend to learn what we want to. We ignore things which does not interest us. We also rebel when we are forced to learn things against our wishes. We have a world view of ourselves and believe there can be no alternative view.
As an adult we tend to become more rational. We learn by our own choice. We categorise things based on our mindset. We decide what we want to learn and what we don’t want to. This I would call as “Selective learning”. All the curiosity of our childhood gradually fades into selective interest and learning. In this way, we lose many opportunities to learn from experiences and people around us.
One good example is learning when we travel around the world. While we want to learn all the things which we possibly need not, we ignore things, which we should learn. We learn to accumulate things more than we need in our day to day lives but we ignore the self discipline which we see on the roads or even in everyday life.
We learn to be self centred in our lives but we fail to learn to give back to society. It is important to realise that every experience of life is an opportunity to learn. Every person we meet and interact with can teach us something if we are inclined to learn from them.
Out of our own ignorance or ego, we decide what we want to learn and what we do not want to. This leads to selective learning. A side effect is that we lose multiple opportunities to learn and grow in life. It may be worthwhile to challenge ourselves and ask why this happens.
One of my best experiences in learning is my travel around India and the world as in the photo above.
I believe it is never too late to learn in life. I was recently reading an octogenarian lady attending computer classes since she wanted to email her grand children and chat with them online. I also have read of grand parents pursuing research or post graduate degrees when they do not need to at their age. This proves learning ends only in our mind and not with our age.
Lets us learn to learn unconditionally from everything and every person around us all the time.
S Ramesh Shankar
9th November 2020