PERSPECTIVES: LEARNING – THE TREASURE THAT FOLLOWS

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“Learning is a Treasure that will follow its owner everywhere”. Chinese proverb

 

Learn a new thing every day. Become an expert on your chosen subject. It empowers, lights up the darkness and amongst other benefits it fights dementia.

Make use of your time when you are on the move – in trains, buses, cabs, planes. “Lost” time stays lost. It is your ever-diminishing, non-renewable, non-controllable, finite “resource”.

One of my earlier colleagues studied the stock market during his lunchtimes and became enough of an investment expert to retire from his day-job by his late 30’s.

I obtained most of my university degrees by studying on the train to and from work every day. I wrote my first book on a train and during lunch hours. All of which changed my life dramatically.

My fellow passengers are still staring at their mobile phones, play computerized games, chat or sleep.

 

Physical

People learn best through ways that fit their learning style and it is important that you identify which way lets you get the most out of it.

By far the most people – about 60% – learn visually, by looking, drawing, color-coding, writing things down, and reading.

Kinesthetic learners, on the other hand, learn by getting involved – in many cases physically – by “doing”, more of a hands-on approach.

Auditory learners get into discussions, express their views, and through listening to what is being said. The rule is “two ears, one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk”

 

Social

Whilst working on a short contract in Indonesia, I learnt 10 Indonesian words every day for my first three months – five to and from work and five in the office during the day. Three months later the 1,000 words empowered me to now comfortably communicate with more than 300,000,000 people of other exciting cultures on the planet. Not a bad investment of taxi-and lunch-time.

 

Mental

The importance of mental preparation before “getting into the action” cannot be overstated. No-one would consider going unprepared into an important meeting or interview. And as “practice makes perfect” learning a new thing or reinforcing successful behavior every time you have an important activity to perform is helpful in reaching a desired outcome.

Sportsmen of all caliber and types are taught to “see the golf ball drop into the hole, landing the knock-out punch, serving an ace, or sliding over the bar on a high jump”. Mental preparation includes imaging, of which there are two types, i.e. internal – where you visualize both the process and the outcome – and external, where you see yourself as an observer – learning by “intense looking” (not as just a spectator).

 

Emotional

The five social and emotional aspects of learning include the ability to (a) manage our feelings, (b) be self-aware, (c) display empathy, (d) be motivated and lastly (e) engage our social and behavioral skills.

These skills help us learn how to manage our feelings such as joy, anger, frustration and anxiety. They help us place ourselves in context with our surrounding and the society we live in. They guide us to resolve issues of both an interpersonal and personal nature – help us build friendships, be co-operative and fair, and to be able to cope with both winning and losing.

At the base of it all is an awareness, followed by a mobilization of our energy and a direction to “do or not to do something” that is valued.

 

Intellectual

We are thought to use only somewhere between 0.5% and 5% of our brain but – and without any empirical evidence – I daresay it is much less, far less than even 0.5%. Humankind has built structures to visit and explore outer space and now seems set to – at last – one day wander amongst the planets and stars – but we have not yet conquered our inner space. The brain is as fascinating a frontier, if not more so, as outer space, since that is where most of our day-to-day living takes place.

 

Spiritual

All learning is transformational, more so when it has a spiritual impact.

Spirituality is a belief system that is centered in the values by which people live, and which leads and guides the welfare of both people and society – beyond the material, to a larger reality and common good – to develop an inner human quality. It covers trustworthiness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, balance, an appreciation and mindfulness of others – and openness to co-existence, which may also include meditation and prayer as sources of inspiration and a humility that drive and define us.

 

KEY PRINCIPLES

  • There are three physical ways to learn, i.e. by hearing, seeing and doing.
  • The importance of mental preparation before you “get into the action” cannot be overstated.
  • Ten words a day can empower you to interact with millions of people after three months.
  • There are five social and emotional aspects of learning.
  • The brain is as fascinating a frontier, if not more so, as outer space.
  • All learning is transformational, more so when it has a spiritual impact.

ACTION STEPS

  • Identify which way is the best way of learning for you to ensure you get the most out of it.
  • Learn to “eat an elephant, one bite at a time”.
  • Visualize the end result, but do not forget the process.
  • Become aware, mobilize your energy and direct it into action.
  • Engage as much of your brain as possible by “learning how to learn”.
  • Transform yourself and your life by learning something new of value every day.

 

 

(“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, to be published by Partridge Publications in early 2015.)

 

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