When was the last time you signed up for a course and completed it? Or upgraded your skills? What did you learn about?
Too long ago?
You are not alone! Most people reading this post are probably complaining that they have no time to study or are so busy living their lives that they are not even reading this post!
At the end of the day, we either are too busy or have too little time. And things like learning, me-time, downtime and more hardly figure in our schedules.
As mindfulness makes a buzz around the world, people are looking to relax more, use their piling leaves on lazy holidays and are consciously staying away from the black mirrors of their digital devices. And yet, people seem to forget that to stay relevant, and heck, even stay alive, one needs to pick up learning again.
So were we until we saw the video of the emaciated polar bear crossing a street in a city in Siberia. Learning is a civic responsibility. As civilians of the world, it is our duty to help make a better place for us and our future generations. Learning keeps us updated about the world around us. Most importantly, opening new perspectives and introducing us to new ideas, learning makes us better human beings. If we stop learning after school and college, our growth would flat-line. Our workplaces help us grow, but only in ways related to our roles. We learn to become better managers or pick up a new skill or two. But, holistic learning and growth do not usually occur in the workplace. Learning, therefore, cannot prevail in just one section of our life.
What happens when we don’t embrace a lifelong learning mindset? We remain disconnected from the world around us. Bias, misinformation and misconceptions build up. Our faculty to make informed decisions weakens. We, in short, become like a fossil — present in current times but belonging to a long gone past.
While that may sound like a doomsday prediction, it is the truth. The more curious we are, the more we learn and stay in tune with the world. We understand how it functions, we take the right actions to propel ourselves and things that matter and we contribute to its betterment of the world.
Don’t believe us, read on!
The more we learn about our evolving world, the better way we can respond to its needs. We can keep ourselves abreast with the latest inventions, discoveries and solutions. We can make interesting cross-connections to bring the best results out. Learning creates a map of possibilities. This can help us improve our own skill-set and help those that seek our services in the best possible way.
A doctor who believes in lifelong learning and keeps herself updated across various pertinent topics can impact the world in many ways. She can use the latest medical intervention to save lives. She can find some interesting new applications for new technology and transform a medical procedure/practice. She could also use sustainable practices to reduce the waste generated at her hospital. And this is one person we are talking about. Imagine a world driven by a lifelong learning mindset!
If that video of the emaciated polar bear affected you as much as it did us, then we need to understand what sustainable practices we can use to save this planet.
It is imperative for all to learn far and wide about how human beings have affected the world. Armed with that knowledge, we need to redefine our ways, work to minimize the effect and reverse the deterioration around. From finding and employing alternative clean fuel and adopting sustainable fishing to reducing and recycling the waste we generate, there are many big and small ways in which we can make a difference. But the first step lies in being aware of what we can do through learning.
We live in a world where artificial intelligence drives cars and takes orders. How do we make the best use of it? How do we stay relevant in an automated world? How do we apply it for a better world? Can we streamline certain practices? Make our lives better? Or if you are a bit of a conspiracy theorist, how can we prevent a Terminator-like situation? To answer these questions, we need to understand how technology is changing the world.
There are many technologies that can have major positive implications. For instance, blockchain can help with identity security and creating a central database of medical histories that accessible from anywhere. If we fear technology or not familiarize ourselves with its many developments, we are denying ourselves a chance to create better and more robust systems.
We need to define our future– from the future of work to the future of food. Equipped with the right kind of knowledge, we can start movements or take measures to ensure the future, in the first place. We can direct the course of this future to bring the best outcome for the world. For instance, the farm to fork movement aims to bring ethically and organically-grown tasty food to the table. The remote work movement aims to help people’s lives and work to flow seamlessly. It reduces the cost of maintaining an office and minimizes the carbon footprint. The more you discover about the world, the more you can help propel one of these causes crusading for a better and more wholesome future.
Learning about other cultures and lifestyles helps us shed our biases against sections of society. The more we read and understand each other, we empathize with each other. And this kindness and association go a long way! It could have far-reaching consequences like preventing wars.
We live in a world where hate-speech, conflict and cultural tension are rampant. If we could instill education in the young and old, it deletes the differences and brings forth the similarities, creating strong communities. And this cross-border connection could finally bring about the world peace we all dream of.
Education empowers us with skills, productivity, mindfulness and decision making. This leads to a better lifestyle. When we become healthier, wealthier and wiser, we impact our families and friends. We create a holistic atmosphere where people bring out their best selves. In short, with lifelong education, we can create better people who create a better world for themselves and others around them.
While we always look at civic rights and responsibilities as the right to vote, duty to keep the street clean, etc., we often forget to define the bigger picture. And due to this myopic view, we see our planet in shambles and our lives in a fast-paced frenzy. We are forever trying to catch up and make things right, but never arriving there. When we learn, we build a bridge across this moat of helplessness, leading us to solutions.
If we want a better future, let us start learning about the world and its possible futures today. And armed with that, let’s bring on that positive change!