It has been seven years since I got out of college. Having studied film in a design school, I enjoyed my time at college. We discussed mise-en-scene and auteurs, and watched movies every day. I miss the heady rush of an intellectual discussion. I long for the hours spent in the library reading about storytelling. Time in college went by too soon.
Once it ended, it was to be the end of my education. Or so I thought!
I was not any different from many others who equate school and college to education. We aspire for high grades, cram books after books within those few years so that we can “have a good life after”.
The truth could not be farther away from that!
Consider the case of our bodies. School and college had sports and P.E. to keep us active. But, our real “physical education” begins when we add on those extra pounds near our love handles. Blame it on the lifestyle our paychecks afford or the increase in age. To keep our bodies strong, healthy and functional, we hit the gym. We stress over what the scales show and try to burn the calories we added with those greasy cheesy pizzas. And this continues well into old age in the form of physical therapy when the joints get stiff.
So, if we are taking care of our bodies day in and day out, why do we stop learning post-college?
The answer is simple. We shouldn’t.
The world is evolving. We have robots cooking dinner. Artificial intelligence is tapping into our choices for sharing recommendations. But what we learnt back in school and college was good old calculus and DOS. The only thing that can keep us updated is a lifelong learning mindset.
What is a lifelong learning mindset and why are we even talking about it?
A lifelong learning mindset is not the latest device you can buy from Amazon. It is a habit we all need to cultivate to continue our understanding of the world around us and how it works. Lifelong learning is a way in which you make learning a habit for life. It doesn’t stop with time or age.
Note: This does not mean you cram down books or write exams. This means, you cultivate curiosity about your environment and find ways to feed it. And this curiosity could save the world!
How can one develop a lifelong learning mindset? We don’t accept that education ended with school or college. We acknowledge that we live in a changing world and need to assimilate more information about it. Lifelong learning is about having growth mindset. We find ways in which we can gather knowledge and grow on a day-to-day basis.
Learning could start small. Subscribe to a news source, read the newspaper, join a MOOC or be a part of a community of learners. What is important is that you humbly accept that there’s a lot out there you don’t know about. And, you make regular efforts to find out more.
This understanding is crucial for our general knowledge, careers and for the world. This might sound a bit dramatic, but it is 100% true and here’s why:
Tapping into change to make our lives simpler, productive and better
Most houses have a washing machine today to avoid washing clothes by hand.
It was a better solution, saved time and did the job well.
Understanding the changes and assimilating them in our lives is similar. When the Internet launched, it was only a business tool. But soon, millions of people began to access the power of networked information from home. Today, AR/VR/MR technology is creating immersive experiences for various industries. While you may have heard of its use in gaming, did you know that VR is disrupting the field of medicine? From pain management to treating memory loss and rehabilitation, its applications are many! What do we know about it? How can we use it in our lives? Is there someone we know who can use this?
if we care to understand this technology, we can uncover the answer to these questions. This will help us connect the dots and see how we can improve our own lives and that of people we hold dear.
Staying ahead of the curve and being indispensable
We live in a world where there are “virtual influencers”. Yes, they are not real people. Shudu Gram and Lil Miquela are digital models with social following and brand backing. Who knows, they might soon be taking over our jobs! A robot can crunch numbers and do mechanical jobs many times faster than humans. Like the industrial revolution, this new wave will make a lot of manual labour redundant.
How do we stay relevant and make ourselves important cogs in the system? By staying ahead of the curve.
When we upskill ourselves, we will be able to keep up with the times. We will discover how to offer our unique insights and stay automation-proof.
There is one thing robots are yet to master — soft skills. And this is going to be a big differentiator in the future workplace. So, it is important to build these skills. Creativity, communication, analytical reasoning, collaboration skills, etc., will help us stay irreplaceable.
To make the world a better place
At the outset, this may sound like a tall order. But considering most of us are going to be around ten years from now, making the world a better place is important. Not only for the generations to come, but for our own survival on this planet.
The rapid changes in climate is a clarion call to stop our mindless consumerism. We don’t have many years left to preserve many endangered plant and animal species. Clean food, water and air are disappearing. The need of the hour is to find solutions to fix these problems.
It is important to keep ourselves updated about climate change, sustainability, biofuel, etc. This way we can minimise our carbon footprint and discover alternatives.
If we want to save ourselves and the planet we live on, we need to dig deep into what is happening around us. Yes, this may sound dire, but concentrated efforts from each one of us count to the greater good.
So, put on your curious caps. Sign up for a MOOC, start a learning module at work or join a community of learners to grow together. Whatever be your path, it’s time to make learning a habit for a better future.