In many of my previous articles, I have talked about the importance of learning and how learning is more important than winning or losing the game. But so often the definition of learning is misinterpreted which is why I am gonna talk about what real learning is actually all about.
The biggest roadblock is that we already assume we know everything about everything. I am pretty sure if I had to ask you what do you mean by ‘learning’ then you’d already have a pretty long and rusty answer ready with you already.
And when we think we already know something then we even stop pretending to listen to any new source of information on the same topic as we are so sure of our delusional self. If you say you know what learning is then that itself is a testament to the fact that you don’t really know what the essence of learning really is.
Learning is something that can never really end till one’s dying breath. Even the very definition of learning is gonna keep on changing with time and the one who’s actually open to learning is gonna keep on upgrading the same to be in sync with it, and those who think they already know it all are gonna get left behind.
The Fake Learning
What most of us perceive learning to be is totally nonsense. Learning isn’t what school or college talks about. Learning isn’t simply mugging up things and vomiting them out in your exams to get good grades or prestigious degrees or society’s approval or fancy cheques.
Just stuffing your mind with abundant information about something to boost your ego or to show off amongst your friends and relatives again isn’t real learning.
Now, there’s a difference between the kind of learning normally talked about and the learning I am talking about. People talk about the ‘mechanical’ way of learning and I am talking about the real essence of learning, which basically implies ‘learning’ in life.
This kind of learning process that most people generally go through, is inspired either by greed or fear.
Normally, a person would learn something—be it any device, machine, a course, or a curriculum—either because of the goodies he is gonna get once he completes x,y,z thing or because he is afraid that if he doesn’t do the needful he will be labeled as a failure in society.
The majority of the people go to college either because they want a high-paying job, social status, want to boost their ego, or because they have a fear of not knowing what they are gonna do otherwise, or perhaps the parental and society’s pressure.
So, proceeding ahead on the path they have chosen, they might very well become adept in a particular technology or a field and even make a good living out of it as well, but that’s what mechanical learning is all about. You know, like, learning to drive a car.
Mechanical learning can help you grow in whatever field you are in, but it won’t teach you how to make the most out of your life. Learnings related to life, understanding the nitty-gritty details of what life is all about is what I am referring to as the essence of learning or ‘real learning’.
Why Real Learning?
Well, it’s kinda self-explanatory now, isn’t it? You can be the master of your field or whatever game you are in, but what about life? I mean, becoming good in your career is amazing, but what’s even more amazing is becoming good in the subject of life. And that’s what the true essence of real learning is all about.
The funny part is that nobody teaches us about this kind of learning, neither any schools, colleges will ever talk about anything like this nor will you discuss it with your family or relatives. So, naturally, right from our childhood we are only exposed to the mechanical type of learning.
Of course, it ain’t gonna be a walk in the park when you start digging about how one actually learns in the realm of life. And let me tell you this as well, don’t be under the misguided impression that you are gonna become a master of life and would grasp everything about what learning is all about just after reading this one article. That’s a fool’s errand, so stay away from such expectations.
This article is to simply shed some light on the fact that learning is not just about taking in a bunch of raw data, processing it, and showing a slightly distinct output. That’s what a mechanical robot does too. It will intake data, run its algorithms to process it and show the desired output.
The Problem with Mechanical Learning
Now, mechanical learning can surely come in handy in certain aspects of life, but living your entire life like a pre-programmed robot simply sucks! Unfortunately, that’s the grim reality nowadays.
People read something in the newspaper or watch some videos about a certain topic, form some beliefs which are going to be based on the information already stored in their overflowing minds, and simply spew out the results at the slightest nudge.
You must have noticed such people around you who have something to say on every darn topic. They might actually have no clue about it, but still, that doesn’t inhibit them in any way whatsoever to shower their unsolicited views without any prior thinking.
Most of us actually behave like rather pathetic search engines. All they need is a keyword entered into their systems and they start puking information—based on their preconceived notions and beliefs and ideologies—in all directions. They always have to throw some results, not giving a damn whether that result is actually even relevant or not.
When it comes to mechanical learning, you simply go and scan your memory, match the consequent keywords as per the queries you entered and showcase whatever you have already stored in there as it is. But in real learning, you still use your memory to juggle between the words but only to make an entirely new meaning out of the existing set of raw data stored which will be based on reality.
Clear Thinking is a Sign of Real Learning
Most people learn about life in a mechanical way only. They would read a ton of books, articles, or videos and then pretend to understand what’s being said. But the problem with that strategy is that different sources of information are gonna talk about different strategies and different thought processes.
And the results of that will be an even more disordered and confused mind, which isn’t what real learning is all about. If you are simply engulfing my thoughts in your mind and comparing it with what you read in a book or what someone said somewhere else, then you are not really learning anything, you are simply confusing yourself even more.
The essence of real learning is when it can kill confusion right from the root and make the mind sharp. So, that itself will be proof that you are headed in the right direction. But if you are more confused than ever, and are miles away from thinking clearly then probably you aren’t learning the right way.
If you are trying to memorize what I am saying or what anyone else is saying and then you are trying to apply it in real-life situations directly from what you stored in your memory then you haven’t really grasped the essence of learning.
Life Ain’t Mechanical
You can learn about a device or a particular field mechanically, but when it comes to life, there simply are so many variables in play that it’s impossible to learn about life mechanically. There ain’t no manuals, cheat codes, blueprints, or guides to living life.
I can’t tell you how exactly you can be successful. I don’t know how you should convince your parents to let you do what you want to. Nobody can tell you what you should do to pick yourself up after a rough breakup.
And the reason is straightforward. Only you and you alone know what your strengths, skills, and talents are, only you know your parents better than anyone else, and only you know how strong your relationship was. Nobody can exactly hand you a map showing you each and every turn to take at every point in life.
For each and every destination there are infinite paths to choose from and nobody can choose it for you. The only person who knows the truth about his conditions and circumstances is the person himself. So, stop asking for mechanical solutions to problems that aren’t mechanical in the first place.
This goes for you as well. Don’t be under the misguided impression that just because you read a handful of books, a couple of articles, and a dozen of videos, you can now solve the problems of people around you. That’s being delusional.
That’s why I love this quote by Galileo Galilei, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” How true is that!
You don’t need to Memorize Everything
Like we discussed before, simply copying and pasting things from your memory and putting it out isn’t real intelligence. So, essentially you don’t really have to feed everything you come across in your memory as a badge of honor to show off to the entire world.
The real essence of learning isn’t about whose memory is the strongest, but it is actually about the way you interpret that information stored in your memory. You simply have to absorb things, acknowledge them, and once you understand them, then you don’t really have to carry it around with yourself ingrained in your memory for the rest of your life.
It’s exactly like when you go to a gym, you simply do some sets and leave the weights where they were and come back home with better muscle power than before. You don’t take the weights with you everywhere you go to show the world how much you trained. It will simply be visible in your body structure.
Just like this, when you put your mental muscles under stress and do some mental exercise, then that act of exercise itself is the real learning. You don’t have to mug it up, the learning will already be visible in the way you live your life, provided you actually grasped the underlying meaning of what you consumed.
So, whenever you are reading a good book, watching an intellectual video, or even reading my blog, you don’t have to pay attention to the words being used and memorize them, but instead, you have to progress step by step and see the underlying meaning behind those words, understand it, and then leave it all behind.
Once you really understand something, you don’t have to keep it in your memory. Words, sentences, phrases are simply mediums to help transmit that understanding. So stop looking at things through memory, and don’t stress your memory too much.
Beware of This
So, the next time, if you come across videos like ‘different levels of consciousness’ or ‘the distinct levels of thought power’ or anything that seems too complex, full of baseless data and numbers, and out of your experience, then that isn’t likely to elevate your learning mechanism.
If you pay close attention to my blog, or even this article itself, I haven’t tried to woo you with some fancy definition or some out-of-this-world mystical notion, I have simply tried to decipher the reality in the easiest way possible. That’s why you can relate to it very well and that’s why you don’t actually need to memorize anything from my articles.
Essentially, if you walked with me step by step along with my thought process and saw what I was trying to show you, then that’s a complete process of learning in itself. You can either mug it up or leave it, it doesn’t matter.
People get frustrated when they can’t remember the concepts they read in a book. It’s actually funny. You don’t need to remember each and every nuance of it, simply understand it and blend it with your life. As simple as that. You don’t need to remember what the name of the process was, as long as you understood what it conveyed.
The Right Way to Mentally Exercise
When you push your brain to memorize each and every lesson you come across, you are simply burdening it with unnecessary and redundant weight.
If there is an actual problem in your life, then at that particular moment you don’t have to stop and remember what you read here or anywhere else. Ideally, your brain should be totally empty and should be laser focussed on the problem alone.
When you become one with the problem itself, then that’s where you start getting answers.
Just like if you have to fight physically with someone, then all that matters at that particular moment is to use those big muscles of yours you developed over a period of time and fight your best. You are not gonna sit and ponder about the training period when your opponent is ready to knock you out unless you wanna be beaten down to a pulp.
So, you don’t have to be like a ‘know it all’ who is ever ready to throw a bunch of ‘wise quotes’ on every occasion, you simply have to have a clear mind, ready to use all your muscle powers into solving whatever problems you are facing at the moment.
Questioning the Answers is Real Learning
Most people are of the opinion that if they can have as many answers to as many questions, then that’d make them super intelligent or something. But, of course, that’s not the case.
You see, real learning isn’t about giving answers, it’s about questioning the validity of those answers. “Do they make sense anymore? Are the answers still aligned with reality?” and so on.
Anyone can simply feed on a bunch of raw data and blow it out, but only the ones who truly fathom the true essence of real learning ever get to the bottom of it and genuinely ask the right kind of questions. Most people simply hold on to one side of the situation, but when you start questioning, you start looking at a single situation from multiple perspectives, giving you a better outlook about the scenario in order to make a better decision. When you start looking at things this way, you don’t get any sure-shot answers, and that itself is real learning.
Acquiring knowledge through any books, videos, or even blogs is all second-hand knowledge in a way. You were simply handed this knowledge on a silver platter without any effort from your side. Real learning is not about feeding on this second-hand knowledge, but being original.
And questioning the very second-hand knowledge is the access gate for you to taste what real learning actually looks like. So, it all boils down to the fact that whether you wanna be a second-hand person or an original person?
Now, who is an Original Person?
An original person is someone who isn’t busy telling the whole world how big of a genius he is or boasting the so-called knowledge he has amassed over the years. An original person is one who’s busy improving his own life and making himself better in all spheres of life.
Someone who’s constantly evolving and changing. Someone who doesn’t try to hold onto certain sets of beliefs, ideas, ideologies, and understands the importance of unlearning.
Ironical, right? Yeah, it is. Real learning also involves unlearning notions and thought processes that are no longer helping you in any way and are hindering your growth. People who are so-called intelligent hold very dearly to the information and knowledge they have stored so far that they are just not ready to let them go, even if that means staying stagnant all their lives.
The very knowledge and information they brag about actually become the reason for their own downfall. So, unlearning is also a part of being original. Strive to be an original person, and not a bookish person claiming to be intelligent.
Limitation of Knowledge
A person who’s actually indulging in real learning will see the limitation of knowledge using the very same knowledge. Knowledge can never be conclusive about any particular subject. The things you look at from one perspective will perceive to be entirely different when looked at from another perspective.
The simple reason is that the instrument is limited in our case. When we look at the space around us, we think it’s empty, but when the very same space is looked at from a microscope, a whole other world comes into existence. The more you realize how limited knowledge is, the more you are actually learning.
The simple point being, our life is based upon the actions we take, our actions are based upon the thoughts we have, and our thoughts are based upon the information and knowledge we acquire. So, in order for us to be able to live the ‘perfect’ life, we need to take ‘perfect’ actions which demand ‘perfect’ thoughts, which require the intake of ‘perfect’ knowledge.
But just now we established the fact that knowledge can never be conclusive. So, do you see the irony? We are intaking the knowledge that ‘knowledge’ itself is incomplete. Hence, stop stressing too much about not being able to live a perfect life, you never will be in total control of your life, and that’s totally fine. Ain’t that a relief?
When neither you nor anybody around you has the ‘perfect’ knowledge of anything for that matter, then how does it matter if you are unable to live a perfect life, you might as well live a perfectly imperfect life. That’s true learning! Go make some mistakes without being ashamed about it or undermine yourself about it, because you probably already are making some at the moment, and so am I.