Learning is not reserved for those attending schools and colleges; it is a lifelong activity that adds value to our lives, writes PULKIT SHARMA
Many of us believe that we have acquired enough skills, knowledge, and wisdom to face the challenges of a lifetime. With a sense of relief and self-pride, we hope this skillset will bring our existence to fruition, helping us function smoothly forever. But then, there are times when to our utter dismay, we realise that what we have learnt and practised for years is not helping us. It could be a discord in an intimate relationship, complexities at our workplace, or a feeling of being a misfit in our social group. Confronting such challenges is not easy but what makes them excruciatingly painful is the realisation that we have failed. During these moments, rather than conceding defeat, we should try something different — shake off our flawed assumptions, embrace reason and rediscover hope.
Life is never static — it continues to change and evolve. In order to match its pace, we must reinvent ourselves at every stage. Our learning must continue across our lifespan, so that we live authentically, meaningfully, and joyfully.
When we open ourselves to new learnings at each stage of life, we can stay mentally fit, upgrade our skills, and respond to new challenges effectively. At a purely physiological level, as we learn any new skill, additional neuronal pathways are formed in our brains and there is an increase in our efficiency and self-belief.
Going further, we start feeling incredibly positive about ourselves and curious about the world we live in. These happy feelings boost our spirits and give us a new lease of life. A stronger spirit empowers us to navigate all ups and downs of life unwaveringly. Therefore, let us not look at learning as an arduous task, but let’s encourage ourselves to welcome it as an integral part of life.
If you were to go through the biographies of people who changed the world, you will find a common thread coalescing them — the drive to keep on learning forever. The names of these people are too many to recount here, but the bottomline is that you are never too old to learn.
Jalaluddin Rumi says that weaning ourselves from the old way of life and searching for a new meaning at every step is the way forward: “Little by little, wean yourself. This is the gist of what I have to say. From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood, move to an infant drinking milk, to a child on solid food, to a searcher after wisdom, to a hunter of more invisible game.” As you age, many opportunities come your way gradually — beckoning you to go deeper and look at yourself and the world perceptively. If you allow yourself to be spurred by them, an inspiration to change the course of your life and learn new things gushes over your being. Within this process of incessant learning lies the secret of living the adventure called life, to its fullest. The more you learn, the more you blossom.
?■ The writer is a clinical psychologist in Puducherry