"Getting better is a process that never stops. It's the reason why I get up every morning and head out there for training" Said Sachin Tendulkar after his historical 200 in ODI ! That is definitely a topic to think, mull over and ruminate and then "Learn from it" !
Think of it, a man with most number of runs, centuries, records and awards in the history of Cricket talks about getting better. And he has proved he means every word of it. He has got better and better and then BETTER! The reason for his name, game and fame is this... Getting Better !
Learning is a process as vital as life itself. I just love the word 'Learning'. While at school, I always wondered why the word 'Studying' was used at all. That to me sounded like a punishment. "I am studying in sixth standard". Most of the kids look so solemn and so lost; there never was any fun in it.
I realized 'Learning' was a better word and 'Studying' was a poor cousin. You study something when circumstances force you to; but you learn something because you want to ! This is what I feel about these two words.
My English and vocabulary aren't as good as those of Shashi Tharoor and neither am I as smart as him. So let me be pardoned if my version is not acceptable to someone.
Learning starts with life, that is from the womb; and it continues till death and ends in the tomb! A newborn baby has to learn every bit about life from the moment it is born. It starts with the 'Cry'. The cry is vital to life, because that is when the hitherto unacclimatized lungs learn to breathe. The cry then helps the baby to communicate with the mother; hunger, thirst, discomfort and everything.
Then comes the sucking of breast-milk. The sleep, the smile and all the milestones. The milestones of a baby's growth that make the parents happy and proud are but a continued process of learning. Why do we all enjoy this ? Because we are 'Learning' and NOT Studying !
Even as the baby is learning to grow up, the parents too are learning. Learning about parenting and about the responsibilities of parenthood. At any socioeconomic level, in any society, country or religion; growing up of a baby is a special feeling and nothing can better it.
Every baby is born special and smart. Perhaps our education that demands studying rather than learning makes us dumb. I have discussed in an earlier post "Mathematics: Cutting the Diamond simplified" how vision in teaching can turn the dull and drab studying into an enjoyable learning process!
As we progress, a lot of people think we have learned everything. Well, to be precise, 'Studied everything'. This feeling is the beginning of the end of progress. I remember a very talented pace-bowler from Karnataka who shot to fame during the boom-time of Karnataka Cricket in the 90s.
His name was David Johnson. He was quick and he swung the ball both ways and bowled a good bouncer. The BCCI sent him to the Dennis Lillee Pace Academy in Chennai to train better. He left the Academy within a short span claiming, "I have learned EVERYTHING". This attitude irked T. A. Shekar the Coach and he was disappointed. Just look at David Johnson's career stats. Well, no need actually. He hardly had any career at all! The importance of Sachin Tendulkar's words become evident here !
Lack of opportunities is a common refrain used by lazy people. I love the quotable quote, "You are unlucky if you are born poor, but you are a fool if you die one". The urge to improve oneself forms the foundation of a successful life. Nothing new learned is ever a loss; we never know when it comes handy.
I developed a fascination for Computers when I was finding it difficult to get a break in my Post-Graduate Entrance Examinations. I never got a PG seat. But what I got instead was a flair for the Technology. That meant I was quicker in picking up the nuances of newer testing methods and the use of Computer aided technology in Medical Field. This has created a place of my own for me in my institution.
But is this enough ? No, I have to keep learning something; some new thing and sometimes even old things ! At the risk of sounding Philosophical in the '3 Idiots' mood, I don't believe life is a race. Life is rather like 'running on a treadmill'.
We have to keep on running on the treadmill. The speed might increase and the inclination might go upwards, but we have to cope up and keep up. If we don't, we fall down ! We can decide the speed and the inclination to suit us, but never give up on learning and never stop running ! Running keeps one 'Fit and Fine' !
The process of learning continues with age. Learning to adjust to new school, new friends, new jobs and everything new. Teen-age brings teen-aches. Youth brings responsibilities. Adulthood brings added weight. Middle-age brings insecurities. Older we get; pains, illnesses and sufferings increase.
Every born individual has to go through these if one lives long enough. Looking at some extraordinary and eminent people going through extremely difficult days in old-age has convinced me about the futility of 'Carrying Ego' !
Death is the final and definite frontier and not a single human has crossed and 'Outlived' it ! But does the process of learning end here ? Yes and No ! 'Yes' only to the one who has died and 'No' to all the others.
Life goes on and the process of learning goes on. The kith and kin have to learn to live with the pain and sorrows and without their loved ones. This too is learning, howsoever painful it is. And this pain and final and binding truth also comes with a lot of wisdom !
If we keep our mind, eyes, ears and all the senses open and alert; we keep learning something every moment of life! And that to me is the essence of life itself; Learning is Living !