Jul 11, 2017

Still Learning…

Bindu Kulkarni

I love challenges! I need change! I need to keep learning!

I dislike stagnation. Taking up new challenges like learning (something new) is difficult. It is exhausting at times! But then, why do I enjoy it? Is it the journey of learning or the hope of accomplishment at the end of the journey that keeps me going?

My latest learning pursuit is “Swimming”. It has been my childhood desire to learn swimming, but for the last so many years I was just sitting at the edge of the pool waiting to take the plunge. Finally, I decided to jump into the deep waters, take my baby steps into the unknown world, the world which so was inviting and beautiful at the surface but deep and scary at the bottom. My learning journey, my fight with discomfort and the joy of setting my new goal post has been indeed satisfying. To put this in ‘Guru Gyan’, swimming has helped me revisit the importance of the different stages of learning. So, here you go…

Stage 1 is the most difficult, uncomfortable and may just lead to surface level learning. It is difficult as we are trying to learn a new skill or an art that we are unaware of. The fear of the unknown is high. The effort required to move the needle is higher and many a times this dissuades us from continuing the journey. It needs conviction to keep going. Appreciation will not pour in easily, it’s just your will to excel that keeps you afloat. There will be people around you who would be much better than you. You may feel small, incapable but it is this stage that requires effort, grit, resilience to cross and the motivation to keep you going. It needs the art to stay float when you have not learnt the knack to move your handsand& legs to cross the ocean.

Stage 2 is the stage of enjoyment and accomplishment. It gives one a feeling of joy and a sense of achievement. One is no longer afraid of failure and may be ready to pick up newer challenges to stretch, but it can also lead to stagnation, if the desire for improvement is missing. To move to the next stage of mastery, this level is very important. This is a stage of deep learning, where one needs to learn the technique of going deeper and exploring the subject of study at newer depths. It is the stage of enjoying the underwater corals, which are not visible at the surface but can only be experienced in the deep waters. This is a phase which needs a lot of reflection and a coach, collaborator or friend to the enhance learning.

The last stage is the stage of mastery. It requires dedication to reach to this level and years of effort and hard work (10000 hours?). Many do not reach this level as they are satisfied by their achievements of the earlier stage and /or refuse to put in hours, days and years of effort to become a master. A master is respected and many a times becomes a leader, a teacher or a role model for others. Humility and not arrogance is the trait required at this stage to be a successful master or learner for life. Being able to disseminate knowledge and the quest for self-renewal will keep the learner in the master alive.

It is in our hands to decide whether we want to be a novice, an expert or a master! This decides how we enjoy the journey and push ourselves to excel. The learning journey is not easy but it is our journey and it’s in our interest to enjoy. Live life to the fullest, fulfil your desires, take the plunge and learn something new. Keep the fire on!

As far as swimming goes… I am still learning!

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