December 27, 2011

Purposeless Learning


I love learning. It’s one of my favourite things to do. When I retire, I’m going back to university. Usually I want to learn something because I’ve had a little taste of it and (a) I’m just plain curious or (b) I want to learn it so I can apply it to my work or personal life.

I’m one of those people that actually read those thick manuals that used to come with new computer games before I did the install. There was a purpose. I knew what I wanted to do and just had to learn how to apply it. Learn and then apply - the better the learning, the better the application. I’ve been good at it my whole life.

This year learning changed for me. I began learning lots of things without really knowing if:
  • I was even interested in the topic
  • I could apply it
  • it made sense to apply it
  • there were any benefits to the learning at all
Lately I’ve caught myself saying to people, “You just have to try it for a while to ‘get it’.” (Can you guess what I’m talking about?) A couple of years ago I would not have been so open to the ‘just try it’ approach myself.

Change happens so fast these days. To stay fresh and keep up, sometimes we need to learn first and figure out what the purpose or value is later.

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