Be a baby, or learn like a baby?
We live in a day and age where we as human beings try to find out how we can maximize our learning capabilities in order to stay relevant on the market. At this very moment, there are thousands of ambitious minds surfing the web trying to find information on how to learn effectively.
The irony of this is that learning is what we have been doing since we were babies. From the moment that we were born, we unconsciously started a life-long process of learning.
Even though babies are blank sheets of paper waiting to be filled with information, they still offer us a lesson in the purest forms of learning. Let us take a look at what we have to learn from them:
“Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.” – Bill Cosby
Watching is inevitable to learning. Seeing someone doing something, and then redoing it, is as old of a form of learning as the dawn itself. When you see a baby looking intensely at something it hasn’t seen before, you can see the focus and effort put in to trying to understand it and observe its behavior. With time the baby will start putting into practice what it has seen. How do you think the evil eye baby learned to give that look?
With new technology, learning by watching has been taken to new heights. Things like MIT lectures have become very popular on YouTube, as well as many computer related tutorials. It’s actually such a good way of learning that I put up an entire section on my website dedicated to math video tutorials. If nothing else, seeing is a good start, and will begin to give you an intuition of what is to ahead. If video tutorials haven’t been a part of your learning base thus far, I sincerely suggest you give it a try.
“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and begin all over again.” – Ander Gide
Listening is the second form of learning for babies. As mentioned before, a baby is like a blank sheet of paper waiting to be filled with information. We should never stop being a blank sheet of paper, but when we grow up, we have the luxury of looking closer into some of the things we hear, and thereby decide if we erase it from our papers.
Surround yourself with positive and enthusiastic people, and you learn more than you ever thought was possible, just by listening.
“He who asks is stupid for a second he who doesn’t ask is stupid forever” – Someone
My baby cousin once asked me if there were two moons. I told him no, there is only one moon, why would you think that there are two? He said because there is one moon that is only half and one moon that is a full moon. Kids will keep asking, and so should we. Don’t let society tell you what’s ok to ask and what’s not.
Also, in order to take in information from other people, it is crucial that we keep an open mind and willingness to learn.
I once went to a seminar to see the world famous James Randi. He told a joke about how PHD graduates know everything except for saying the words “I don’t know”. The moral of the story is that in order to learn from other people, we must be at humble state of mind, not thinking that we a superior to anyone because we have a paper that says we have this or that education. We should be especially careful not to dismiss what our parents tell us.
Ask people, and learn from them.
Try new things
“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” – Someone
You ever wondered why babies want to put things in their mouth. It’s because they want to learn. In fact, the whole reason that babies play is because they want to learn and explore new things. I am not insisting that you start putting things in your mouth like a baby, but make sure that you don’t get scared of exploring new things in life. Don’t get stuck in your old ways, get out your comfort zone, that’s the only way we grow as people.
Do what you are passionate about
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”- Hebbel (German poet)
We all know that when babies play, they play what they want to play. When a baby gets tired of a toy, it simply puts it away. In the same manner, we shouldn’t force ourselves to do things in life that we are not passionate about, because that hinders our learning curves.
Hard work is the essence to all great accomplishments, and if you don’t have a spark for what you are trying to learn, then you won’t put in the hard work, and then your results are doomed to be feeble as well.
Be a baby my friend.