The L word

Learning is about inspiration, not information!

You are never really “done” learning. Learning is a constant process that keeps your mind alive and functioning. It can be thought of as breathing for your brain, once you stop doing it, your brain becomes dead<so to speak!> Idle mind is a devils playground. And when you stop assimilating knowledge, your brain becomes idle and starts wandering off in unproductive directions with you having no control over them!

When you do not feed your mind important, informative, intellectual <and other words starting from i that’ll make you think I’m smart> things to think about, it’ll usually result in you pondering over problems and overthinking, which is not healthy for either you or your brain. Keep your mind busy enough so it does not have time to think and worry about all the things that do not exist. Overthinking causes you to worry about the most unlikely scenarios <Imagine some witty example of why overthinking is a mess!>

We can all agree that education system, which says it is teaching something to kids, is heavily flawed. A bunch of kids — each definitely unique in their own ways, with obviously different interests, and who will all take varied amounts of time to comprehend and learn something are taught the same thing over a same period of time and are tested on the basis of their understanding of that! In my opinion, these tests determine the ability of the teacher to convey the information more than the student’s intellectual ability. <Many Indians nodding furiously in approval>

Since the obvious choice of learning seems to be below par, what do we do? Well, the Internet is a wonderful place to turn to at this time. We are fortunate to be a part of a world where you can Google anything and information about it appears for free, at your convenience.

Think about it, Internet is like your portable library+personal advisor+intellectual partner in crime.

In a world where information is so easily and readily available, the irony is that not many access and make use of it. We instead use the Internet for social media stalking and validation purposes. There’s nothing wrong with that but I urge you to take one small break from that routine and to focus on learning something new. It is a very small change in your life that could lead to many good things.


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People don’t know what they want

Recently, I came across a friend who was very much engrossed in his smartphone. In fact, he was interacting more with the phone than me. I jokingly challenged him to stay off his smartphone for a week — like completely off (maybe, use a basic phone just for calls!) He laughed at it; I told him that I was serious and we could involve some money in the bet too. His face changed and he said, “I could stay off food for a week not my phone.” And continued texting away. This got me thinking, how and when did a smartphone become more important to a human life than food? (Well technically, it isn’t because you’d die if you don’t eat!)

So, I wanted to know if a lot of people feel the same. I asked a lot of people — friends, family and acquaintances. And I came with an answer and it was an overwhelming ‘Yes!’ There are many different types of people that you meet, and chances are most of them feel like their lives revolve around their phones. I’m talking about smartphones; it might as well be anything else — their laptops or the ‘internet’ (or WiFi), or the Whats App, Facebook, anything else… We are so involved and caught up in this virtual society; it feels like we are trapped.

The reason for this is people don’t know what they want unless told. You give someone (who hasn’t used a laptop) a laptop and tell them, this is an absolute need and that they would find it extremely helpful, they WILL believe you. In fact, a couple of weeks down the line, they’d be inseparable from the laptop and probably thank you for introducing them to it. This is exactly what advertising companies do; they lead you to believing that you need something even if you actually don’t. Look at our parents who didn’t have smartphones/laptops/TVs when they were growing up, and they turned out just fine.

Yes yes, I understand these innovations have their advantages but is it really something worth giving up food (Being metaphorical here!) for?

It is not. Simple as that. The phone that you use is a tool to make your life easier, a device to reduce your workload and thereby reduce stress. It is nothing more than a piece of finely crafted microprocessor, micro-controllers and other circuits to make you deal with your tasks better. But right now these instruments are causing anxiety, depression and make an individual question the purpose of their existence. The number of likes for your photo matters more than the way you conduct yourself in public and the tweet with the maximum number of re-tweets is having a greater impact than the rightful opinions of the masses.

We are so easily influenced, so easily manipulated, so easily tricked into believing anything that is thrown at us. We have been naive, malleable and really really stupid. But we can change that — stop letting the keyboard warriors to tell you that you aren’t good enough, stop thinking the number of likes on that photo is a measure of your beauty, stop letting the companies fool you and trick you into believing that you ‘need’ their product. And make sure that you only buy the things that you absolutely need and not because your friends have bought it or because the society thinks you need it.

Stay informed. Be smart.