Tag Archives: education

The league of successful “Autodidacts”



Upgrade – Reboot – Repeat: The process for continuous self progress


 

 

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As per a recent report from the World Health Organization, life expectancy continues to grow globally with no signs of slowing down. It appears that the global life expectancy has increased from 64 years in 1990 to 74 years in 2011. And developed countries can comfortably add another 15 – 18 years to that number.

What does this mean to an average person in terms of their knowledge and keeping up with the rapidly changing world fueled with exponential growth in almost every aspect of our lives? Well, to understand the intensity of this major impact in our lives, we need to reflect upon the development and progress we have experienced in the past and the time line associated with this progress.

Just some 30 odd years ago in the early 1980’s the world was a much different place with ideas, systems and technologies that were being developed against skepticism, opposition and perhaps doubt as well. The world was at early stages of accepting Hip Hop into the main stream music, Sony Walkman was perhaps the coolest gadget to possess, IBM released their first personal computer, Apple Macintosh wasn’t released yet, the cold war was the major fear factor being hawked to the otherwise peaceful public going about making ends meet, and the former Soviet Union’s KGB were being portrayed in the movies as invasive and authoritative figures who intimidate to keep a very close eye on every individual or citizen and the USA was projected to be the exact opposite.  The below pictures of Shanghai and Dubai speaks to how the major business hubs looked then compared to today.

Shanghai Then and Now

 Shanghai

Dubai Then and Now

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And if we were to look at the world just another 30 years ago in the 1950’s it seems to be struggling for less than half of the luxuries the world enjoyed in the 1980’s. Barely crawling out of the world war and depression with people looking for jobs and rapidly migrating to new cities in search of a living.

What truly is amazing is that it appears that the world had completely changed in just about 30 year cycle and morphed into something that is very different. And most of us expect to live past 60 years. That’s two cycles of total paradigm shifts that impacts the thinking, lifestyles, objectives, and to certain aspects the social values and political structures. In some aspects it appears that the knowledge being instilled in us is already outdated by the time we are in our 30’s depending on the time lines we choose to compare.

And in today’s world of exponential and rapid growth we are often found caught between the shifting processes where by the time we learn a particular system and become fluent with it, we are already required to begin to learn the new upgraded to updated version of the same. It appears the shift timeline is now diminished from 30 to perhaps 5 years. We are now forced to keep learning continuously and staying abreast of the latest and greatest in several aspects of our life or face the threat of being discarded as an old PC or the first generation iPhone. It is now imperative to be educated and updated to merely survive. Whether you want to keep your job, get a job, use a phone, watch television, or keep up with the inquisitive minds of our children or even travelling, you are required to learn and quickly adapt to the new and latest in each of these aspects in our lives.

Now, the process of learning and educating ourselves has also evolved. The internet and mobile browsers has taken the excuse of “ignorance” out of our lives. If we do not know something it is most likely because we haven’t taken the time to google and learn about it. And unfortunately we are often surrounded by those who have taken the time to learn this and take the liberty to quickly evaluate our lack of knowledge and thus judge our attitude towards change and learning. Those of us who haven’t managed to re-educate ourselves are faced with loosing arguments, stagnant careers, slow progress, and basic social securities and social status being threatened. The Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid seems to be much wider in the middle and amidst a major morphing process.

So for an individual in today’s world it is absolutely imperative to re-educate ourselves and learn the new and unknown. More than just learning we have to change our thinking and begin to accept change and new concepts, processes and values in several aspects of life. Today the world believes that if it isn’t broken, BREAK IT and rebuild it better and the way we like it. Today technology is not about making life easier. Technology is now influencing and changing social dynamics. A series of algorithms in Facebook alters social behavior patterns. If you want to know how much money a public company has made, all you have to do is look at their financial reports on line, and this report also tells you how much the top executives make in this given company. You can snoop around LinkedIn to see who is working where and what they do for living along with their career growth and progression. You get multiple reports on a particular political situation or revolt. The media reports one perspective, people on the growth update a different view on Facebook and others tweet the live events as they happen. The new generation are no longer interested in learning how to drive a car, instead before they learn to drive they are more interested in what technological features and energy efficient these vehicles are. Career choices are not made in terms of how much money they will make, but the new generation is more interested in what they represent and lifestyle choices.

Change is not an option. And educating ourselves and staying aware and current is absolutely essential. It doesn’t matter you like it or not. If you are feeling left behind, all you do is “Reboot”. Clear your existing cache of knowledge and upgrade yourself right now. Everything around has shifted. The new economic superpower in China, India is not a poor country, USA has the largest Debt, the richest nation in the world is a tiny Arabian Peninsula called Qatar, the most educated country in the world is Canada with 50% of the population with post-secondary education, and USA and Iran president spoke directly with each other for the 1st time in 30 years this week. Our opinions have to change and we need to be more accepting of changes and be better informed. You can do this now or wait to be educated by your child who has put the mobile browser to better use. And these young minds will be changing the world much more in the next 30 years. Also what they are learning now will be outdated by then.

But getting better educated isn’t of any use if you do not accept it and use the information to change and progress. You have to learn to let go of the old information you hold so dearly to make way for the new. Here is an example to consider. The world’s top cause of death is Ischemic heart disease. And the most common cause of ischemic heart disease is when the arteries responsible for blood flow to the heart become stiff, narrowed and sometimes blocked by the buildup of fatty deposits or plaques. The major cause of this has been linked to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat. All of which is due to lifestyle choices mostly prevalent in the developed and fairly educated nations of the world. What good is this piece of knowledge if we do not change for the better?

Upgrade, Reboot, Repeat! _ Its not a choice. Its the only option.


Are you a blind follower? Living a life with a leader’s mindset.


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Do you have a leaders mind set or a follower’s attitude? Do you believe what you are told or shown or do you seek to educate yourself better with balanced and fact based information? Our lives in many ways take upon the designs that our mind allows it to form. The choices you make, your opinions, reactions to life events, and progress through your life is dependent on your mind set and the attitude you take towards your personal life and growth.  The mindset and attitude we take towards each aspect of our life bears a serious consequence on the outcomes.

Many systems in life are about following. Law, religion, government, processes and work are mostly about following rather than leading. But the successful people in life and people who do greater things in life are those who take a leaders mind set to these aspects of life.  These are the kind of people who bring about change in their personal lives and at times change other people life as well, they inspire, do something different and inspirational, and forever leave a mark that brings about better things in life and change things from old to new.

What is a leaders mind set? Well, a leaders mind is much different from that of a followers mind. A leaders mind consists of a few key behaviours in thinking and ideas. Namely:

Learn: They always try to learn and acquire more knowledge about things. And often they take it upon themselves to learn from various sources to form a balanced opinion as opposed to ask and blindly believe what they are told.

Question: They do not blindly follow things. They ask questions and seek to know why it is so? They have a greater need to understand things in life.

Reason: They thrive on what makes sense to them and adheres to some form of logic. It has to make reason to them. They cannot accept a thing that doesn’t make a good valid case and reason.

Thinkers: They prefer to think things out. They take the time to think things over before they choose a reaction. They tend to ponder a bit more and evaluate things clearly before they say or do anything.

Observant:  They observe people and events very keenly. They do not jump to conclusions or from instantaneous opinions. They calmly observe, think, question and take a higher perspective of what they observe. It helps them see beyond the obvious and often see what others miss.

Reflecting: They like to draw from their experiences and learning’s. They try to reflect upon their pasts and other peoples experiences. The value and remember the right and wrong decisions of the past and project balanced view of eventualities in the future.

Balanced: They are balanced individuals. They tend to take a broader perspective and think of different possibilities and point of views before they take a stance. They do not like to make extreme judgements or favor any extreme point of views. They rather fall back on a balanced opinion.

Decision Making: They strive to take rational decisions rather than emotional ones. And they are firm on their decisions once they have put it through the above processes of thinking.

Courage & Confidence: The display a certain level of courage and confidence in executing their decisions once they are convinced that it is the right thing to do. They remain determined and willingly face and overcome the challenges that they may find in their path to success.

There are no great followers. There are only great leaders. The problems with religions and several such governing systems or theories are that there are too many blind followers and very little leadership mindset applied to them. For example in following a religion: people rather ask others and believe what they say about their own faith and follow them blindly as opposed to read themselves what their books preach, think about it and develop sensible balanced ideas to from better educated opinions.  Similarly, many of us tend to form a sweeping opinion about other people’s cultures and values based on a single event or piece of news flashed in a media.

We are absolutely out of excuses for ignorance in today’s world. You can thank the internet, Google, or any search engine for that. Everything you say can be verified through a mobile browser instantaneously and you will be called out if your statements are not right. Yes, you can be a follower on twitter or like a zillion things on face book today. But when it comes to your opinions, values, statements, and behaviours, you cannot go far with an ignorant or a blind follower’s mindset.

Growth and progress in life is only achieved by learning, questioning, and understanding the facts. Success happens with a lot of hard work and the hard work goes into developing many of the above mentioned leadership characteristics. In the world of today, even the most sensible and valued ideas are questioned and challenged. Understanding the facts, reasons, and forming balanced rational opinions and choices based on well educated thinking is imperative for a successful and happier life. Whether it is understanding your companies strategies, government policies, your work, your relationships, choices in life, opinions about people or your culture, it is absolutely necessary to indulge in some good thinking and balanced and educated opinions and reactions.

A life of half baked choices, and semi educated opinions will often lead to very disappointing and bitter life and eventually lead to a several other problems and confusion. If people do not react to your uneducated opinions it doesn’t mean that they are agreeing with you. Often people choose not to react to such blind ideas of out social courtesy. The eventual loss is yours.

So, eliminate the ignorance in you. Give up on the blind follower’s mentality. Take the trouble and time to question, think, learn and form balanced opinions in life that will help you make educated choices towards your happiness and success.  Put your ego aside and seek to learn. And most importantly, do not blindly accept what people tell you as facts. Remember that subject matter experts such as  doctors, engineers, economists, MBA’s or priests also often go wrong in their decisions and make mistakes. They too have flawed and biased opinions. But if you adapt a few characteristics of the people who do greater things and succeed in life, you will lead better and fulfilling lives. In this process you will educate and inspires others to become better and seek knowledge as well.  This way you too can contribute towards making a better world. But it begins with your attitude and mindset.


New years resolutions? Again?


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It’s once again the time to reflect upon our last few days of gluttony and happiness with some amount of guilt and a lot of happiness. Soon, if not already, you will be asked and begin thinking about your New Year’s resolution. Once again many shall dismiss the need for them while others make some with the intentions to keep. While losing weight and getting healthy will continue to be the most popular choice, getting a new job, making more money, purchasing the dream home or car and moving to a new city shall remain in the top 10. Many shall reflect upon the good and the bad they experienced this last year and some shall learn from their experiences while others shall dust them off and continue to waddle into the next year with no lessons learned.

A few blog posts ago I had written a short story about how life lessons are very similar to climbing a mountain. It was a short story of a young man learning to climb a mountain from his uncle and after having reached the top his uncle passes some words of wisdom on the experience and how similar life can be. One of the lessons in this story was about how important it is to find strong grips to hold on to and use it to pull yourself higher up. But with that, a climber also needs to learn to let go of the previous one that he or she is holding on to presently. In order to progress we have let go of the old comforting footholds and have the courage to try and step upon new and higher grounds towards the top. Also from each experience we have we gather some wisdom on which footrests and grips are stronger and reliable in order to proceed further.

When a person is drowning they often try harder and do everything they can to swim towards the bank. Similarly, while swimming one tries to put their best effort at the beginning and spend all their force and energy towards the finish line. But what if one remains consistent all through the race and continuously progress from one stride to another? Why does one have to do their best only towards the end? What would happen if one spends such wisdom, energy and efforts all through their life at everything they strive to accomplish?

It is very nice to use the New Year as a symbolic time to reflect upon the past and make plans towards the future and set out with all good intentions to achieve them. But I believe we need to do this all through the year and it should be a continuous process of self analysis and progressive development. A healthy eating plan need not be out of sheer guilt after indulging during the Christmas Holidays. It should rather be a continuous process all through the year. The same applies to any progressive development and strategies one pick up in an effort to develop and achieve in life. But all through this process we have to learn to let go of the old and move ahead. We cannot progress by holding on to our old ways, thinking, hate, prejudice, anger, or habits. The only way to move ahead is forward towards better things and higher goals in life. We need to constantly reflect upon the choices we have made and what it has brought us and then amend our thinking with realization and action towards self improvement. Building better relationships, taking the time to improve meaningful relationships, learning something new, giving up on old stubborn ego based habits, and making better choices always leads to happier endings and content life. Some of these may not be easy, and we may need to persevere and struggle to make it happen. But the rewards of such things in life are equally greater. As an example: What is the greatness in loving someone who is already in love with you. It is given that you the mutual love in itself is a reward in a way. But the real greatness is in forgiving someone you doesn’t love you and still respecting them and loving them for the good in them, regardless of what they think of you. This makes you a better person, gives you greater wisdom, respect and the rewards shall equally be greater in life.

While making a New Years resolution this time, consider making a resolution to actively indulge in self improving habits by continuously reflecting on your actions of the past and taking action towards getting better all through the year. Making new and developmental resolutions should be a daily and continuous habit to truly improve and succeed. Have a vision for self and pursue it relentlessly from the begning to the end until you accomplish it. We do it at work, we struggle to help make others visions come true, we spend out time and energy towards realizing others dreams. We need to do the same for ourselves too. We need to develop a vision, dream, develop strategies, make plans, and put it into action. Then we have to overcome obstacles, face challenges and persevere and once the goal is accomplished, move on to the next dream. From this year to the next and forever!


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