On Learning for Life

A few weeks back I wrote about the desire to learn and how I believe that this is an important trait to have. Today, I want to reiterate learning by looking at it from another perspective: Learning for life.

Our schools today are very narrowly focused. Just about everyone is focused on learning what’s necessary for a test or an exam, regarding everything else as irrelevant.

As I wrote a few weeks back, I’ve always had an interest in learning new things (thanks to not only my parents, but maybe especially my grandmother). Our schools (in a global context) premieres students for learning a set specific of information and being able to largely recite it during an exam, upon which you are rewarded with a good grade.

Ask in a given class who reads anything marked “optional”. Even sadder, the general opinion about those who do read things that are optional, just out of interest, are still negative. People look down on you! Even in higher education, at schools with top grade admission requirements, being interested in something and being passionate about a subject is something to be dismissed for. I’m astounded!

Schools prepare us largely for nothing, by premiering the abandonment of narrow interests for a conformity to a large pool of nothingness, where keen interest and passion has no place.

One of my most inspiring moments was meeting Sir Martin Sorrel at the Houses of Parliament last year. The passion with which he spoke of his industry and the deep knowledge he had about every aspect of his business was impressive.

It is in those moments that I once again realize that I would much rather be someone who is passionate about something, than be someone who really couldn’t care less, only doing what a “higher power” (figuratively) is asking them to do.

Oh, and yes, I would definitely be that hated professor who lectures with the intent of teaching students things for life and not for the exam.