Evidently one of the most powerful tools available at our mind’s disposal is the ability to assimilate inputs from our environment and turn it into knowledge, that sticks with us for a time proportionate to it’s utility and applicability to us.
As fundamental to our existence as it is, I feel this crucial element is not well understood. How do we learn? Do we read books and memorize them for future use? Do we absorb wisdom by osmosis from our family and society? Do we learn by going to school? Or something else altogether?
We probably do learn bits and pieces that we weave into our personalized knowledge base via methods listed above, but I feel there is a much more powerful way we learn that is vastly more effective than all of the methods above combined – through our experiences.
I believe that this is the only way we build the most useful parts of our knowledge base and that there is no substitute for this. This is easily understood by taking an example of how one learns to run. For those of you who are fortunate enough to stick to the habit of running, you know very well that you had to learn about a fair amount of nuance associated with aspects of running.
Probably the best thing you did, was that you started, and kept repeating. Along the way, you learnt about how to breathe, how to find your stride, how to land your foot, how to speed up, how to take it easy, how to push yourself, how to adjust to the weather, how to find the right shoes for you and so on. Each of which is possible to research by reading expert advice, very little of which is applicable directly to you. To even get a grasp of why these aspects of running are relevant, you have to try running, a lot of it.
Your body teaches you all of these things by providing you the best kind of feedback there is, direct feedback that is immediately relevant to you alone. You fall into a stride that works for you – you might make a few changes along the way for comfort, but you will find it eventually. You may have aches and pains that you need to address, you may need gear to help you power through changing weather, you may need to get tips based on what your body is telling you from the experts. But the specific aspects of what you’ll need to learn are unique to you, to your mindset, to your body.
I believe this is applicable to everything we learn or need to learn. I believe we learn best from our experience of our going though our life and trying new things.