To Learn or Not to Learn

Our world is moving extremely fast these days. Even 30-50 years ago it was fine for people just to graduate from school, get a University diploma, find a job, and stay in the same job for the rest of life. Oh, and we should not forget that the life program also included creating a family and having a lot of kids!
New anxious and agitated generations made major shifts in that approach. The society of “one of a kind” people is rebuilding our realm. It seems reasonable to ask why. Because everyone wants to be unique, for sure. But most importantly everybody also wants to be the best or at least believes that or that they can be and are supposed to be the best version of themselves. That is what society tells us all.  
What is an effective way to become better? You would probably say that the answer is easy, that is one needs to acquire more knowledge. But it only sounds simple. It is quite the opposite. That is one of the biggest problems of the 21st century, more specifically it is the amount of information that one is bombarded 24-7. This is where the real struggle begins. It is the struggle of quality and quantity of the accessible data. However, the blogpost is not big enough to accommodate such a broad topic, so I have chosen to concentrate on a very particular aspect, i.e. free webinars and courses offered on, by and through social media.

This idea came to my mind when just a short while ago my mom asked me to help her create an Instagram account. I had no back thoughts about it. What can a typical middle-age woman do there? Look for cooking recipes, have a feed filled with cat memes and videos, post food or flower pictures and other stuff like that. Surprisingly, in my case something went wrong (or different if I want you to see me as a helpful kind and caring individual) as  somehow (I guess it was just the work of Insta ads, ha-ha) she found out about a lot of free online workshops, seminars and courses so evening after evening I would see her watching class after class about, for example, “6 mistakes why you still can’t learn how to draw” or “5 easy ways to draw a horse for beginners”. For sure, 90% of such classes are just short alluring intros and a great warm-up to sell the courses\lectures\webinars (underline the one needed). In fact, a while ago I was also an adept of such things. My email was bloated with the letters of confirmation of registration for this or that, but at one point I caught my train of thoughts and found a chain of unstoppable questions and doubts in my mind about the benefit of all of that.

While most people will agree that courses and webinars give us useful info and techniques/tips (usually for a fraction or a big chunk of our money) I have doubts they are really worth it? Does this flood of information deserve a place in the brain? Living in the digital era already puts a lot of pressure on us with streams of data coming literally from everywhere. I hope you still remember what I said at the beginning about all of us following the motto and imposed need “to become the best version of ourselves”, so logically this leads to the conclusion, that all the received knowledge is cool because it is knowledge and it is supposed to improve us. But do these mountains of knowledge really make ME more ME, better ME, best ME possible? Or is it just some irrelevant or odd facts and skills which I will never use, like the height of Lady Gaga for example. (She is just 155 cm tall; did you know that? Or that if you are in Denver then water boils at 202 degrees F instead of traditional 212 degrees F?)
I have certain doubts about the need for both (the necessity to continuously improve ourselves and get more and more knowledge).  Most of the time my brain tells me that those sketchy easily obtained skills are not a part of my real need, but then I look at my mom and my hands again quickly and unconsciously open the registration page for “how to make cheese at home” master-class.

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  • Jacqerina
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 11:48 pm 0Likes

    Nice post! I relate to this so much! Being one who’s always scrolling through free online courses, I never thought if the free information deserves a place in my brain. I mean, of course, I would like to think that all kinds of information have its value, but sometimes, I really have to stop myself and think, “Is this worth my time learning?” when I know I have other things to read/learn about. I also agree on how there is this constant pressure to “never stop learning”. I agree that one should never stop learning, but that sentence should not just be taken literally. Learning can be as simple as accepting feedback or from constructive criticism. I do feel that a lot of us are more resistant to this form of learning. But, this is a good post to start seeing things differently!

  • Emil
    Posted November 15, 2020 at 5:14 pm 0Likes

    Nice post and good thoughts on the nature of the “need to learn”, which I personally definitely have.
    When I am not relaxing or sleeping I need to do something productive. This goes so far as that I have not read a novel for many years now, only scientific or philisophical books/papers.
    What seems so important to me is the broadening of the concept of learning/knowledge which in my case is so biased towards a western-industrialized, performance based process of knowledge, knowledge aquisition and application. But these can be so much more and all kinds of knowledge matter and are valuable in their own right (especially how to make your own cheese = cool). Said it, but still don´t reed novels.
    Difficult topic, but thank you for regarding it.

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