21 September 2017

A learning opportunity

Hold up your hand if - like me - you’re one of those people who feels guilty when reading fiction because “I should be learning something right now”. Out of the last fifty books I’ve read only three have been fiction. 

But today whilst reading Blake Crouch’s bestseller Dark Matter it struck me what a load of pretentious crap this notion is. In the space of a few pages I had learned the basics about quantum superposition and the multiverse. That’s not trivial. 

I realise now that learning isn't something that's done to us it's something that we choose to do. You can (and should be) learning from everything little thing you experience.  

So you think a work of fiction can’t teach you anything? How about learning how to become a master story teller? Badly written book? Learn how not to write a book. 

Learn how to be a better salesman from that lady who unexpectedly got you to sign up for her service. 

Learn how to have empathy from the one-in-a-million customer service rep who not only fixed your internet from a call centre in India, but cheered you up for the rest of the day.

Learn how not to get that hot girl's number. 

Learn from your mistakes. 

Learn how to learn.

(The caveat to this is to make sure you’re learning and not simply memorising rote facts. Taxicab drivers in London famously have to undergo The Knowledge where they memorise routes through some 25,000 of the capital’s streets. But we really have to ask ourselves in a world of super-accurate GPS how valuable this is anymore. If it’s something that can be found out in a matter of seconds with a quick internet search it doesn’t need to be memorised.) 

What did you learn today? 

by Nino Rosella