Surprisingly, one goes through life without inquiring about this question, as we are shuffled from class to class, school to college, and then college to jobs incessantly. Never pausing to inquire or discover our true context around learning and the outcome one expects from one’s academic endeavours. This obliviousness is surprising in hindsight but completely normal when one is going through the motions of adolescent life. For most of us, we are always taught to conform to the system, the processes of the past that have continued. Hence one seldom develops the mental capacity or ability to think outside the box, for the ones who do, a scripted answer awaits them, to get a job and earn money, that’s pretty much it. This answer isn’t something we invented; it is what the British gifted us when they imposed their education system, and with it created a mindset where education had a sole purpose, money, and livelihood. To this day, most of us have that mindset, where learning is a transaction of time and money and nothing beyond that.
Today, let’s discover why we learn and what learning is beyond what we already know. Our species is the most dominant today simply because of our brains, and particularly our ability to ask questions, to be curious, and the urge to find answers to them, which in its purest form is what we would call learning. Hence it is this ability that had us invent tools, get out of caves and then create civilization. One can see that this ability made us who we are today. It isn’t a part of us; it is us, without which we were simply cavemen hunting food. So, for such a meaningful part of our lives to simply have a context of money is quite underwhelming and unfulfilling. Not to mention that in the massively changed work environment today, where academic merit no longer provides assurance for landing well-paying jobs, is it practical to expect monetary returns from one’s academic hard work?
Companies and institutions today require much more than only academic prowess, they need people with an entrepreneurial mindset and a confident personality. Our system is unable to develop these qualities for the majority of students; it falls short of the demand of the real world, as employers today find a large section of job-seekers lacking employability, it is a lose-lose for everyone ultimately.
So then, what creates an entrepreneurial mindset? A confident personality? The answer is probably the same thing that made us make tools, get out of the caves and dominate the world. If anything, the way things stand, an empowering, inspiring, and fulfilling context for learning is something that ensures at least one’s happiness and growth during and after academics; it also gets us in touch with the world we live in, gets us connected to it and hence makes our place in it. What is an empowering context then? There’s no single answer. It could be anything. A good exercise to discover yours is, to inquire if you had all the money and time in the world, would you still want to learn? If so, why? What is something that you get out of learning that pushes you to pursue it even then? Get in touch with that. This way, you can discover what drives you and what you truly care about, and if you don’t find an answer, don’t worry, keep asking yourself and in the meanwhile, get outside your classroom and discover the world, I guarantee you, you will find something bigger than yourself to care about, to live, work and die for. For the ones who have been in touch with their purpose, have pride in yourself for surviving the onslaught against your curiosity and passion. And if you aren’t being in touch with it enough, find the courage to do so, it’s worth a shot at least, don’t you think?
A purpose awaits you; discover it, fulfill it, using your ancestral gift, the unique gene in all of us, curiosity.