Still Learning... | SPJIMR

Still Learning...

Bindu Kulkarni

Author: Bindu Kulkarni

Date: Tue, 2017-07-11 23:50

I love challenges! I need change! I need to keep learning!

I dislike stagnation. Taking up new challenges like learning (something new) is difficult. It is exhausting at times! But then, why do I enjoy it? Is it the journey of learning or the hope of accomplishment at the end of the journey that keeps me going?

My latest learning pursuit is “Swimming”. It has been my childhood desire to learn swimming, but for the last so many years I was just sitting at the edge of the pool waiting to take the plunge. Finally, I decided to jump into the deep waters, take my baby steps into the unknown world, the world which so was inviting and beautiful at the surface but deep and scary at the bottom. My learning journey, my fight with discomfort and the joy of setting my new goal post has been indeed satisfying. To put this in ‘Guru Gyan’, swimming has helped me revisit the importance of the different stages of learning. So, here you go…

Stage 1 is the most difficult, uncomfortable and may just lead to surface level learning. It is difficult as we are trying to learn a new skill or an art that we are unaware of. The fear of the unknown is high. The effort required to move the needle is higher and many a times this dissuades us from continuing the journey. It needs conviction to keep going. Appreciation will not pour in easily, it’s just your will to excel that keeps you afloat. There will be people around you who would be much better than you. You may feel small, incapable but it is this stage that requires effort, grit, resilience to cross and the motivation to keep you going. It needs the art to stay float when you have not learnt the knack to move your handsand& legs to cross the ocean.

Stage 2 is the stage of enjoyment and accomplishment. It gives one a feeling of joy and a sense of achievement.  One is no longer afraid of failure and may be ready to pick up newer challenges to stretch, but it can also lead to stagnation, if the desire for improvement is missing. To move to the next stage of mastery, this level is very important. This is a stage of deep learning, where one needs to learn the technique of going deeper and exploring the subject of study at newer depths. It is the stage of enjoying the underwater corals, which are not visible at the surface but can only be experienced in the deep waters. This is a phase which needs a lot of reflection and a coach, collaborator or friend to the enhance learning.

The last stage is the stage of mastery. It requires dedication to reach to this level and years of effort and hard work (10000 hours?). Many do not reach this level as they are satisfied by their achievements of the earlier stage and /or refuse to put in hours, days and years of effort to become a master. A master is respected and many a times becomes a leader, a teacher or a role model for others. Humility and not arrogance is the trait required at this stage to be a successful master or learner for life. Being able to disseminate knowledge and the quest for self-renewal will keep the learner in the master alive.

It is in our hands to decide whether we want to be a novice, an expert or a master! This decides how we enjoy the journey and push ourselves to excel. The learning journey is not easy but it is our journey and it’s in our interest to enjoy. Live life to the fullest, fulfil your desires, take the plunge and learn something new. Keep the fire on!

As far as swimming goes… I am still learning!




It is a pleasure reading your blogs,  simple thoughts  smoothly connecting different  possibilities of life. "the quest for self-renewal will keep the learner in the master alive." so important for each one..

Thanks for sharing this! In my opinion, the willingness to achieve something is very important. My favorite book ‘The Secret’ describes a very important aspect related to achieving anything in life i.e ‘The Law of Attraction’. Whether its swimming or cycling; you can only achieve the same if you have the right intent and dedication. If we can build our goals by simply marching our brains and mind with short term and long term goals can help in achieving all the 3 steps as beautifully described. After deciding and committing to your goals, one needs to build on achieving smaller targets which leads to the long-term vision. This helps in creating the sense of achievement and motivates us to move ahead in life. In my personal experience, I have observed that people focus more on final goal, but they usually get stuck in middle because they did not map the journey in advance. It’s like we get into maze thinking that we will crack it; in this case intent and goals are right but planning is missing. ‘Spend 80% of your time in project mapping why and how you will achieve the goal rather than struggling and wasting your energy in trying’. Trying can get you respect but achieving gets you rewards. Finally adding an important aspect from our veda’s ‘Sense of achievement’ is very important. All the hard work and struggle to achieve our goals should not affect us.

Learning is the corner stone of growing, moving ahead, of expanding ones understanding and developing the capability to reach new horizons. Ms. Bindu Kulkarni is absolutely correct in mentioning that ‘the learning journey is not easy’. In my opinion the learning journey begins from the stage when one is contemplating about the decision to learn. This is an internal introspective aspect of learning; where one faces and reflects upon the nuances involved, fears about the area that one is considering; possibility of failure, commitment that will be required, etc. Many individuals don’t even cross this stage and thus don’t explore the possibilities of their potential. For the ones, who do take the ‘plunge’ mostly it turns out to be a rewarding experience. All animals and birds guided by the inspiration of nature; go through the process of learning. Whether it is young lion sparring playfully with its siblings, to fawns seeking to friskily out beat each other in a race. These seemingly frolicsome encounters turn out to be critical learning that is later for the lion or the deer become critical factors that could help the lion counter another and win a pride, or provides important skills for the fawn to outrun the cheetah! Man on the other hand, has much more opportunity for learning, starting from its mother, its family and friends; to schools, colleges, to higher studies from PhDs to surgeons. The human race in modern times, spends approx. 25 years mainly dedicated to learning. Learning to be able to each a livelihood, choose a career, start a business. It is this inclination to learning that has got the human race to where we are today and the possibility of reaching even greater heights in the future. The advancement of science and technology and the specialised skills sets and application of the same for the betterment of humans, countries and the world is mainly from learning. And this is augmented significantly with the means of accessing the learning of others, from the past and present and from across nations and cultures and applying it or building on the learning of others towards even more progress. The importance of learning cannot be over emphasised, its benefits range from the simple skills required to go about our daily lives, to reaching the highest echelons of mastery in myriad dimensions of knowledge, skill, application. Through the process of learning, our will is tempered and perspective, knowledge and skills are honed - inspiration for each of us to continually keep learning and growing.

Learning to me is a constant journey, and probably is the same for every individual. This journey begins even before we realize, with our first breath on the face of earth, shaping our actions & behaviors, learning by picking cues from the response we get for every action. Subsequently in our growing up years, ‘learning’ takes a backseat as we all fall prey to the never ending saga of gaining academic or professional excellence, which has little scope of validating actual learning. Learning, by the literal meaning of it is described as acquiring skills and knowledge through different means, like experiencing, reading or being taught. There is no required skillset for a good learner other than just a hungry mind. The moment we set goals and get complacent on achieving the same, we pave way for making ourselves redundant in the ecosystem we thrive for. Mastering all three stages of learning makes way for a new avenue to be discovered and gain acquaintance with, if not perfection. And only in the process of learning we realize that just as the process of learning is dynamic, so are the lessons. Humans are born with the intellect that makes them seek more, and the innate quality of being inquisitive will keep leading to changing definitions of all that we believe in. With the innumerable options of feeding a hungry soul, all we need to wish for is to keep the inquisitive child in all of us alive. To it is human to ask questions, seek answers, falter in our decisions and learn again. The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. – Alvin Toffler

Wow! Such a refreshing article to read after a hectic day at work. I completely agree to your point of view, that taking up a new challenge is exhausting, but, the feeling of accomplishment in the end is truly wonderful. I also strongly feel that it’s never too late to learn for any individual at any point in time, as we all are living in a dynamic environment. Just when we feel that we know a certain detail/method or subject, there will be 10 newer theories / subjects that must be developing simultaneously. At times, individuals learn somethings intentionally, in the due course of our lives. For example, the way you specially tried to learn swimming, I took up a foreign language and studied that at school, college and at the professional institute. But at my work place, I am exposed to many new processes and innovations each day. I have generally observed, that while I am interacting with the new set of people, unknowingly I end up learning more about their culture, as I get more exposure to the newer techniques, I also learn about how the same task is done in a completely new manner. In my opinion, what is most important about the process of learning is simply to keep our minds open, that way we can learn numerous new things without having to put in a special effort. And the journey of converting the unknown to known will truly be a pleasurable one.

Great article, Bindu Ma'am. Sharing my two cents on it. It is important to have inquisitiveness and willingness to learn something. And one will really get there if it's there in the mind to achieve the goal. However, these things just drain down with the 'Fear of failure'. Most of us fail at something just because we fear failure. However, I think failure is the essential element to succeed and we succeed only because of what we've 'learnt' through our failure. It would take months to list down names which now are successful only because of their failures. However, it would be unfair to not mention the likes of Elon Musk, Eminem or Cristiano Ronaldo, when it comes to learning from failure. All of these personalities in their respective fields have seen the lowest low in their lives and career. But it's their ability to overcome their fear of failure and pushing themselves to learn about their weaknesses is what makes them stand as figures of inspiration. It all boils down to the psychology of one's mind. I strongly believe a person can achieve anything he or she sets his or her mind to. If one wants it really bad, one finds a way. If they don't, they'll find excuses. Also, totally agree to your point where you say we must always be willing to try something new. This opens up new opportunities and gives us new perspectives on situations we would have had experienced. Lastly, I'll just say, it is better to have some knowledge about different things, rather than having in-depth knowledge about just one thing.

The human kind is an inquisitive animal. The sparkle in the eyes of a newborn baby is only a reflection of this curiosity within him. His brain develops with every baby step he takes and evolves as he starts observing and learning from his first step. He is an amateur now in the department of walking as he measures his next step with utmost care and the fear of falling deters him to trust his knees and limbs. Yet he is determined to walk, as he is curious to know how the people around him is able to do so effortlessly. With each day passing by he starts enjoying this process and puts in more effort to achieve the impossible. His mother patiently looks at him and cheers him at every step. The endearing smile on his mother’s face motivates him and pushes him to try again. He falls down but gets up and regains his composure and takes his next step with grit and determination. After a lot of struggle, he finally reaches his destination, jumping to his mother’s arms who had been patiently waiting to see him achieve this feat. They both smile with happiness as both have achieved the impossible. A sense of accomplishment sets in and as the baby grows in confidence he now aims to take bigger steps. He is happy to see his mother jump with joy at his achievements. As he grows older, he now realizes the importance of speed and he starts running instead of walking. He is no longer afraid of falling down and trusts his limbs more than ever. He finds it fascinating that with speed he can cover the same distance at a lesser time and chooses to run than take baby steps. He is now curious to know how fast he can run. He challenges his friends and siblings for a race and starts outrunning them. He feels the same sense of accomplishment as he had felt at the completion of his very first baby walk, the difference being he can communicate and express his feelings in words now. The curiosity in him allowed him to pick up words and communicate in a language like every adult. He now enjoys running more than walking now and his confidence grew as he beats his friends and wins competition. His parents are proud of him as he brings home the trophies. They see a rare talent in him and urges him to take professional support as he converts this interest into passion and later into his profession. He now participates at national and international levels and makes his nation proud by all the medals he brings home. He is now a professional runner, a true master of his art and an inspiration to many. His tiring hours of effort pays off as he breaks world records and reaches the pinnacle of success no man has ever achieved. He pushes his limits and with great sacrifices and determination, he is now able to achieve the impossible. He looks back and reflects upon those days when he had taken his very first baby step and thanked his mother for being there at every stage to support and encourage him. He acknowledges the fact that his mother had played an important role and has been an equal participant in this journey. When he wears his customized running shoes one final time, he looks back at his achievements and the world records that he has broken. He smiles as he remembers the day he had taken his first baby step and walked himself towards his mother. His entire life has taught us a very valuable lesson that every success begins with a baby step.

I really appreciate how intellectually Ms Kulkarni has described the stages of learning. I have read similar kind of information in different formats by different scholars and I agree with all of them. But my question is why should an individual even seek to learn a new thing or anything for that matter? Many individuals start to work and then learn during their job. They learn to an extent where they can survive and settle their family. Once they are gratified with what they have, they just get along with the society to enjoy their life which they say is party, drinking or spending time with their family over vacations, raising children etc. This is by the way precise according to them. If that is the case, then why are we saying all this with these blogs about what should one do? Learning is a perpetual process. As above article says if you spend 10,000 Hrs doing the same thing you will master it, but a sales person of a company, who had spent 20 years selling a product of his company, often fails in selling product of his own business. I heard Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev saying, an ancient wisdom which goes “An intelligent person does what he loves to do, but a genius does what is required”. If I go with these lines then almost all people out there are doing what is required and they are all genius. Because, they are going to work every day and work 365 days a year to feed their family and doing just what is required, in office or wherever they are working. If they are repeatedly doing what they are doing in the office, everyday; then they are learning something. So according to the stages of learning explained above in the blog which stage are they currently in? And why are they not moving ahead in life? Why are they not able to master it? People in India come at 122 ranking of happiness index of world. China, Pakistan, Bhutan and many other countries are ahead of India when it comes to being happy. Many movies are being made, many books have been written to inspire people asking them to leave the rat race and come out of it and be happy. None of them truly understand why they watch it, read it, appreciate it and after watching they go back to continue their routine life. Few so called geniuses, in their intellectual work, never shy away from making fun of the situations of these people which they enjoy reading or watching about themselves. After much of pondering, I think it is because there is a problem in the stage one of our learning method, which you have described in your blog. You went to learn swimming at the stage when you are almost complacent with your situation and you want to explore further. This may also not go to the mastery stage. Since our childhood we are told to study so that we can earn money. Money is necessary but it is same as, encouraging you to run when wolf is behind you and once you escape from the wolf you will be at ease. I would recall an ancient verse from “Brahma Sutra” – Athato Brahman Jigyasa to bring out the meaning of learning. You will get numerous translations of it in different contexts. Here I would like to say with this verse that “When we are building foundation of learning for our child we should build it on Jigyasa (curiosity) about the world, subjects, people and God. So that he should not have to look for skills to learn but he should approach everything as he is learning it every day”. Motivations behind learning should not be material. It should be beyond the necessity for a human being.

The article beautifully summarizes the element of lifelong learning is to never stop learning. World is changing rapidly and with new advancement is technology it is very important to keep learning and save yourself from becoming redundant. We as individuals need to be open to learning new things, as knowledge is what makes you powerful. Learning new things may seem to be difficult and trivial n the beginning, but it helps us grow and turn into a more interesting and knowledgeable individual. The best way to learn something new every day is to open yourself up to new adventures, new possibilities, and above all else, to your senses-that's right! A lot of unfortunate people think that learning for the sake of learning is something for schoolchildren, and maybe college students. All the things there are to learn and know that don’t impact directly on their immediate lives they dismiss as “trivia”. Out in the “real world”, they think, there’s no time for such frivolities — there’s serious work to get done!There are a lot of good, practical reasons to make learning something new a part of your daily routine, but the best reason has nothing to do with practicality — we are learning creatures, and the lifelong practice of learning is what makes us humans and our lives worthwhile.

I strongly agree with your viewpoints : Learning as a challenge is difficult however accomplishing at the end. "Live life as an adventure, expect challenges, endorse and embrace it". We do not grow when life is easy, we grow when life has challenges and that’s when we learn. The adventure of life is “to learn”. Learning as a burning fire ignites the spark of excellence in you and brightens you with the knowledge. During the complete process, you will face many questions arising in your mind such as "Is it really worth it?", "Am I too old for this?", "Will it help me going forward?" But continuing the journey is rewarding at the end. Its all about a one kickstart, Once you are into this treasure, learning will follow its owner everywhere. Learning is a continuous process. If you keep your mind open, you can learn with every moment of life. Robert Kiyosaki says, “Don’t waste a good mistake, Learn from it”. Exactly, every mistake has got something to teach us. Mistakes have power to teach you something you never knew before. So make mistakes and learn something new :-). For learning there is no barrier such as age, money, time etc. I would like to enlighten the fact by giving example of my Dad. He is living example for me that for learning, all you need is dedication and passion. At the age of 5, he earned for his school fees and at the age of 54, he learnt Law just for his passion of learning. He always said to me "Dedication & determination is enough to help you learn at any age. If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you, however if you are determined, none can stop you". The other inspiring example is of Vedanta Resources Plc, the leading diversified resources company has trained the jail innmates in basic computer skills through its "Vedanta Umeed" programme. These inmates might have spent a major part of their life with the guns and bullets but now with this programme, they are eager to start a new learning journey. Nothing can deter a one with great interest and appetite for knowledge. So, keep Learning !

A beautiful article to explain the feeling related to continues learning. As we all need a motivation to do something and learn something new that motivation generally is the sense of achievement we feel after learning or completing something. The journey is always beautiful, needed if we understand it properly because we grow and tiring due to the effort we have to put and the destination gives us a sense of accomplishment. Learning is what life is all about once we stop leaning and growing that day we lose our meaning of life. Leaning gives us a change required in life because continues change is the rule of life nothing is stable. If someday the earth stops rotating we will die so we can understand the importance of being in a continues learning and changing phase. As explained learning is of 3 types in the first phase as we scare to start learning because we feel incapable and stop our self plus we only get the surface knowledge in this phase, many people back off in this phase because they feel they cannot reach the level of the people around them that is due to the fact that we do not see the hard work they have done in order to achieve that level we just see what they are currently and assume that we cannot reach at that level. In the next phase people feel a sense of achievement as the result of their hard work comes and they feel accomplish. This is the phase where we start to feel superior than others and our ego start growing which hinders our further learning because leaning never stops but we stop after a certain point of time. Becoming a master of anything requires dedication which most of the people lack as a lot of time and effort is put to become a master but most of us want an easy job to do. After that many things that stop a person from learning is age, society, person himself etc… If we stop making assumptions and start doing work there is nothing that cannot be achieved and we have seen many examples in our life, like recently RIO Olympics happen where the handicapped people performed in various events and many medals have been earned for INDIA this is just because they didn’t stopped leaning by giving excuse of their inability. They showed the world that they are as capable as anyone else. So if they can do it. Why we cannot.

Learning is a challenge and challenges keep us going. And as rightly said by Ms. Bindu Kulkarni, learning (something new) is difficult. However, for the new generation, who does not take long to get bored of monotony, learning new things comes naturally. We sign up for different classes to keep the learning stint going. The busy lifestyle does not refrain us from learning what we want to. We find time on the weekends to learn dance, music, drama, art, culinary skills, etc. Although we enjoy learning new things, becoming an expert and mastering a skill only comes to a few of us. Learning something new is fun and interesting and thus motivating. But the boredom of monotony takes over and we end up quitting after Stage 2 in the learning process. The few who find the will and dedication to continue reach Stage 3 and end up excelling in the particular skill. The question is, do we really need to reach stage 3 of whatever we decide to pursue? I think not. In social interactions, it helps if you are a jack of all, instead of a master of one. Knowing a little bit of everything helps us make instant connections with many a people. You may be an expert painter, but at a party, being able to do a few dance moves is much better than not being able to move at all. No matter why we learn, to master a skill or for fun, the willingness and the motivation to learn keeps us growing. Isn’t it amazing how the previous generations, despite challenges, learnt how to use new technology? Learning starts at the time we are born and doesn’t ever stop. Even when we aren’t learning something intentionally, we are learning by just being. It is a continuous process.

A very beautifully constructed article explaining the nuances of learning new things. First of all, I would like to highlight the same fact again that learning is a continued process. It never stops. There is no age of learning new things. This is the only way we keep improving and learn to improvise. The more we learn the more we understand the world. Be it a new novel, some new skill like swimming or some new cuisine to cook. Everything is a new learning, each day we should target to learn new things. The three stages mentioned are no less than an inspiration for anyone to begin the process of learning again. We all are uncomfortable and scared in the early days of learning new things. We are usually having a disbelief that this will not work out. But in this stage, we need to push ourselves a bit more so that we can take the first step. Then the happiness part comes in, when we understand the things. That feeling of accomplishment can be compared with the one when we are able to solve a difficult mathematics problem. This feeling inspires to keep working hard even further. There are several stages of learning, just achieving the first one doesn’t mean the match is won completely. It is like scoring one goal in a football match do not confirm your victory, you need to keep working hard to defend the goal. Similar way you need to keep practicing the things you learn else the skills gets vanished in no time. Ad finally, we need to work hard enough to master it. After years of effort and hard work, one reaches this stage. But this is the point which you aimed for right in the beginning. This is the ultimate achievement that you dreamt for. These all stages when reached, it inspires us to go for a new learning a new challenge. Because as mentioned in the very beginning of the article, learning is a process that should never end.

As soon as I came across this blog, it instantly appealed me. Breaking down the process of learning into various stages was particularly very interesting. I can now relate to my process of learning to ride a bicycle accurately falls into the steps mentioned in the blog. I believe that no matter what your age is, you can always start learning something new. There is also another facet to this. You don’t need a formal setup or a master for learning from. People who are around you, your kids, family, friends, maid, sweeper, newspaper boy, or rather anyone and everyone could be your source of learning. History has it written too; Abhimanyu learnt the trick of breaking Chakravyuh while in his mother’s womb whereas Eklavya learned archery just by observing his guru Dronacharya. The point I would like to make here is that at any point of your existence, you are constantly learning something or the other consciously or unconsciously. I have realised this fact very recently when last year, I got transferred to a new location. Just by observing people in the new office, I gained a lot of insights not only on the things that should be done but also what should not be done and the implications thereafter. In my opinion, one should develop the quality of learning from observing others, it is one of the rare virtues that a person should possess. This brings about a clarity of thought and a deeper understanding of oneself. One might also think of complacency overpowering the process of learning, but I feel that we can always improvise our ways to learn, re-learn and learn even more because there is no limit to expand your mind, follow your dreams and go after the impossible. Having said all this, I am still learning to learn……

While going through the blogs, I came across your article and it’s really very inspiring and motivational. I totally agree to your line of thoughts. I am firm believer that growth stops when learning stops. Learning comes with challenges and difficulties but to take up the risk and move forward regardless of the outcome is a way to go. Many of us stumble to take the first plunge and shy away from the challenges and risks that it poses. We fail because of the fear of failure. But to overcome fear and face the challenge is where the learning begins. We may fail once, twice or thrice but ultimately we will end up learning but with a slight edge as compared to others because we know what must be done or not to be done to achieve the result. The motivation of doing new things generally comes with the sense of achieving after learning or completing it. As in my case I took up cooking with the motivation of having tasty recipes although I feared about the worse initially but still kept up and now I am one in my family who can cook good Chinese food. The main abstract which I can draw from my example is that I never gave up on what I believed and kept motivating myself in event of failures to get the end result. Many of us believe that academic learning is all the learning that we can get however; learning never stops it’s a continuous process. In order to keep up with the dynamic environment we must learn continuously to avoid being stagnant. We can learn many things if we don’t restrict ourselves to academics. There is a whole world lying in front of us. So keep learning and stay amazed.

The concept of lifelong learning has been beautifully stated in the article above. We all have been through the learning stages stated above at some point of time, be it while learning to ride a bicycle, learning to skate, learning to swim, etc. I still remember the first time I rode my bicycle all by myself, I had a sleepless night out of excitement and wait for the next ride. This joy of learning a skill is unmatched, it has a sense of achievement to it. Gradually I gained confidence and started trying out various styles of riding, soon bicycle riding was added to my skill set. Most of the learning is done in our childhood and as we grow older we tend to stop learning any new stuff. I don’t remember when was the last time I was not able to catch a sleep out of excitement of having learnt something new. It is a good suggestion to take up a new challenge whenever one feels stagnant but we know it is very difficult to break the inertia, so we need an external force. Only our passion for learning can act as an external force. Since a new challenge requires us to step out of our comfort zone and make ourselves vulnerable, the desire to learn should be strong. Now, once we have got ourselves moving and reached stage 2 of learning as per the article, we need a stronger force to move to stage 3. Speaking out of personal experience, not always I strive to reach this far. But if the desire for further improvement stays, one can aim for stage 3. I have seen leaders and teachers in my life who know their business in and out, probably this is what stage 3 helps us with. I hope to reach stage 3 sooner or later and live the experience myself as there is no substitute to experience.

Respected Mam, Firstly, this article is very elegantly written. It is easy to read and kept my interest to read more of it. I can totally resonate with how you are connecting swimming and learning forever. As a matter of fact, Prof. Prem Chandrani taught us this lesson by telling us his life story, how and which degrees he received at different stages of his life and the roles he took to challenge his potential in different countries all over the world. I think the fear of failure and/or the fear of society (‘Log Kya Kahenge’) hinders that growth and limits people from growing further and excelling in life. The way you described the different phases you went through whilst learning swimming is what I believe we, the SPJIMR students, are going through. Most of us were working before we came to SPJIMR. I personally started becoming stagnant with the same routine, same work day in day out. I was bored of the monotonous life and wasn’t going anywhere where I wanted to go in life. I always wanted to start my own Nutrition Supplement Line in Europe but had no knowledge about the business. Hence, I joined SPJIMR. I was afraid of the rigor of the program. But, once I stepped in it, suddenly it didn’t feel what I expected it to be. On the contrary, I started enjoying the different subjects being taught. Yes, sometimes it gets difficult but hard work pays off. Some of my colleagues are much more experienced in certain subjects, but that doesn’t scare me off. I accept the fact that they are good at it, but also I do keep in mind that I have to get better than them and appreciate any help they may offer. So far the journey has been exciting, let’s see how it goes further. Thank You

This post on still learning doesn't fail to touch my heart because as a student my ultimate goal in life is learning and being better than my yesterday. It explains three stages of the learning process, first, being the fascination towards a certain goal, second is trying or making baby steps in order to overcome our fear and lastly, mastering the work we decided to do in the first place and then moving on to another life goal. Our life gets productive this way. Always trying to do certain things using new techniques and methods. Although my mind wants to learn new things that fear the writer talks about perhaps doesn't let me because doing things my usual way gives me a satisfactory result but deep down inside I do want to great and to be great, I know, I have to step out of my comfort zone. That fear creeps in though. For the record, if I think about the things I decided to dig deeper, I was the same me, I was afraid to try it that then I actually did jump into those things and I discovered a whole new me. I enjoyed what I found there but I never thought of pushing harder. I never thought there could be another way of doing the particular things better. And that's where the third stage hits in. For now, I am pretty satisfied with the petty results that I got after satisfying my urge to learn new things but I should not stop there. I should be aiming for a new goal, perhaps, mastering should be my new goal. This post rightly touches down the facts everyone needs to follow. Most people do complete stage 1 and 2 but I know I'm going to aim for mastery for sure.

The article pens down the journey of learning- learning something new & exciting. The author conveys her thoughts in an extremely simple way trying to sow seeds of constantly learning new things in life, amongst its readers. The learning curve is explained in an excellent manner, beginning with the feeling of fear, apprehension, insecurity and failure, when one embarks on the new journey to gradually attaining a sense of satisfaction, enjoyment and accomplishment, when one starts mastering it. The article in an unequivocal manner imparts the message that hardwork, determination and perseverance alone are the key to success. I am glad that the author not only explains the process of learning but also sheds light on the complete cycle of learning which according to the author extends beyond the phase of mastery. She goes on to explain the virtues which are important to imbibe once an art is mastered and highlights the importance of traits like modesty and humility and how one should remain grounded even after tasting success. Finally, the article ends with a motivating note to not stay complacent with one’s achievements and to keep on trying new and exciting things with a lot of fervor and zeal. A very insightful article I must say, more so because it is completely relatable to the current scheme of things at SP Jain GMP. Each day at SP Jain is a day which opens up new avenues of learning. Every day is a day to learn new things; hence the article is very helpful in making one understand the way to approach learning a new thing (may be swimming, dancing, learning new subjects etc.) and further mastering it. Personally this article instills in me a sense of confidence to undertake my journey at SP Jain in a more challenging way.

As I was reading this article, the first thing that hustled in my mind was the feeling of being a Child again. It reminded me of all the good old days when I was learning Swimming, Cycling, Skating and all the thrill and amusement that I experienced that time came back. Nostalgia not only gave me a sense of happiness here, it also reminded me of the fact that how important it is to preserve our inner child no matter how old or wise we get. And I know the curiosity and shamelessness that we had when we were children is something that can't be brought back but still as we grow old we must preserve the maximum of it, whatever we are able to because it won't matter how wise we become with age or how much knowledge or degrees we have or how many achievements we have, there remains a million things that we don't know about and only curiosity and desire to learn can give us that. When I was a Child and saw something new, I wanted to learn all about it, I didn't care how hard it is or how much competition I had. My only goal was to learn and no matter how bad or good I was doing in the process as compared to the other Children, I always wanted to improve myself in any way possible. To be a novice, an expert or a master wasn't something that mattered at that time because that phase of learning new things was itself so fun and adventurous that I only wanted to carry on. Now, when I look back at how Stage 1 and Stage 2, as explained in this article, that is difficulty and awkwardness along with enjoyment and accomplishment were somewhat in the same phase when I was learning as a Child, it makes me wonder how good I will be if I can do it now because learning will never stop as we go ahead in life, what we can do to make it better is to always learn it as a Child.

Thank you mam for putting up this topic. Personally I feel that in the classroom of life, a human being is always a student and is under the process of continuous learning. The objective of a person in any field should be learning, if you go by this approach of learning you may excel in that particular field or might be many other too. But if from the very beginning your focus is on excelling the particular objective you might lose on it due to competitive environment. The kind of procedure or the stages of learning explained by you on the above blog is so far the most appropriate concept of learning. Not only swimming but each and every activity of your daily routine involves some or the other learning process. As per my view, there is no better way of learning than self-learning. In self learning, you yourself indulge into something irrespective of the type of environment you are or the approach you take for that learning. Even if someone has excelled in some or the other field but they can still improve themselves by learning from others because improvisation never ends and it is one of the major part in the process of learning. I would finally end my support to this context by quoting a short dialogue from a very famous movie where Aamir Khan supports this context by saying, “don’t run behind excellence, run behind the concept of learning, as a result excellence will run behind you.”

A great and refreshing article. Ms. Kulkarni has beautifully explained the different and most valued stages of learning. I would like to compliment it with a quote that goes like:- “The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill but the willingness to learn is a choice” by Brian Herbert. We must appreciate that, as human beings, we have this ability to learn new things all the time and must act on this ability whenever we can. Also, learning needs to be done in the rightful way as well. Learning is a never-ending quest and when a person becomes satisfied with his learning and doesn’t want to explore more, his growth stops. In 3 idiots, there was a dialogue by the main protagonist saying that we should always aim at attaining excellence. If we are able to do so, success will automatically follow you. To achieve excellence in life, it is extremely important to have an open-minded approach towards life. One should be able to grab opportunities to learn, take up new challenges, accept feedback as well as accept failures too and keep moving. Therefore, willingness to learn is the first and the most important stage of learning. Then comes the stage of choosing what all to learn. At this stage, a mistake that most of the people often make is that they do not prefer to go out of their interest areas which becomes a constraint for their overall growth. Next is the stage of actually taking the plunge to learn something new. At this moment, as Ms. Kulkarni has very well explained is that conviction, optimism, self-belief and persistence are very important for a person to keep going. One must have an open-mind to absorb the maximum. Along with learning the maximum, it is also important to have the wisdom of being able to decide what not to learn also. At times, we may start thinking that it is good to learn as much as we can but may forget that ‘all that glitters is not gold’ and therefore, all that we may perceive as knowledge is actually just a mirage of knowledge. This wisdom comes with experience. The last obstacle maybe a sense of fulfillment that may become so fulfilling that your journey of self-growth gets hindered. This feeling can be overpowered only with the willingness to learn more and therefore, you reach at your first stage of learning again. In this way, the cycle of learning must keep on going and never reach its end as Ms. Kulkarni has very well pointed that it is the decision of an individual to be wanting to be a novice, expert or a master. If you want to be a master, it is better to start taking more and deeper plunges.

This article made me realize the importance of being a child in life and how it affects my learning always. It helped me to remember all past times worth remembering when I was picking up Swimming, Cycling, Skating and all the excite and delight that I encountered that time returned. Sentimentality not just gave me a feeling of bliss here, it additionally helped me to remember the way that that it is so essential to protect our internal identity regardless of how old or savvy we get. What's more, I know the curiousness and boldness that we had when we were kids is something that can't be brought back yet as we develop old we should save the greatest measure of it, whatever we can in light of the fact that it won't make any difference how astute we progress toward becoming with age or how much information or degrees we have or what number of accomplishments we have, there still remains a million thing that we don't think about and just curiousness and want to learn can give us that. When I was a Child and saw something new, I needed to take in about it, I couldn't have cared less about how hard it is or how much rivalry I had. My exclusive objective was to learn and regardless of how awful or great I was doing in the process when contrasted with the other Children, I always needed to enhance myself in any capacity conceivable. To be an amateur, a specialist or an ace wasn't something that really made a difference that time since that period of taking in another thing was itself so fun and courageous that I just needed to continue. Presently, when I glance back at how Stage 1 and Stage 2, as clarified in this article, is trouble and cumbersomeness alongside pleasure and achievement were to some degree in a similar stage when I was learning as a Child, it influences me to think about how great I will be on the off chance that I can do it now since learning will never stop as we proceed in life, what we can improve is to alway learn it as a Child.

Thank you, Ma'am, for writing such a beautiful article about learning. It brought back a lot of memories about my learnings and the difficulties I faced while doing so, I really like the way how simplistically you have put forth the whole life cycle of learning and that too in just 3 stages. I think this I can use as a framework for my next learning activities. There was a great but funny saying – "never stop learning because life never stops teaching", I don’t remember who said this, but I liked how many different meanings one could fetch from it. One which I really liked was that there is no age barrier for learning and you can learn anything at any stage of your life. Last year around this time I decided to indulge in some activity, so I started playing Table Tennis, if I correlate to what you have said I was successful in reaching stage 1 where I had the feeling of achievement and I was happy that I was successful in winning against some of my team mates who were actually playing TT from few years. But eventually, I realized I couldn't win against outsiders. Since I had played against only with my team mates till then, I was not able to tackle outsiders tack ticks. And after some time, I went into the stage where I felt I could never win against them. And due to my fear of losing I left playing table tennis altogether. And "now as the saying goes it is never too late to start something new". So I have started working out, and I hope this experience won't be as same as my last one. And I hope I will pursue this sport till I achieve my goal.

An excellent blog ma’am and the most interesting aspect of the blog is the different stages explained under learning process. Learning can also be further categorized under three more categories. 1. Learning for survival 2. Learning for professional enhancement 3. Learning for personal excitement Learning for Survival As we all know, life is a journey filled with different twists and turns called as experiences. Every experience teaches us something or the other which either makes us happy or sad. More than the experience, it’s the learning from the experience, which counts. This learning makes us stronger and more equipped with knowledge to face the future. This is the fundamental survival learning, which helps us, when it comes to dealing with problems, fulfilling goals and staying happy in a society. Most of the learnings under this category is driven by social acceptance. The way we learn different cultures, way to dress and eating styles all fall under this heading. Introduction of western culture and protecting the native culture requires a person to learn the new culture but also know the boundaries of the native culture to avoid social stigma. Learning for professional enhancement With economy slimming down, advancements in technology and automation going to take over, one has to deepen the learning curve to stay afloat in the industry. Even professional education is getting out dated in shorter spans of time. In the early 60’s, an individual used to aim for courses like BA or BSc as most of the Jobs required a person to possess degrees like the ones above. Engineering and medical science courses were more of highly respected professional courses as the number of colleges offering these courses were limited and the cost wasn’t affordable. By early 90’s, the trend moved towards engineering and medicine as the more colleges were opened up and the courses were affordable (with our country moving from an agrarian society to more as a part of global economy). At some point in 2000’s lot of Engineers found it difficult to find jobs (as people are eying jobs in IT sector and core engineering has lost its meaning). People found MBA as the way forward and in near future even that’s going to change. People also try specialized certification programs. More than following the mob, one should do a self-strength assessment and decide on the course of life. Industries like Health care, Education and Food are going to be never ending. People should see, if any of the above interests and go ahead to be a master in the said field. Learning for personal excitement The above said two learnings are more for living, but to lead a happy life one has to find ways for personal excitement. Hobbies like reading, music or playing a game or sport, excites the heart and mind. Physical fitness regimes, cycling, swimming keeps the mind and body fresh. Spirituality/Meditation gives the soul a direction to find the sheer reason for existence. For a happy, challenging as well as fulfilling life, a person should focus equally on all the three learnings. The day even one of them stops, life would hit a saturation sooner or later.

An interesting piece about learning Ma’am. Having been a student of swimming, the reference to swimming had me intrigued. I can relate to the different “Stages of learning” not just in the case of swimming but for every other skill, sports, etc. But in my experience, there are more than just these 3 stages while I was learning to swim. I believe that Stage 0 is the most important stage of learning and its essence has been captured in the conclusion. Stage 0 as I like to call it is “Curiosity”. Curiosity is what initiates the journey of learning. It is the motivation to put in that extra effort and invest that extra time to learn something new. It was curiosity that drove you Ma’am to take that plunge into the depths of the pool. Since this article on learning has been inspired by Ma’am’s tryst with swimming, I would like to share my experience with swimming lessons. Always eager to learn new skills, like Ma’am I too had a desire to learn swimming. Excited, I joined a swimming class. Overflowing with enthusiasm, I was unprepared for what I was about to face. I was asked to float underwater and my first reaction to putting my face underwater was of panic. The next 10 classes were spent on trying to float in water. I could do it while holding the side rail, I could do it while holding my instructor’s or my friend's hand, but left to myself, the panic would inevitably set it. I realized that it was not by an inability to learn the techniques but my fear of water (or “under”-water) that prevented me from swimming. My friend helped me float in water by myself. She worked with me every day to help me overcome my fear. What I want to point out here is that not just Stage 2 but many a time Stage 1 also needs the presence of a supporting friend or a coach to help one learn. There have also been instances when I had learned to float successfully but when swimming after a gap of a week or a month, the old fear had me in its grip and I had to learn to float all over again. As of date, I can swim underwater, but when asked to swim longer lengths (that involves breathing while swimming), my body stiffens and panic sets in. I have to learn swimming every time I decide to swim in spite of having learned it before. Hence, learning is not just restricted to a linear progression of the 3 Stages. It may relapse from time to time and Stages might need to be revisited. The learning curve does not always have a positive slope.

The article beautifully encapsulates the idea that life is a journey of learning. Every step-in life teaches us something however, the learning depends on the individual. Learning opens us to a whole new world. We start learning from a very early age. Infant starts learning by seeing and understanding his surroundings. By seeing others talking he learns to speak, by seeing them walking he learns to walk and what not, all this proves that humans are inherently inquisitive for learning. A child mind doesn’t rest until it gets all the answers. However, once he reaches school he is taught to accept few things as facts and in some instances, he is scolded for his inquisitiveness. In this process, unknowingly his innateness to learn starts to die out. As a result, the learning attitude turns passive and instead of seeking out answers the person becomes recipient of information. Therefore, teacher should encourage a learning attitude rather than providing students with all the information. Nevertheless, the process of learning doesn’t end at educational institutions it continues throughout life. This makes it the responsibility of the individual to keep his learning attitude alive. For learning eagerness and curiosity are very essential elements. As indicated by Bindu Ma’am learning happens in stages wherein the person moves away from his comfort zone, works hard to acquire a skill and once he attains the skill then he needs to keep on improving the skill, to continue learning. If in the process the individual becomes complacent with what he has, he will never be able to reach out his true potential and may get stuck at a mediocre level. To reach at the top one needs to keep on climbing the learning curve no matter how steep it is. However, this whole process of learning will not only be filled with achievements, there will be many failures in the way. It is on the individual to use those failures as a stepping stone to success. For a learning process to be productive it is very necessary that the person learns through practical exposure rather than through theories and data as even according to studies people mostly remember those things which had relatability and had an emotional factor. This happens because people feel more engaged and connected if they learn through relating it with something. Specifically, today when the world is evolving there is a dire need to shift the concentration from theoretical perspective to practical application of knowledge to ensure a proper learning. With an efficient learning, the person not only becomes intellectual, it also increases his confidence level. However, it is very necessary that the person should remain humble otherwise the learning process will get hampered and he may subdue whatever he has learnt. For a meaningful life, one should utilize all the opportunities that this journey offers and should try to learn from all the experiences. It is not the education or books or schools or colleges or others but mostly its “ourselves”, “our experiences” and “our desire to grow” which make this journey of life, a journey of learning.

Thank you Ma’am for enthusiastically sharing your viewpoints on learning even as a professor as it only adds to the motivation for us as students to do the same. The effervescent energy in the first line really drew me into the article. Moreover, the entire swimming analogy on how learning something new can be compared to taking the plunge into a pool helped build a connect with me as a reader. Although, from my experiences in learning something anew, I could not exactly connect with the three stages that were provided. Taking cue from one of my favourite verses, ‘The Seven Ages of Man’, I believe that the initial stages are not the most difficult but the most exciting as one is stepping into the pool of vast knowledge which that person is yet to develop. This allows for further exploration and discovery of new facets as one does not tend to specify a boundary at this stage. This is the stage, where William Shakespeare makes the reference of the ‘shining morning face’. On an even more modern pedestal, I can draw a connect on this regard with reference to our MBA degrees, where the first-year courses in almost all schools of management are ones which promote a cross-functional knowledge among students. I believe that someone who has embarked on the journey of learning will only get stimulated seeing the vast depths of the pool available in front of him at this stage rather than be willing to leave. The additional motivation which will come naturally at this stage is that it is the first time that one gets to stand at the other end of the table, perhaps the side that the person had been longing for since a long time. This is in straight contrast to the belief that one can get most dissuaded from continuing the journey at this stage, as at the end of the day it is the perception which matters. The third stage of mastery, is again something which I believe is highly relative as champion learners mostly do not perceive themselves to be masters having been in the trade since a long time. They too face dark days, but the motivation to build upon that skill which they have been practicing for long increases as they get better at it. The desire to learn only increases at this stage as they feel that minor chinks in the armour must be weeded out. Taking an analogy from another sport, it is no surprise why Rahul Dravid would still practice daily for 5-6 hours to perfect a technique that had him earn the name of ‘The Wall’ in cricketing fraternities. While learning is a highly perceptual matter, I believe that the desire to continue learning despite any constraints is the essence of the blog and that is something which has been conveyed very well as it has highly motivated me, as a part of the next generation, to never give up on the skills which I aim to eventually learn.

The path of learning is never easy. Someone who yearns to learn more and achieve mastery in it is indeed admirable. Thank you for the lovely inspiration ma’am. It is a known fact that having the courage to learn something new and sticking with the gradual learning process is not an easy path. But as Gandhi-ji has rightly said – “Be the change you wish to see in the world”- we should take the initiative if we want to change something about ourselves, personal growth is solely dependent on oneself. On some good days, we will have people in our lives cheering for us and motivating us, but on most days, it is our own initiative which will be on our side. Your story has actually inspired me to take a step towards the transformation that I have been thinking about for quite a while now. And even as I write it, it is hard for me to explain since I consider this a weakness and I have been wanting to work on it for a long time now. It is essential as a student from a premier business school to be aware of the current news and happenings in the world. The benefits of reading the newspaper are countless, and even after being aware of this, I do not make the effort to read one. Every night I sleep with this regret in my mind that I did not add to my knowledge. It might sound trivial, however, for me taking that first step of reading the news was extremely crucial. After reading your story about taking that first step towards learning something, I was inspired enough to take my first step towards updating myself and just finished reading a few articles from a business paper. I have a small sense of achievement today, but I want to make this a habit and hence I will make the effort of pushing myself every day to stay updated. The courage of taking the first step is about much more than just starting. In my story, it plays a bigger role since I aim to be one of the top business leaders in the country someday and it is crucial for me to know about the churns, mergers and the trends in business by keeping myself updated. A good orator can only be heard if her content is worth the while. I need to acquire the right skill set to be who I want to be and taking this first step of reading the news is thus about reinventing myself by feeding into my thought process. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity and a platform where I can express myself and be inspired from teachers like yourself. Reading your article has immensely helped me. If you took the plunge, then I should too! Thank you so much ma’am.

Ma’am, I really like the way you have explained the stages of learning and the need to learn using a relatable example of swimming. Though I didn’t face problem while swimming but I have felt the sense of victory and pride after successfully going through a challenge. Even if I failed, I told myself that I have learned something new. Reading your article reminded me of an article that I read in the book called “The Habit of Winning” where the author says that to climb a mountain, it is not the equipment and training that matter most but it is the mountain itself that makes all the difference. It is important to have mountains (goals) in our lives because, in the process of moving towards our goals, we learn. An important aspect of learning is having a fair sense of self-belief. No learning comes easy and often we often face failures which might give rise to “damaging learnings” in the form of self-doubt. One has to constantly keep himself motivated by believing that he has all the means and capability to do win. An adage “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you are right!” succinctly explains the value of learning to have faith in self. Joseph Murphy, a popularly read author in his book “The Power of Subconscious Mind” says that the subconscious mind has no filter of itself and that if a person reinforces negative thoughts onto the naïve subconscious mind, then negatives will keep happening in the life, which will further affect the thought process. To mitigate this, one has to learn to put reinforce positive thoughts, even in the face of adversity. I understand that doing this seems impractical and difficult at first but from my experience, I can tell that it is not unachievable. You were very right in mentioning the requirement of a mentor who could be a friend too. The question that comes to mind is how do you find the right mentor? The internet is replete with quotes and stories about the importance of mentors and how successful people always have mentors, for example, Mr. Uday Kotak considers Mr. Anand Mahindra his mentor and Mark Zuckerberg considered Steve Jobs his mentor. I too have been trying to find a mentor or rather trying to know how to find the right mentor. Some might argue that everyone who teaches you something is a mentor. However, I believe one should have a constant companion whom one may consider a mentor. With regards to perseverance, I am highly inspired by Prakash Iyer’s words “Do all that is expected. And then a little bit more”.

Wow!!! It has been long since I read an article which has all the flavour. Excellently composed and structured blog, ma’am. I can go hours and hours in writing about this article and having a conversation with you. I am likewise a swimmer, so I was feeling nostalgic. In fact, I was envisioning myself swimming, battling in my initial days to breathe, making a coordination in my hands and legs and breaths, being on the shallow water of the swimming pool, diving into the sea watching the coral and the fish while snorkelling, feeling the ripples of the ocean water, enjoying the tranquillity yet in the meantime concerned about the uncertainty that lies in the apparently calm waters. But above all, what I loved in this blog was that this blog illustrates how much deeply swimming or any experience by enlarge can teach us. I had never introspected that. But now when I sit back, see in my past, I realise how much I have changed after experiencing some learnings. Takeaway for me from this blog was that it delightfully delineates that swimming doesn’t teach you only swimming. I additionally appreciate how smoothly the blog transacts from a specific point of swimming to a general discussion of learning ladder. Well, I should come out of my love with swimming now and focus on the broader view that blog has addressed and that is learning. I couldn’t have agreed more with the blog. Firstly, we need to learn how to learn. Restating, I had never realised that how any experience consciously or subconsciously teaches us valuable lessons of our life. But it does. Any new task is challenging initially. It asks you to come out of your comfort zone. But we need to keep moving forward, risk, maybe fail and but then rise again. That reminds me a famous quote, “A Ship in Harbour Is Safe, But That Is Not What Ships Are Built For.” So true. I would like to mention the theme of a book named as “man’s search for meaning” written by Viktor Frankl. He has mentioned that there is always some objective a person should be aiming for. And that’s what offers meaning to the life. Sooner or later, we become comfortable in what was seemingly terrifying before. We become perfectionists. But the story doesn’t end here. A new challenge pops up. Challenge of not being complacent. So, the blog ends well suggesting what we should strive for. After all, learning and achievement are not destinations, they are paths. One accomplishment lays path for another accomplishment to achieve. Well said Bindu ma’am, very well said!!! A great learning.

Incredible article, Bindu Ma'am. As I would see it, the ability to accomplish something is vital. The interest in the brain of the kid to end up plainly mindful of the general population and the things around him demonstrates his curiosity and the yearning to learn. Had he surrendered attempting to remain on his feet subsequent to falling a million times, he would in any case be slithering! Would you be able to ever envision that? I figure, the appropriate response is consistent and that is a resonating NO! Along these lines, this human inclination to bomb constantly and ascend like a phoenix again is the thing that influences us to go up against any test and face it. As Brian Herbert properly stated, "The ability to learn is a blessing; the capacity to learn is an aptitude; the eagerness to learn is a decision." Everything that we are learning is preparing us for something and bringing us closer to our dreams and aspiration. It is a continuous process- a journey and not a destination. So, does learning necessarily mean reading books and passing examinations? Or is it more than that? All things considered, the appropriate response is that we gain more from collaborating with individuals of various societies and foundation, investing more energy in the field than at the work area and all the more significantly having the enthusiasm and the undying craving to succeed. The best way to learn something new every day is to open yourself up to new adventures, new possibilities, and above all else, to your senses that's right! As you properly stated, it’s a 3-stage process- stage 1 – taking baby steps; stage 2 – accomplishing and enjoying the process and stage 3- mastering the art/skill. Can we achieve mastery overnight or is it years of hard-work? We may feel like giving up and will be confronted with questions like, “Am I doing the right thing?”, “Is it really worth all the time, effort and money?”, “Will it help me go forward?” It is at these significant minutes when adhering to the battle, rousing yourself and not surrendering spares the day. The world is loaded with cases of awesome pioneers and identities who battled despite seemingly insurmountable opposition and rose effectively. Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer, Howard Schultz, Elon Musk, Jack Ma, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, and so forth to give some examples. They have turned into a motivation to me and substantially more. Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn is because every time I learn something new, it pushes old/redundant stuff out of my brain. In the words of Henry Ford- “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” We have an illustration appropriate in SPJIMR i.e. Mrs. Ratika Gore who is seeking after Ph.D. at 43 years old. Perseverance, dedication & discipline will help you go places. It is your beliefs that make you or break you. In this way, continue onward, regardless of how hard the progression is and don't stop! Since the view from the best is excellent.

Ma’am, I really loved the way you have written down your entire journey of learning. “You learn something every day if you pay attention” – Ray Le Blond Just like any other day, I was sipping a cup of coffee at the Bistro. Suddenly a cat came and pounced on a pigeon who was strolling on the ground in search of some food. Immediately, the entire crow community started crowing at the loudest pitch and tried to scare away the cat. It was a very normal incident, but the learning that I had was phenomenal. A thought struck me at that very point of time. We humans are blessed with such a rational brain; still we never get up for our own people when they are in danger. Almost every day we read news articles which say that a human being was left to die in a hit and run case. This incident at the Bistro taught me humanity. Similarly, every small incident that you come across which you are busy with your mundane activities; teach you a lot in your life. I prefer to call it practical learning. Practical learning starts from the moment you are born. Practical learning is just not bound by any sort of conditions. There is one more type of learning; I prefer to call it the conscious learning. Under this category, we make efforts to learn a skill, technology etc. These two types of learning go hand in hand and both the types of learning are important for all the human beings. Learning helps us to grow, develop our personality and knowledge base and improve us as a person. It also keeps our brain cells active and helps us to succeed in our life. It is rightly said that “Knowledge is the food of our soul” and this knowledge comes from learning. This means that learning is not just required for our conscious and sub conscious brain, but it also required for our soul.

This was a refreshing article to read as Ms. Bindu Kulkarni has beautifully described the never-ending process of learning. I believe that knowing how to learn is the first thing many of us actually need to learn. Ms. Bindu Kulkarni very aptly suggests that one should never stop learning. The three stages of learning described in the blog beautifully capture every learner’s experience. I particularly agreed with the description of the first stage in which you have to face low levels of appreciation and the only thing that takes you forward is the will power. However, I believe that there is a difference in the process of learning at different stages of life. As a child, this stage is relatively easier as one is more open to new things and has abundant appreciation from elders. As an adult, many of us tend to give up at this stage not only due to lack of appreciation, but due to lack of will power to sustain failure. Further, my dilemma arises over the third stage of learning i.e. becoming a master. I want to learn so many things and just as the author suggests, it is good to never stop learning. But the question is, how can one master all that he learns? Is it feasible to reach the third stage of every learning? Ms. Bindu Kulkarni very aptly talks about how it is in our hands to decide which stage we want to stop our learning at. However, my own experiences make me regret stopping at the second stage. As a teenager, I was excelling in lawn tennis and my coach had trained me well for the upcoming tournaments back home, when one day I injured my ankle. I had to take a break for a month which was followed by increasing academic pressure of board exams. As a result I stopped playing lawn tennis for a year which was nothing but a break at the second stage of learning. What I didn’t know was that after the break, I will be back to stage one. This time I was older, used to the idea that I play well and am appreciated. Hence, when I tried to play again, I found myself struggling and under-appreciated. If only I had thought about reaching the third stage at one go without taking a break, or known how to learn the second time from stage one with will power, I would’ve been able to continue playing. In a nutshell, although the three stages perfectly capture the process of learning for any individual, I believe there is a difference in the learning process which arises from the age of the learner. What’s more is that stopping at any stage of learning has its own consequences and the decision to stop at which stage is still a matter to be questioned.

I believe the will and the ability to keep learning are the most important aspects to keep our life vibrant and colourful. The day we stop learning we stop growing as a person. Yes, its very easy to get into a comfort zone and stick to things we know we are good at just because we are so comfortable doing them. However, every once in a while, undertaking a new learning experience and challenging ourselves is necessary to jar us out of this inertial state. Starting to learn something new comes with its own sets of challenges and rewards. As ma’am talks about her experience of learning to swim and the different stages of it, I could immediately relate to it having gone through something similar. When I decided to learn the art of baking, I had no previous knowledge or experience of it. All I knew was that I was utterly fascinated by the end products. Taking baby steps, I decided to join a demonstration class by a chef, where she would make the products and we could watch her in the process and learn from it. Like the most ardent of students, I paid complete attention to all she did and furiously jotted down notes. Back home, I decided to give the wonderful looking pinwheel cookies a shot and tried to make them myself. An absolute disaster, the cookies turned out flat and hard as stones! I came very close to throwing my hands (and the cookies) up in the air and quitting it all. Having heard several stories of young prodigies who were instinctively brilliant at baking, I was convinced I lacked some basic sense that one must be gifted with to excel at pastry arts. This was the stage 1 that ma’am mentions in her blog, when I felt small, inconsequential and inadequate at what I was trying to learn. However, I found a mentor in my mom, who although was herself uninterested in baking, but motivated me to keep on trying. And so I kept on experimenting. I started to pick up recipes off the internet along with the recipes I had learnt from my chef and tried to replicate them. The results were still inconsistent, but definitely improving. Every time a recipe failed I would spend hours on the internet trying to find out why it happened. Since baking is as much a science as it’s an art, more often than not, there would be one or two particular reasons why a recipe failed. I would keep on trying till I got satisfactory results and slowly I transitioned from stage 1 to stage 2. I decided to join a culinary school to formally learn all nuances of baking. It was there that I was introduced to the much deeper world of patisserie, with a sound theoretical foundation of each ingredient and their roles in different recipes, which ratios of ingredients are most likely to work and which substitutions may work among other things. I learnt how to develop recipes instead of just following them. All this was made possible by the brilliant chefs who coached me at my school. Though it is still a long way to reach the stage of mastery, I feel I have the zeal to keep on learning and hopefully one day become a pastry chef myself. Whenever undertaking a new thing to learn, I believe keeping this zeal alive is the most important thing. We’ve got to keep on keeping on!

The blog elegantly recapitulates the key element of relentless learning. From the perspective of management, in the current world, where in business conditions change at a faster pace, it is pertinent for a manager to engage in a continuous learning to stay relevant. Failure to innovate or update in relation to the changing environment may ultimately lead to the closure of a business. The blog also drives home the point that learning can be undertaken at any point in time and age is no barrier. The stages of learning mentioned were apt and should be followed to ensure mastery of the subject The blog also stresses on the difficulties we face in kick starting the process of learning new things. Our tendency to learn new things is quite often stimulated by the desire we have towards learning it. Further we also face situations where existing conditions may force us to learn. As per my view, it is the desire to learn that drives learning and that has a huge favourable impact The article, while mentioning the stages of learning, also touches upon the importance of setting up short term targets. I believe it is pertinent to break down a long term goal into precise and clearly defined short term goals and work it. This should be supported with a frequent review of short term goals achieved and necessary course corrections that should be made in relation to changes in long term goals Further, not being content with or relishing with the short term goals and working harder towards the long term goal is an important takeaway from the blog. I endorse this ‘Never Settle’ attitude that a person should have. And I believe that one should always aim high and should not be content with what they have achieved till now I have personally used the framework mentioned and I was able to connect to it while reading the article. During my CA Articleship, our firm has received an assignment to work on an accounting software - SAGE to record transactions and analyse the reports. I was given the task of learning the software in a week's time, understand the nitty-gritties of operating on it, work on it and explain it to my fellow CA Articles. As the software was completely new to me and the reading manual consisted of 1000+ pages, it seemed to be a daunting task at the outset to learn in a week. Keeping in mind my traits of learning things by experimenting, I had set myself short term targets of learning it by experimenting on each module a day by creating a dummy company and then resorting to the reading manual to clarify things. These short term targets I had set have given me motivation to learn and in over a week, I was able to learn and teach about it to the others in my firm

Ma’am, thank you for this beautiful article explaining different phases of learning and the need of continuous learning. Albert Einstein said “Once you stop learning, you start dying”. Learning is a continuous process and a step by step process. It is similar to climbing a mountain, we have to go through different phases before we reach the peak of the mountain. I can relate the peak of the mountain to becoming a master of a subject as mentioned in the article. Many of us have a dream of reaching the peak but very few of us actually reach there. It is same as learning, many of us start the same journey of learning but very few actually reach stage 3 and become the master of the learning process. Learning is a continuous process, it never ends. Even when we become the master we still learn new things everyday with our experiments and new experiences. Human beings are innate learner. From the very first day a baby learns how to seek attention by crying. Gradually the baby learns crawling, walking and speaking. Kids learn things very quickly because they do not have the fear of failure. They try they fail! They try they fail again! They keep trying till the time they succeed. But as we grow up, the fear of failure increases. We stop trying new things, especially if we fail once. As mentioned in the article, the first baby step towards the learning is the most difficult phase where we have to overcome the inertia to “jump into the water”. We cannot learn swimming if we do not struggle inside the water. Likewise, failures are also a part of learning. We should not stop learning because of failures. Especially, in this fast changing world we have to keep ourselves updated through continuous learning. Being a computer engineer I can relate to this very well. In the world of technology things change very quickly, we have to learn continuously in order to stay updated. As mentioned by our respected dean, learning to learn is very important in the current world. We cannot be prepared for everything we will come across in the future. But with the process of continuous learning from our past experiences we can develop the skill of learning new things. There is no age to learn new things. The process of learning is continuous. As mentioned earlier, as we grow up the interest and motivation of learning new things decreases. So age is not the hindrance, it is the mindset and fear which stop us in taking new challenges in our life. Mr. Fauja Singh ran his first marathon in 2000 when he was 89 years old. He is 106 now and still pursuing his dream of taking part in marathon events. He holds many world records in different age categories. This is just one example out of many. I would like to conclude by saying that we should not be so complacent in our life that we stop learning. Denis Waitely said “Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.”

Thank you ma’am for such an insightful article. The article clearly points out the levels that one goes through in the process of learning. Here are my two cents on the topic. I believe to learn something new, one needs to have a certain level of inquisitiveness and the desire to take that “plunge” into the sea of the unknown. After taking the leap, it is the perseverance that marks the difference between the quitter and the learner. Obviously, one cannot master the skill, no matter how easy that may be, in the first attempt. The person should never be bogged down by failure as I believe it is the part of the process. To make the process more exciting, one can self-motivate himself by imagining himself as a master of the skill. The feeling that one gets after imagining oneself can act as a spur to learn from his mistakes and give the task another try. After dwelling in the process of learning, it is the consistency that makes a difference. One can never learn something if he/ she is not open to changes. One has to keep an open mind and be consistent in his approach. Many a times improvisation works wonders while learning a task. As correctly pointed out by ma’am, appreciation will not pour easily. It is actually the grit with which you learn that makes the difference. Learning is just the first stage that one has to cross to excel at the task at hand. To excel at the art one has to repeatedly do it. This is truly the most difficult part where one part of your brain is urging you to quit while your heart is still determined to master. In this case, I believe one should look for the silver lining in the whole process. For instance in case of swimming, the thought of being able to explore the sea world might act as a motivating factor. By doing this, one not only gets motivated to redo the task but also can look for different avenues which are related to the skill he/ she wants to excel at. Mastery comes when a person knows about skill and can teach others. For that, a master has to again think from the perspective of a learner. Patience and humility are the key traits that a master must have. Only when a person has excelled at the task, he will know its intricacies and thus he will be able to guide his pupils in a better way. Hence I would like to conclude by saying that one has to be clear about his goal before pursuing anything and has to have strong willpower to attain the task he had decided.

Mam, you have very well drafted the phases of learning something new and also its importance. The way you have drawn swimming as a metaphor for learning aspects is what appealed me the most. You have shared your own experience of swimming to highlight the undying spirit of pursuing something new. I have broken down your blog into two parts: one where overcome your fear of floundering in deep waters and secondly, your Guru Gyan on motivations that one needs to keep going. Most of us have the desire of inculcating new hobbies that they are interested in but somehow they succumb to the fear of failing. This prevents them from even trying to enter the unchartered waters, leave alone the phenomenon of mastering the art. Mediocrity creeps in and what remains eventually is repentance of not having gone the extra mile. Therefore, to succeed at something it is equally important to fail in it. As said by Nelson Mandela himself, “Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell and got back up again.” Coming on to the next part, where the need for continual improvement is cited. Though it has been pointed that this need may be very subjective yet its importance cannot be ignored. It is the urge to explore further that leads a person to the level of mastery. I’d like to share some of my learnings from the book “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahennman. The Nobel Laureate explains that there are two systems in the brain that govern our decision making process: system 1 and system 2. System 1 is responsible for instantaneous decisions that we make, like ‘Dive in or escape’. System 2 takes its own time, and after sufficient analysis it comes upon a conclusion. It is because of the analytical approach that system 2 is more accurate and system 1 is prone to statistical biases. The relevant point is that motivations are a part of system 2. It needs time and environment to imbibe the confidence fostered by system 2 and implement the same. This motivation takes care the proper attention is given and newer methods of exercising the activity are explored- hence instrumental in achieving the level of mastery desired. In addition to the aforesaid factors, right attitude is the key ingredient required towards learning. In order to add more dimensions to one’s knowledge, one should be all ears to criticism, advices and opinions. This along with hard work serve as the repository that keep adding fuel to the engine of life.

Thank you so much, ma'am, for sharing such an insightful lesson through a personal example. It’s in our fears and the will to keep going that we discover our true mettle to learn and go beyond. The categorization of the stages of learning is accurate and it made me do an introspection as to which stage have I achieved in life. It’s difficult to acknowledge one’s fear and it’s even more difficult to actually gather the courage to address it. Making an advancement to the final stage and achieving the mastery is not even in the picture for most of us initially. All we begin with is a state of mind to learn. But I believe there is more to it. A stage beyond achieving excellence and expertise. I prefer to call it the stage of ‘learning to teach’. This is something that most of us fail to achieve but is extremely essential for completing the full circle. Since I am presently in a phase of consistent getting the hang of, unlearning and relearning myself, I would consider an alternate case to put forth my defence. Rahul David, The Wall, a standout amongst the best Indian cricketers and globally renowned for his humility and solid batting. Taking a gander at his life, the man took the similar discourse of learning as highlighted in your blog. What started as a fear and passion soon transformed into enjoyment and accomplishment. What transpired next, was the level of perfection he achieved in his career. Something that was borne out of hard work and willingness to constantly learn even when the world regarded him as the benchmark. But the man didn’t stop there, even when his professional career was done as a batsman, he started out a new innings, as a coach of the U-19 Indian Men’s cricket team. This is what I allude to as the stage of ‘learning to teach’. A stage where you have attained a certain level of mastery that learnability diminishes altogether. That is the point at which you build up the skill to bestow that shrewdness to novices in this way reviving lost embodiment of learning. I believe learning is an ongoing curve and it just shouldn’t end with achieving perfection. More thought is to be given in identifying the new avenues to explore in the same domain thus polishing your overall skills. Figuring out the way to educate others in accomplishing magnificence and ability is certainly. As the pioneers of the industry the same habit I believe we need to inculcate in ourselves. We shouldn't be living under the façade of presence of three phases yet prepare ourselves in a way that our insatiable soul always seeks for learning. Only when one learns to impart wisdom by teaching others, one learns the true meaning of patience. Additionally, the learning twist at that point extends to different skylines also where you discover provisos in your own techniques in this manner accounting for assist change, possibly returning to stage three.

This is indeed an article that engages the reader and provides her with food for thought. In this fast-paced world of today where every other person is in a rat-race of sorts, plucking up the resolve to learn something new is, in itself, a considerable feat. As Bindu ma’am aptly points out, the fear of the unknown is so unnerving that one may easily be forced to give up. However, it requires real grit and determination to hold one’s ground and keep going, unafraid of what lies ahead. After all, life is about engaging in a never-ending process of learning- failing at times and learning from those very failures to keep moving ahead. Nevertheless, the classical dilemma remains- is it the journey or the accomplishment that keeps you going? For the goal-driven individuals, the transition through the three stages as described in the article is indeed the ideal way to progress in the learning process. However, for one who find solace in the beauty of the journey rather than in the accomplishments at the end of it, pushing herself to attain mastery in the subject through sheer determination may not appeal to her at all. She would rather find fulfilment in having challenged herself with the endeavour and having attained expertise in the same. She may then resume the journey of life, in search of more experiences to help mould her as an individual. In the present-day scenario, multi-disciplinary expertise is a much sought-after characteristic in professionals in the corporate world. Businesses and employers prefer prospective employees who are knowledgeable in a variety of skills and possess diverse experience. However, the phrase “Jack of all trades, but master of none” leads us to believe that a Jack of all trades has absolutely no chance of coming out successful because he has never mastered any of the skills that he has learned. But, there’s a caveat. The original quote is being misquoted for years showing Jack in a negative light. In fact, the full quote is said to be: “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one”. This makes the picture clearer- a person with a diverse skill set and expertise in the same has a definite advantage over someone else who is a master of just one skill or trade. In this fresh light, the question we are left asking ourselves is “Should I progress from Stage 2 to Stage 3?”. As Quora designer David Cole articulates, any learning comes with an opportunity cost associated with it and this argument works in favour of Jack. One can indeed take the leap and asymptotically approach mastery in a skill, thus moving from Stage 2 to Stage 3. But this is a process that gives diminishing returns. Would we rather paint a wall 1% better than last year or learn how to build the entire apartment in the same time? Learning isn’t after all, a zero-sum process. As a Jack, one can make the most of life with a wider perspective to things around her.

Thank you, Ma'am, for authoring this interesting piece on learning. I believe that it is very important for all of us to understand the importance of continuous learning in our life. Therefore, according to me, this piece that touches upon "Why do we enjoy learning new things, how do we go about learning it and what is the extent to which we learn" is extremely relevant. The larger meaning that I derive from this piece is that the aspects you touched upon can be applied to the learning of any form. I personally like to learn new things that interest me. Your point “But then, why do I enjoy it? Is it the journey of learning or the hope of accomplishment at the end of the journey that keeps me going?” is completely apt for most people. However, for me, it is the accomplishment at the intermediator steps of the journey that I enjoy the most. It is because a lot of times learning is a long process and the small accomplishments in between keep me motivated. Talking about the stages of learning, I completely agree on the fact that the first stage of learning is difficult and it’s a stage where we are full of anxieties. It is also interesting to think how such stages can be designed for individuals, groups so that the learning journey is smooth. Also, the fact that there are people around us who are doing better in all these stages is true and it is up to our beliefs, conviction how we pass through this stage. The second stage and the third stage is driven by our passion to learn new things. Also, besides reflection and coach, I believe that observation and motivation are necessary to pass through these stages. An individual needs sincerity and humility to excel in these stages. I would also like to say that Ma’am you have brilliantly identified that “Being able to disseminate knowledge and the quest for self-renewal will keep the learner in the master alive.” Learning is not just passing these three stages, it is also about constantly renewing ourselves with the new things that are being introduced. Because otherwise, our mastery will remain as a moderate level skill. Now, the point about the extent to which we learn, novice, expert or a master level depending upon our interests and needs. Our choices depend on the type of product we want to build out of ourselves. In fact not only the level of learning, the choice of learning itself shapes our personality. Shikha Sharma, CEO, Axis Bank said in a speech at IIM, Ahmedabad that she walked through less traveled roads in her quest for continuous learning. “Still Learning…” Ma’am well done not only for this masterpiece but also for following your desire to learn continuously. All of us should learn from it.

Thank you, ma'am for this wonderful blog, enlightening us on the various stages of learning and bringing out the very essence of persistent learning. In the present day competitive world, everyone is eager to take the 'plunge' and learn something new. People want to keep adding values by learning new dimensions, in order to stand out from the rest. But is the process of learning that simple? I wish it was! Learning is not only a continuous and a rigorous process, but it is also a skill which needs to be inculcated. If it is so challenging, I ponder why do people wish to take the 'plunge' in the first place. I believe there is one reason to justify this. It is not because people relish going through the tiring process of learning, but it is their perception of being accepted, loved and recognized once they accomplish the targeted objective. There is a famous saying, 'If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you; If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you'. It is this inner drive of attaining future success that urges people to keep enduring the 'exhausting' process of learning. Setting benchmarks and short-term goals can go a long way in transforming the 'exhausting' process of learning to a joyful journey. Fantasizing about the long-term objective and the success that follows makes the learning process a burden. The end goal seems far-fetched. Fragmenting the entire process of learning into short term goals, and striving towards achieving them from time to time not only makes it more realistic, but also provides the necessary motivation to endure the difficult journey. Ma'am, you have talked about how people often underestimate themselves once they undertake their journey to learn. This is mainly because they encounter people who are better skilled and equipped. Ma'am, I beg to differ here. During the days when I had started learning to play the game of cricket, I had encountered a similar problem. On the contrary, I used to relish the fact that I was thrown among a group of outstanding players. I agree it was difficult for me to cope up initially, but it provided me the much-needed window of opportunity to learn the game quickly by following them closely. Since I always had to prove a point, it urged me to do my homework and then compete in a fierce manner. This urge to outshine the so-called better players guided me to become an ‘expert’ from being a mere ‘novice’. Another point that I would like to talk about is the fear of failure. This often pegs down people from learning new dimensions and achieving great heights. We should understand that failures are opportunities wherein we can learn more and make ourselves better equipped for the future. Failures are hurdles which will keep coming our way, but if we have the right attitude we can treat them as opportunities with a smile on our faces. It is this attitude that will set us apart from the people who give up and leave behind their ambitions incomplete.

The stages of learning have been immaculately demonstrated through your blog, madam. The will to keep learning and exploring new vistas is commendable and something we can all draw inspiration from. This, in my opinion, is a trait which differentiates the extraordinary from the ordinary and this very desire, perhaps, is what drives humans to chase excellence keeping no restraint on their capabilities. It has been mentioned time and again that humans themselves are not aware of their capabilities and I very much am of the opinion that there really are no boundaries to our capabilities, but it is all a matter of the will. Thus goes the saying, “The will is greater than the skill.” There is a well-accepted norm that learning is a perpetual process which continues until a lifetime, or even further than; as long as the plausibility of an after-life has not been refuted, who knows. Despite learning being a continuous process, the returns coming out from the efforts are not necessarily smooth. In my opinion, learning reaps results in stages, more so in an exponential or breakthrough manner if not discretely. As you have vividly described the different states of learning I would like to put my take on the same. In my opinion, reaching the average or the good level is not difficult, a little effort and grit combined with curiosity may be required to cross the initial block and make us move along the learning curve and thus enable us to be good enough. What is really difficult is to sustain the growth trajectory and pursue excellence. A learner who focuses on the goal and pursues it with all will and effort can definitely achieve it but what about achieving goals that have never been foreseen? What about setting benchmarks, records, and precedents? What about reaching the ultimate state of learning? Certainly, this too requires grit, will, desire, effort and numerous such traits but that is not all that differentiates this learner chasing excellence from other learners. What makes a great learner is a sense of detachment. A relentless pursuit to learn cannot be sustained when the goals are imaginable. It can occur only when the delight drawn from the process of learning supersedes the pleasure emanating out of success. This is the state when the learner relishes the learning process itself and ‘success’ follows as a happy consequence. For such a learner, success cannot be defined because there remain no limits on how much he/she can achieve. All they really care about is the desire to keep learning and honing their craft every day. This thought process makes them greater than themselves. That said it is not easy to be the ideal learner in everything we do, for we are all bounded by certain constraints and we can’t master everything we do. But we can definitely look up to this ideal learner for motivation during tough times and to stay humble and grounded during success and maybe practice this understanding in some domain. In the words of the famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, “He who has a ‘why’ can bear any ‘how’.”

The stages of learning have been immaculately demonstrated through your blog, madam. The will to keep learning and exploring new vistas is commendable and something we can all draw inspiration from. This, in my opinion, is a trait which differentiates the extraordinary from the ordinary and this very desire, perhaps, is what drives humans to chase excellence keeping no restraint on their capabilities. It has been mentioned time and again that humans themselves are not aware of their capabilities and I very much am of the opinion that there really are no boundaries to our capabilities, but it is all a matter of the will. Thus goes the saying, “The will is greater than the skill.” There is a well-accepted norm that learning is a perpetual process which continues until a lifetime, or even further than; as long as the plausibility of an after-life has not been refuted, who knows. Despite learning being a continuous process, the returns coming out from the efforts are not necessarily smooth. In my opinion, learning reaps results in stages, more so in an exponential or breakthrough manner if not discretely. As you have vividly described the different states of learning I would like to put my take on the same. In my opinion, reaching the average or the good level is not difficult, a little effort and grit combined with curiosity may be required to cross the initial block and make us move along the learning curve and thus enable us to be good enough. What is really difficult is to sustain the growth trajectory and pursue excellence. A learner who focuses on the goal and pursues it with all will and effort can definitely achieve it but what about achieving goals that have never been foreseen? What about setting benchmarks, records, and precedents? What about reaching the ultimate state of learning? Certainly, this too requires grit, will, desire, effort and numerous such traits but that is not all that differentiates this learner chasing excellence from other learners. What makes a great learner is a sense of detachment. A relentless pursuit to learn cannot be sustained when the goals are imaginable. It can occur only when the delight drawn from the process of learning supersedes the pleasure emanating out of success. This is the state when the learner relishes the learning process itself and ‘success’ follows as a happy consequence. For such a learner, success cannot be defined because there remain no limits on how much he/she can achieve. All they really care about is the desire to keep learning and honing their craft every day. This thought process makes them greater than themselves. That said it is not easy to be the ideal learner in everything we do, for we are all bounded by certain constraints and we can’t master everything we do. But we can definitely look up to this ideal learner for motivation during tough times and to stay humble and grounded during success and maybe practice this understanding in some domain. In the words of the famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, “He who has a ‘why’ can bear any ‘how’.”

That was a very vividly described blog Prof Bindu. My thoughts strongly resonate with your views and I particularly liked the layout of the three stages of learning. While I was reading your blog, I was constantly thinking about the process of learning in my life and the first thing I could relate it to was theatre acting. For me, it is not the process of learning that makes this experience stand out but more importantly the process of unlearning. I have practiced theatre acting for 4 years in Chandigarh during under-graduation. I performed many street plays and stage plays as a part of the dramatics society at PEC University of Technology. What differentiates theatre from movies is that in theatre ‘there are no retakes’. The actor knows the script which the audience doesn’t know and only has a single shot to deliver it. This makes learning even more important for an actor. But most people fail to think about the other side of it, which is unlearning. An actor, while performing, might be required to display different emotions in a single act. Switching from a shattered Bhagat Singh, mourning over the loss of Lala Lajpat Rai’s death, to a vengeful Bhagat Singh waiting for the right opportunity to kill James A. Scott (the British policeman responsible for the lathi charge), in a matter of a few seconds requires a great deal of unlearning. Often it happens that to master a particular skill, we learn about it so passionately that we lack the ability to think about it from a different perspective. That is when it gets crucial to keep aside whatever you have learned about that skill and think about it from a fresh perspective, hence to practice the process of unlearning. I was often told by my director that it is important for an actor to delve deep into the emotion that the scene demands, but a good actor is the one who can also come out of that emotion smoothly. What makes it more difficult for an actor is the extremely short duration of time over which he is required to execute it. Generally, the more a person dwells from a novice to an expert and finally to a master, the more difficult it is to unlearn and relearn. But a true master of a skill should be able to accomplish it without much hardship. I think that unlearning could enhance learning in some way or the other. Unlearning could also be the source of innovation in some cases. Unlearning could simply also be fun. After all, there is a possibility that you might get bored of learning the same thing over and over again. Unlearning could be the silver lining to your learning, as Albert Einstein once said, “One cannot alter a condition with the same mindset that created it in the first place.”

I was delighted to read this blog because my thoughts resonate with those expressed by the author. As Albert Einstein very rightly said “A day without learning is a day wasted. There is so much to learn and so little time to learn it”. We must always strive to keep learning in life because we can never cease to learn. The day we begin to believe that we know it all, would mark the beginning of our failure. Some of the greatest people in history have achieved whatever they’ve achieved due to their humility and the attitude towards the process of learning. I totally agree with the three stages of learning mentioned by the author in this blog. Our learning does, in fact, go through an initial state of uncertainty, fear, discomfort and dissuasion but we eventually overcome that to move into the second state of greater comfort. Once we’re able to pass through the first stage, we reach a point in our learning cycle where we begin to get comfortable with whatever we’re trying to learn. This is the stage at which we start enjoying and, at times, become a little complacent. True champions are those who eventually manage to graduate from stage two to stage three where they master the skill they’ve acquired. I can relate to these stages of learning as I’m presently going through them myself. About a year ago, I started playing golf. Golf is a sport that requires a whole lot of patience while you’re trying to learn it. Once you’re able to master the posture, swing and technique, you would be able to master the entire sport. However, the entire process of getting the right technique can be quite painful, stressful and dissuading. I went through that entire phase with my coach but thanks to my grit and determination, I was able to get through stage one. Now I’m somewhere in stage two, enjoying myself on the golf course while I strive to graduate to stage three. Thus, having experienced the stages of learning myself, I completely agree with the theory. Just like the author, I’m also of the opinion that one must keep learning all through one’s life. There must never come a stage of stagnation because life isn’t as long as we would want it to be and we must constantly keep learning to make the most of it. Learning may not necessarily be in terms of a new sport or talent but it could simply mean learning from peers on a daily basis or learning by simply listening to others speak. The entire process of learning helps enhance oneself and hence must be a constant part of your life. As far as my life goes, I’m learning something new each day. I’m loving the process and the stages involved in the entire process and hope to continue forever and ever!

Thank you ma’am for your really interesting views on the three stages of the learning process. The swimming analogy is highly relatable, because I tried to learn swimming very recently too, and I am a beginner at the same. I too, like you believe that one must always keep learning. Life is always a cycle of unlearning and re-learning. However, I would disagree with the fact that learning is a three stage process. Learning first begins with the desire of the curiosity to learn. Unless one is curious enough to want to learn something, we would never decide to take the first step towards it, which is your stage of fear of the unknown. However, learning is definitely continuous. Sachin Tendulkar also practices on regular basis. Chartered Accountants have to regularly keep unlearning and relearning new concepts and rules. I believe the hindrance when it comes to learning is ego and prejudice. Most people start to believe that they are experts in their field and do not wish to learn anymore. Another problem with learning is that people feel ashamed as their age increases. For example, a 40 year old might feel ashamed to go and start taking dance classes. Compare this to a kid. A kid has no inhibitions. He or she is eager and curious to learn. As we grow older, different types of self-doubts start arising. We start worrying about being laughed at by others for trying to learn something new. However, learning has to be never ending. I always believe that the human brain is like a sponge, it should absorb as much as it can from all sides. SPJIMR provides a vast array of learning opportunities. Our MBA curriculum tries to provide us with cross-functional knowledge. Programs like Abhyudaya help us to learn about urban poverty and the bottom of the pyramid. ADMAP helps us to learn organisation and delegation. Our peers here are from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and they all have something special in them. This is largely because SPJIMR is probably the only B school that places less focus on test scores and more on EQ and Profile based diversity. DoCC helps us learn about rural issues and unstructured problem solving techniques. The GFT gives us an international exposure. Therefore, the learning opportunity is SPJIMR is never ending. If we make the most of it by overcoming our biases and prejudices, we can have an incredibly exponential graph. Our learning curve can be upward sloping, just like it is supposed to be.

Great piece of work ma’am. It has been some time since I read such a well-structured blog. I really liked the way you have explained the stages of learning by relating to an example of swimming. There are so many takeaways from this piece of work. I was greatly inspired by the motivational book -The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by motivational speaker and author Robin Sharma. The author says “The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master”. I believe the road to better ourselves is a long one that requires time, commitment and self-discipline. No learning comes easy, we have to be strong enough to face both failure and success and take the positives out of them. Persistence is a necessary condition for us in achieving the goals. Though an initial failure may have demotivated us, we must never give-up and work hard towards achieving the goals. I have failed many times in life, but I never gave up. My parents used to back me up always and inspire me with their own life examples. Unfortunately, most people give up once they come across a failure. They give up and do something else without trying again. There are many successful business executives, who failed many a time before succeeding in life. On such example is Colonel Harland David Sanders, best known for founding the fast-food chicken restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). He failed many times in life but he did not give-up and budge on his decisions. There is so much to learn from him such as the key to success is never give up and work hard no matter how old we are because age is just a number. We need to believe in the process more than the result. What matters is how special the journey is. For example, stop caring about the final grades from the first day itself and try to look beyond the grades. The moment we shift our focus from it to learning the subject, that is when we start learning the subject and start enjoying the process. I follow the same approach and realized the same from my previous experiences. I started learning the subjects faster by following this approach and succeeded as well. If we focus on definite and meaningful objectives throughout the life, we will quickly understand our potential and achieve the results faster than the expected time. Finally, I believe that the journey is always more important than the result.

Mam, it is humbling to see people like you who even after achieving so much in life, call yourself a ‘learner’ in an open forum. Maybe this is what defines achievers- one who always look to learn and never hesitate to ask questions about things one doesn’t know. I especially like the way you expounded different stages of learning under the pretext of the swimming anecdote. The question you threw for the readers, “Is it the journey of learning or the hope of accomplishment at the end of the journey that keeps me going?” is something I am still trying to figure out. In a way it’s a paradox: I for sure enjoy the learning phase but the very reason I start learning is my drive to achieve the end result. Maybe its is the whole package of journey and the alluring end result which keeps us going and one enjoys both of these aspects. I like the way you presented the three stages of learning and the associated each of them with sense of achievement. I would like to present a slightly different take on this. I believe that to “live life to the fullest” and “fulfill your desires” one need not complete all these three stages of learning, especially in all our interests. And level 3 may not be an end goal for most learners even when they start. One may want to achieve ‘mastery’ in skills required for ones’ occupation and primary interest, but may only want to learn basics of other skills for a change and not willing to invest 10000 hours on the same. To put this into perspective, I may want to learn painting or guitar for fun or practice swimming as a backup in life threatening situations or as an exercise and not to achieve record timing laps. Imagine taking an adventure trip in which one would do scuba diving, sky diving or bungee jumping. Now all these three activities require some amount of training and preparation, lets say one day each to be fully prepared for the task. Ask yourself had you prepared for let’s say 1 year for the same task, would your excitement or fun be more? Or if the trainer or coach who helps us be ready for these activities, being a master himself, would have more fun while doing this exercise than us? So in my opinion, some skills/ activities would just act as ‘monotony breakers’ and may not deliver the sense of achievement of give that enjoyment one may be looking for and hence are not worth the time it requires to achieve mastery. Dedicating so much time would in fact kill the ‘fun’ part of the activity and make it a mere custom.

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