THE IDEALS OF LEARNING

Education is the force that has driven mankind to this point and will continue taking us further. True that drops make an ocean, and by that principle, we can kick back and relax, expecting others to make an impact. But since you are on Feynmand, I am assuming, you are not one of those types and genuinely want to make an impact in this world. Learning is one of the tenets of education. Mind it that we don’t just learn through school or colleges or by enrolling in an online course. We knowingly or unknowingly learn every day. Be it through that bicycle faltering while moving across a puddle or the Wi-Fi signals received by your phone. If you are curious enough and possess certain other qualities as well (which we will talk about) you will become smarter every day.

I will use the examples of two eminent personalities to put across what makes one successful in learning. I am pretty sure that you have heard about Richard Phillips Feynman and Elon Reeve  Musk. These two personalities have immensely contributed to the world of STEM and have directly or indirectly influenced our lives.

Richard Philips Feynman was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century whose seminal work in the field of Quantum Electrodynamics (or QED) earned him the Nobel Prize. However, he was also a really curious character and shared the love of learning and teaching. The Feynman technique which says:

  1. Start by writing down the name of the concept on a blank piece of paper.
  2. Write down an explanation of the concept with plain English. Pretend you are teaching it to a layman.
  3. Now, if you find that there is something that you don’t understand, pinpoint it and repeat step 2.
  4. Filter the content and simplify the language.

If you have read Feynman’s autobiographical book “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”, you will find that Feynman divides knowledge into two types – one, knowing the name of something and the other knowing about something. As you might guess, the latter trumps the former.

Elon Musk is regarded as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our times. The founder and CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City, Neuralink, OpenAI and The Boring Company. His first startup, PayPal became one of the cornerstones in online financial transactions and is still widely used today. He continues to push the limits of what’s possible and it is unlikely that he will ever stop. In an interview he said that he devotes 80% to the technicalities of the projects he undertakes rather than the business. But what enables him to take on such ambitious ideas? He apparently studies a lot. He links different areas together while studying. He is not a fan of the education system that has prevailed and that continues to be so in the modern world. He believes that aptitudes and ambitions differ from person to person. Everyone is unique, so it is quite important to identify one’s aptitudes and ambitions early on. This makes process of learning way more fun. He also emphasizes on the use of problem solving, which again was stressed upon by the likes of Einstein and Feynman. In fact, he has started his own school Ad Astra which literally translates to “for the stars” and is based on the principles he believes in. For example, the kids there learn mechanics by dismantling a car. The kids there are so enthused about learning that they don’t need a vacation. That means,Elon must be doing something right.

These are just two examples. There are many such visionaries. But we must strive to make an impact on this world, and for that we cannot stop learning. So set sailing on this vast ocean of knowledge.

 

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