Self-Help: The Real Meaning of Learning


Self-Help: Reetika Gupta-Chaudhary looks at the real meaning of learning.

What is the first thought that comes to mind when we think of the word ‘learning’? I personally used to get images of a classroom. Learning was all about cramming lessons from the course books and eventually sitting for an exam. But now learning to me means knowledge, knowledge that I pick up by the way of life’s experiences. Knowledge that I can receive straight from the experts by attending their seminars or signing up for mentorship programmes.

Most people tend to think that learning is a process that ends with the end of our formal education at a school/college/university. Over time, I have come to realize that learning is an ongoing process, that life itself is our biggest educator. Personally, I found myself passionate about investing in property and I learnt about property investing, but not in a classroom, rather by reading a relevant book without any external pressure of learning and without the pressure of writing an exam afterwards. I then went ahead and took my learning to the next level by interacting with the experts in the field of property, who had already made their mark in the industry and were not only successful but were also ready to share their knowledge.

For many of us the sound of learning evokes a feeling of panic, and all this is because of the faulty structure of our education system. Our education system is such that it has led to the collapse of our natural human instinct of learning and curiosity. A young child is curious and inquisitive and wants to know and find out about everything new, and he/she does this through observation and modelling their parents (the true models of learning). The same child with a curious mind when exposed to our institutionalised education system (forced classroom learning with no incentive at the end) now starts to hate the very process of learning, which he/she once was delighted about.

Learning by default is a basic human instinct! But in order to start the natural process of learning within us, we will first need to undo the damage done by our education system. This natural instinctive learning, if applied in the right way, can get us closer to our dreams!

Read lots of books and attend seminars: When I came to England in 2011, I had no formal education to support my dream of investing in property. I looked at various university courses that could give me the knowledge about the property industry, but none of them looked promising for the following reasons:

• They were expensive.
• They were classroom-based, which didn’t excite me.
• The knowledge earned from the course was theoretical and not practical.
• There was no guarantee the knowledge would support what I really wanted to do.
• The only way to monetize/materialize the knowledge earned through these courses would be to find a job in the field.