Sunday 4 September 2011

Thought Picnic: The Joy of Learning Anew

The wobbles of return

I wrote some time ago about the way experience seems to win through using the bicycle analogy. There, I suggested if you had learnt to ride a bicycle long ago and had not ridden one for ages; your next attempt might be a bit wobbly and then you get steadier and the dexterity you once had seems to return as your confidence builds up.

I have in many cases used my experience to gain acceptance in many places but experience can only get you so far if the field you are in is changing and you fail to keep up with the trends.

Recently, I learnt that pilots regularly go for refresher courses to keep up with changes in aircraft technology as well as to ensure that familiarity with the instruments has not bred contempt for generally accepted rules of flight control and safety.

Regaining the joy of learning

Now, I smile as I recall how in answering certain interview questions I was drawing on knowledge of systems almost a decade old that my total recall of those responses with regards to the reactions of the interviewers must have been merciful as they entertained my talk but were left incredulous about my views – I had become dated – an inconvenient thought but a reality I was ready to tackle.

So, I invested in some training, especially computer-based training that I had before lacked the discipline to complete and to my surprise, new knowledge was pouring in and so was my excitement at the new discoveries, it almost became a compelling obsession as I took copious notes and tried things out.

Where I stand now, my experience will matter for historical context and my answers more so because I can tell where the changes came from, why they were put in place and what purpose they were to serve.

Boost experience with updates

We come back to the issue of experience again; those who have just learnt what is out there today might well know a lot about what they have got to play with, experience counts when you are in place to implement change from a complex environment to a usefully maintainable and sophisticated operational situation.

However, what matters the most is the fact that one can recapture like the exuberant youth, the great joy of learning anew.

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