The great Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
If there is no end to learning, the greatest investment you can make is in your personal enrichment.
Does this equate to higher education? Perhaps – particularly if formal schooling catalyzes growth. However, pursuing a degree is costly and requires a significant time commitment. Credits are earned through a fixed curriculum, and a diploma is often seen as the finish line. Additionally, if the end-game is material gain, even with parchment in hand, there’s no guarantee that you’ll land a high paying job, or that a comfortable lifestyle will bring long-term satisfaction. All too often, within the hallowed halls of academia, students aren’t encouraged to find their passion. Even those that have defined their purpose may opt for a scholastic route that is potentially more lucrative, albeit less fulfilling.
Why we learn can be complicated. Discovering your destiny and pursuing a course propelled by a lifelong love of learning can be elusive. It also requires work.
How we learn, on the other hand, is relatively straightforward:
1. Visually (spatially)
2. Verbally (linguistically)
3. Physically (kinetically)
While formal study can play a role in personal development, self-education is an essential method for any committed student regardless of discipline.
Rather than following a prescribed syllabus or pedagogy, I prefer an autodidactic (fancy term for self-taught) approach:
- Reading articles, journals, and books. Yes, books. Many texts are available online – some at no charge.
- Participating in seminars, training camps, podcasts, and webcasts.
- Watching and listening to information-rich broadcasts (I’m a fan of the History Channel), or tuning-in to audio books while working-out or driving.
- Networking with knowledgeable people.
- Traveling and exploring new countries, concepts, and cultures.
Displaying calligraphy for Kyudo Mugen 究道無限 is a great beginning and can serve as a visual reminder. However, what truly matters is what you discover after you “know it all.”
The way of learning has no end, and when the world is your classroom, limitless, life-changing enlightenment awaits.