Thursday, February 16, 2006

Accumulating Knowledge

I have always been a great fan of knowledge. Being a life-long student fascinates me! I have the knack for learning things, figuring things out and also to put two and two together. I have always wanted to know things; be it about the latest developments, news or politics. I just wanted to know. My curiosity always took the best of me. But I used to focus my attention on one subject for a while and once I figure it out, I tend to lose my interest or focus my attention on a new topic or a subject.

My introduction to the internet was a blessing. I have learned more on the web than I have learned from all other mediums combined. The ability to find information on any subject under the sun, in an instant, on demand, is a facility I wish I had while I was in school. The net is perfect for my learning pattern to learn about short topics, in resolving problems, in finding information on topics, where the knowledge can be absorbed fast.

When it comes to learning entirely new subjects in more detail, where the time investment required is significant and knowledge area is quite new to me, I tend to prefer the more traditional medium of printed books. Books have been and still are a big fascination for me. I was used to getting books as presents when I did well in an exam. My father, an avid reader, instilled the habit of learning from and loving books in us from a very early stage. Up to this date, both I and my brother are keen readers and book lovers. I still make it a habit to buy at least a new book every month. And I also delve into my personal library, where there are books that I inherited from my father, which I have not read so far. Once I pick up the basic foundation of a new knowledge area from books, I supplement, upgrade and enhance this knowledge from the web.

Another thing that I noticed while in the process of writing this post is how my learning pattern has evolved over time. When I was in junior school, till I was about 17, I was never a fan of self-learning. I was more of an absorber of knowledge when I was being taught. I tend to digest what I was taught, and went with this first digestion. I turned to books or self learning only when the first digestion was unclear or forgotten.

Gradually, this pattern changed towards self learning when I moved on to higher studies. Specially after high school, while in university, I picked up the habit of self learning. I was more comfortable to learn from books. I completed two professional diplomas mostly by self study. And in one of those exams, The British Computer Society Diploma examinations, I became the Best Worldwide Candidate. And this exam was done completely by studying on my own. That too was mostly just reading the recommended texts. This achievement instilled great confidence in me on my ability to learn on my own. And this confidence still serves me well to this day. Even when I go for training programs now, I tend concentrate on the books rather than the trainer. I am more confident in reading the book and understanding it rather than learning from the trainer.

Also, keeping abreast with the political and environmental changes is a great quest. What we term as general knowledge is being aware of what’s going around us. Knowing the happenings around us help us to better respond to changes, opportunities and threats.

One last thing. I have seen many people who are great in accumulating knowledge but are very poor in practical application. Knowledge is the tools that equip us in day to day life, in solving problems and finding solutions. Knowledge that is not applied is useless. To my eternal quest is to apply the knowledge that I have accumulated. One great way of applying it is by sharing it with others. Knowledge sharing allows innovative ways of applying the knowledge, simply because, different people apply it differently. As I have said in my personal mission statement, I look forward to share my knowledge freely and willingly!

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