Yesterday, I posted an article featuring “five quotations for your learning pleasure.” Today, I would like to look into and “open up” one particular quotation, which is by Warren Bennis. The quotation, from his book On Becoming a Leader, is, “Taking charge of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life, which is the sine qua non in becoming an integrated person.”
What Bennis means by this is that “learning” should not be something that is wholly dictated to you by certain others: teachers, parents, friends, and so on (although there is always the excuse to blame others if you don’t learn what you needed or wanted to learn). Learning is the process by which you grow competencies, which enable you to mind the world in new ways. That is, new things learned produce new thoughts or new angles on old thoughts. Thoughts change with what you learn and how you use what you learn.
This kind of active learning demands curiosity and discipline – necessity. Or, sometimes learning is as easy as “tuning in” to the world happening around you and minding your habits of participation and interpretation. Moreover, who you talk and listen to, the people you spend time with whether through books, the television or in “real life,” also form the limits of what you can learn.
For Bennis, self-learning, that is, learning that is driven by you, builds you and shapes your ways of minding the world. I am tempted to say that, what you actively and passionately learn will change the you that you currently are. If you use computers a lot, yet find yourself stuck in your use of new applications, then, taking the time to learn about those applications and how to use them efficiently will alter the situation from helplessness to a sense of control over the situation. In this way, you are integrating yourself more fully into your life situation. How are you doing with what you have learned?
If your life “feels” broken and you want to pick up the pieces, pay attention to those broken areas and focus on doing what it takes to mend those broken areas. If you don’t know how to fix them, learn how and set about fixing them the best ways you know how.
If there are things that you would love to learn about or do, then why aren’t you doing them? Simply keeping them may not be moving you toward them. Probably, as humans, we are always in a state of learning as we take things in moment by moment. Persistently directing your attention and efforts to the things that you want or need to learn (i.e. doing what needs to be done to learn them), is a step in consciously moving your life where you think it should go.
What you do with what you learn is what other can know about you.
More information about something does not always mean you have learned more about that something. What is meant by this?