The greatest physicist of 20th century Albert Einstein said – “Once you stop learning, you start dying”. Learning and growth are inseparable. As of now, every year 3,90,576 patents are granted all over the world which means 1000 patents every day. Each day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced, 90% of world’s data is produced in last two years. 3.1 billion people use social media. 96% of Americans use a mobile phone compared to 35% in 2011. By 2024, the virtual reality business is expected to be $44.7 billion and 42.9 million are expected to use VR. Today, technology is changing at an alarmingly rapid pace. We need to keep ourselves abreast of the technological development if we have to survive and thrive in today’s market. Learning is no more restricted to a hobby but a basic need to sustain in today’s competitive world.
Our gifted abilities, talents and interests are not a substitute to learning. Rather they give an indication of the field where we can learn effectively. We need to have a systematic understanding and in-depth knowledge of the field that we are venturing in. Learning augments our skills and equips to perform better. Learning boosts our confidence and makes us feel more secure. There is always a fear of unknown. When we don’t know something, we are afraid of it. The moment we know something, we are not afraid of it. We become more confident in taking risks, facing challenges, competition and dealing with uncertainties. In the realm of innovation, continuous learning becomes all the more crucial to maintain competitive advantage. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, or about one book per week. Bill Gates says “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently”. Bill Gates isn’t alone. Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, and other billionaires have long promoted the habit of reading as a key component to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
In innovation, making decisions like – “what to invest in?”, “when to invest?” etc. is a regular affair. Training and education helps us to make effective decisions. The more informed we are, more accurate will be our decisions. We can make efficient decisions – in lesser time. We can make effective decisions. The more educated we are, lesser will be the chances of committing mistakes. The impact of the mistakes we commit will also be less. We will be more calculated while taking risks. Our ability to learn from our mistakes will be greatly enhanced.
Not only at an individual level but also at a collective level, continuous learning is crucial especially when it comes to innovation. [Middlesex University for Work Based Learning]74% of employees feel lack of development opportunities at workplace. Training and education comes a long way in making employees feel valued, feel empowered. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Training and Education comes a long way in engaging the employees actively. Consequently this helps in employee retention.
The major obstacles for an innovator to pursue continuous learning is lack of priority, lack of peace of mind and pride. Understand the importance of continuous learning as discussed above will go a long way in helping the innovators prioritize it in their life. Learning needs a calm and composed mind. A typical entrepreneur’s day consists of troubleshooting, business meetings, travelling etc. Mind gets cluttered in the things of the world. Freeing the mind of this clutter and focusing it on learning, introspection and improvement is a Herculean task especially with the limited time available. Bhagavad Gita offers us a practical solution to free the mind of its clutter and focus its energy on the important purpose of life. BG 6.25 prescribes to focus the mind on the self and thus withdraw it gradually from the world. In this way mind calms down and again comes under the control of the self. Then the mind’s energy can be harnessed for constructive purposes.
When we begin to achieve something in life, we tend to feel superior and independent, we become over confident of ourselves, we don’t feel need to learn anything more. This makes us inattentive and careless and we commit mistakes. History speaks for itself. Investment mistakes owing to over-confidence, short-sightedness brought billionaires to bankruptcy. It is clearly evident that our knowledge, abilities are limited and we are dependent on several others for our achievements. But over-confidence blinds us. How to live realistically so that we have a humble disposition and a healthy attitude to learn? For this we need to understand the reality deeply and led a life centered around this understanding. BG 3.27, 10.8 educate us in this aspect. They make us understand our limited existence and the greatness of the creator. This helps us to have an open mind and understand the need to learn. Thus maintaining a healthy attitude to learn, we can bring success to our life and benefit the society around us.