Last week I was invited to be one of the panelists for Hyper Island 's HYPER ON Learning. Learning is a topic that is very close to my heart. Not only because I help others to learn, but most importantly because I am very aware of my own learning journey and path. During this event, we discussed frontier perspectives on learning beyond 2020. Not just what, but also where, how, and why it really counts when you’re learning.
What does learning mean to me?
While preparing for this panel discussion (short snippet below), it was the right moment to reflect and look back on what learning means to me now, what it meant in the past, and why that has changed over the years. What seemed like an easy question to answer, ended up being more complex than I thought. Before I tell you what it means to me now, you have to know that it hasn’t always been like this. When I was younger I always assumed that school was the only place, real place, where you could learn. Specifically through reading books and taking tests and exams. Group assignments and reports were just there to annoy me, but definitely not to teach me new things. Think about it: isn’t that what we are being thought from a very young age? You solely go to school to learn (and don't you dare to have too much fun...) and that had been engraved in my brain.
A short snippet of HYPER ON Learning session that was held on November 8th, 2020.
In 2016, I graduated from The Hague University of Applied Sciences where I studied Small Business & Retail Management, majoring in Small Business. I remember feeling completely lost - partially because it felt like a pretty generic study and I had no clue what I could do with my diploma, but predominantly since my main source of learning was not there any longer. It felt like I had to actively find new ways to learn and stay up to date on the latest and greatest. While I did not (and still don’t) watch the news too often for personal reasons, it really started to feel like a challenge. Yes, reading books was an option, but not for me though. From a very young age, I didn’t like reading as I used to be a very slow reader, and being dyslexic didn't help either. Also, I had no idea what books I should read to “learn” new things, as I thought academic books were the only legitimate source of learning. It was my participation in Hyper Island’s Digital Innovation traineeship in 2017 that helped me shift my way of thinking to a complete 180.
Growing up and finding out at a pretty young age that I had (fancily put) a learning disability, therefore being different from the rest of the kids in primary school; having to go to a private high school (at that time they were one of the only schools on Curaçao that had a special program for kids with dyslexia and dyscalculia); having ADHD (don’t we all?); chronic headaches; and overall having the hardest time to learn (or should I say function) was rather challenging. Let’s not forget having the smartest older sister ever and two incredibly successful and smart parents. What I lacked in the ability to learn, my sister made up for it above and beyond. Blinking her eyes once allowed her to have straight 10’s (A+) on all her exams. For me, school definitely wasn’t the easiest place to thrive.
When I was younger I would see (and of course look up to) my parents and I would think that they knew every last thing. They were no longer in school thus they knew everything, they had to have all the answers right? Don’t worry, it is safe to say that I know so much better now. Learning is a continuous process that doesn’t stop when you graduate. I would even go as far as to say, that that is when it actually starts.
Current ways I learn
Today, learning means so much more to me than I ever imagined it would. As long as I am alive and I have the power the challenge myself, I will learn. Ultimately, I learn by reading plenty of different books (3-5 books per month), as well as reading business-related articles & content, listing to audiobooks (2-3 per month), watching documentaries, having conversations with people & seeing their point of views, investing in courses and by helping others. Most importantly, I learn by doing and I learn by executing. Being able to use theories and insights and putting them to the test to either succeed or to find ways to succeed. Lastly, I've been learning more about myself, my knowledge, and my abilities by reflecting regularly.
Trust your own process and journey!
I have made it my job to help others learn to the best of their abilities. The classes I teach are designed in a way that will help each individual student thrive in their own way. The workshops and business courses I create and facilitate, do the same.
A journey without a destination
Learning is a process, it is a journey without a destination. I learn by doing, by trying, and by challenging myself. As cliché it might sound I will say it anyways: from a young age I’ve always felt the need to challenge myself. Simply because it didn’t come easy to me…at all. I’ve always had the strength and willpower to work twice as hard as others, just to achieve half as much as them. I had the utmost desire to prove to myself and to others that the labels I was given wouldn’t and shouldn’t obtain me from reaching my goals. There is no right way to learn, there is no manual that tells you what works and what doesn’t. It’s your own journey and you have the ability to figure it all out!
Now that you know what learning means to me, I would love to ask you one thing: What does learning mean to you?
If you have any recommendations or questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org