Seeking new knowledge to scale new horizons

Seeking new knowledge to scale new horizons

Shital Ravi

One of the happy hormones, dopamine, gets released when we do things that make us feel good or after the completion of tasks… What better way to increase dopamine than to take up new learning tasks regularly and taking it to completion to feel rewarded and happy?

The ‘Nasadeeya Sukta’ of Rigveda has the below popular verse:

Srishtee se pehle sat nahin thaa, asat bhi nahin, (Before creation there was no truth, or untruth)

Antariksh bhi nahin, akash bhin nahin thaa, (no universe, not even the sky)

Chhipaa thaa kyaa kahaan, kisne dhakaa thaa, (Where was it hidden, who hid it?)

Us pal to agam, atal jal bhi kahaan thaa (At that time there was no water)

Thus, it all began thereafter and is repeating endlessly and multiplying limitlessly.

As it is with Srishti, (Mother Nature) so is it with all living beings too. A living being out of the womb or an egg starts its beginnings at that very moment and continues its journey to the extent of its intellect or capacities and faculties.But when it comes to humans, (all homosapiens!), the very faculty of intellect, reasoning, and social skills seem to also hinder the new beginnings.

Our life up to mid-life is full of frequent new beginnings – from the challenges of a toddler, to the role of a student, work life, family and children to the beginnings of retirement planning and coping with health. But, more often than not, for many of us, there seem to be no more new beginnings, no more new tasks, no more new learnings, to take on. We find ourselves in a comfort zone, where we do not want to go on the adventure of finding and seeking new knowledge to scale new horizons.

Nisha was a successful medical health professional. However, a sudden and shocking incident in her life, where she lost a loved one to an unexpected and traumatic accident, started taking a toll on her own health and work efficiency. A rational being, she did what was required to handle the stress and health issues by taking regular medication, exercising, reducing work load, garnering support from others, following good dietary habits and a disciplined lifestyle.

This indeed helped a great deal. But deep down, Nisha still felt lost, as if she were on a quest for something. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. It was at this time that Nisha was drawn to spiritual learning, and extensive reading of the ancient texts. This was a new beginning, which she had made with full conviction and zeal. Slowly her mind started opening up to newer ideas and she was now able to take a 360-degree view on things around. She realised that for the first time after the traumatic incident she was feeling much better in a much more holistic sense.

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” No one may have summed up the quest for continuous, new learning the way it was done by none other than, Albert Einstein, physicist, scientist, and Nobel Prize winner.

The quest of continuous new learning can be rewarding in many ways and we just cannot minimise the importance of it. Here are some benefits of embarking on a journey of new beginnings through new learnings.

Positive impact on the brain

One of the happy hormones, dopamine, gets released when we do things that make us feel good or after the completion of tasks. It is one of the four major brain chemicals, which help us in feeling happy and thereby increasing our well-being. What better way to increase dopamine than to take up new learning tasks regularly and taking it to completion to feel rewarded and happy?

Great self-esteem booster

When we embark on learning, we feel productive and there is a sense of doing something worthwhile. It gives us that ‘feel good’ factor giving that much needed boost to our self esteem we so often need, in our otherwise busy and at times dreary lives.

A sense of purpose

Learning gives us a new purpose, all over again. It helps us validate ourselves in new and creative ways.

Helps get out of the comfort zone

Learning gets us once again in the zone of uncertainty, in the ‘not knowing’ area.

Once thrown in unchartered waters, we have to learn to swim our way and find the shores. Thus, learning helps us to once again come out of the comfort zone and challenge our own limits.

A sense of achievement

As per David McClelland’s Theory of Acquired Needshumans have three main motives. One of them is the Need for Achievement [N-Ach]. Examples of these are attaining challenging goals, setting new records, and doing something not done before. Thus, when we have learnt something new and when we have completed it well, our need for achievement gets fulfilled.

Helps reduce ageing problems

If we observe closely, older people who take up a hobby post retirement, find their ageing a lesser burden and seem to age more gracefully than those who do not.

Mentally they tend to be more alert and have less forgetfulness issues.

Studies have infact shown that when seniors learn a new skill, such as playing an instrument, learning a new language or a new technology, it strengthens connection within the brain and it keeps dementia at bay. So why wait? Why can’t we just make continuous learning a way of life, a preventive measure towards our well-being rather than a curative option?

Adds to your wisdom

Through continuous learning, self growth happens. Constant learning and doing new things more often, gives you the experience and wisdom, which people are sure to notice sooner and you will be the go-to person for all advices.

At any age, instead of letting situations and events make us take up new learnings, if we ourselves make continuous learning a way of life and embrace new beginnings after every periodic interval, it will surely make our bodies and mind start functioning more efficiently, thus impacting our overall well-being positively.

Let us once again learn from Mother Nature herself, the greatest guiding principle:

For isn’t flowing water fresher than stagnant water?