Sunday, May 3, 2020

Cultivating Love of Learning: A Lesson From Bill Gates

A few weeks ago, Bill Gates hosted an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) event at Reddit. While there were many questions asked and answered, here I’d like to focus on just one of them:
Q: What do you do for fun? I find it hard to fathom how someone like you can just disconnect. Disconnect from the emails, calls, the media. All of it. What would be your definition of a chill and fun day?
A: I love playing tennis. I am an avid bridge player (a card game if you have not heard of it – it was more popular in the past!). I like to tour interesting things with my kids like power plants, garbage dumps, the Large Hadron Collider, Antarctica, missile Silos (Arizona),… I read a lot and watch courses (online or the Learning Company)…
The part I highlighted above states that he loves to read and to watch courses. But what kind of books does he read? To give you an idea, here is a page that showcases them. The question, remember, was about what he does for fun. But, to be honest, I don’t think many people will consider the books on that page fun. As for watching courses… well, I guess it’s quite obvious. :)
So how can Gates consider those activities fun while many people don’t?
The answer, I believe, lies in an important trait he has that many people lack. The trait is a love of learning. In fact, I can’t think of any other explanation of how someone could consider such activities fun unless the person loves to learn.

There is a big difference between those who love to learn and those who don’t. Those who love to learn will consider activities that widen their perspective (such as reading books) fun. Those who don’t, on the other hand, will consider those activities boring. Those are very different ways of viewing the same activities.

This difference can manifest into a big gap between the two groups in the long run. Those who love to learn will absorb new knowledge like a sponge, while those who don’t will actually avoid opportunities to learn. Can you guess which ones are more likely to achieve their full potential?

Love of learning, I believe, is an essential trait to have. We need to have it. It’s even more true given the fast-changing world we live in now. Those who love to learn are the ones who will be able to adapt and thrive. The reason is simple: they are the ones who enjoy learning new things.

But one question remains: how can we have this trait? How can we love to learn?
As with many other things in life, the main thing is to find the motivation. If you can find it, everything else will fall into place. But if you can’t, it will be hard to get anything going.

From my experience, here is a good way to find the motivation:
Have a strong desire to get the most out of your life
Simple, isn’t it? But think about it. If you have this desire, the love of learning will naturally follow. Why? Because to fulfill the desire you will need to achieve your full potential. And to do that, you need to constantly learn. That’s why if the desire is strong enough, learning will become something you love.
So what do you think? How do you cultivate your love of learning?
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