Categories
Personal Growth

My Favourite Video Channels for Learning and Development

In one of my previous blogposts named ‘Why Reading is Essential for Unleashing Your Potential? I discussed the ill effects of spending too much time in front of television.

Since then a few people had asked me whether there are any positive effects of watching videos.

Sure. Why not?

I still believe that reading books are 100 times better than watching videos. However, in some cases, videos have an edge over books. For example, if you are trying to grasp some complicated concept, perhaps watching a video will help you initially to an idea about that.

It is not like you should abandon watching videos. In fact, in today’s time, it is not very practical. My suggestion only is to keep the ratio of reading: watching videos up to 60:40 or at least 50:50. Read more, watch less.

Videos can be a great source of learning, entertainment if you choose them mindfully.

Of course, everyone has their own taste. Here I am going to share with you my top 7 Video Channels (Streaming/YouTube). Because I think video streaming platforms or YouTube Channels have richer content, I am excluding Television from the list.

1. Curiosity Stream

This one is my favorite hands down.

The day I found this one, I literally thought ‘this is what I was looking for’

It is a place to stimulate your intellectual quest.

Curiosity Stream is an online video streaming service, just like Netflix or Amazon Prime video. But here you will get to see high quality documentaries on various subjects like Science, Nature, History, Arts, Humanity, etc.

The range of topics in each section are wide, ranging from space to psychology (Science), from ancient history to modern history. The best part is all the documentaries are informative and engaging. The subscription fee is just INR 1437 (20$ per year), much less than Netflix.

If you have a curious mind that looks to unravel different mysteries of nature, you should definitely check out Curiosity Stream.

2. Kurzgesagt – In a nutshell

This is a YouTube channel which takes an interesting and complex topic and explains it in a simplistic way. The best thing is, of course, their content backed up by amazing research and great storytelling.

Occasionally, they post all their research on a particular topic on their website kurzagesagt.org. You can rely completely on their content. The kind of illustrations and animations you will see in their videos is very unique. If you want see an example of how to make complex thing simple and effective, watch this channel. A sample video I am posting below-

3. It’s Okay to be Smart

Another reliable YouTube Channel to expand your knowledge on diverse subjects. The channel is run by Joe Hanson, Ph.D.

He mainly posts a science video every week. This channel can answer your questions which always baffled you, like why vegetables have different colors? why blue is so rare? etc. You can request to make a video in case you want answer of something. Video lengths vary from 4-15 minutes. I enjoy this channel and hope you will too.

4. Nas Daily

Well, this one is very different from other channels. The videos are of only one minute.

Have you ever thought how are people in Rwanda or Iceland? Who are the strangest people on earth?

This channel can give you these answers in just one minute.

You wouldn’t find this channel on YouTube (no official channel on YouTube), instead on Facebook. Why is it so?

The man behind this channel Nuseir Yassin has an amazing story. Read this post to know the whole story.

In short, if you want to see a better sight of our world, watch the one minute videos of this channel.

5. Ted-Ed

Another of my trustworthy channels that make short animated educational videos. The range of topics is very diverse. It covers almost everything. You will surely gain something after watching their videos. If learning new and exciting things about humans, nature exhilarates you, watch Ted-Ed videos.

6. TED

Here you can listen to the ideas of different leaders of the globe. The talks are usually 10-17 minutes. It is like listening to all the experts of different backgrounds. Your thought process will change if you consistently listen to different people on this channel.

It is definitely a thought provoking channel. Do watch

7. Helly

This list would be incomplete without a bookish channel. This channel is run by an Indian girl. Here you will find videos on book reviews, book recommendations. I have read many amazing books after hearing her recommendation. Thanks to her.

And yeah, she doesn’t only make videos on books but also on productivity and student life, how to become a freelancer, etc. Overall, I found this is really worth your time whether you like books or not.

These are my favorite channels. If I have to watch videos sometimes, these are the places where I turn. I feel all of them really make sound, reliable, and knowledgeable content in an entertaining way.

Do check out these channels. I am very hopeful you will find them worthwhile to watch.

I can’t emphasize more on the fact that your life will change once you stop or reduce watching television. It is really an idiot box (although a few good channels perhaps exist).

Read great books and watch quality channels. I promise your perception about the world will change. And the change will be a better one.

“Our view about the the world is shaped by what we read and what we watch”

Have a meaningful week. Until next time.

Joy

Categories
Personal Growth Science

The Art of Becoming A Buoyant Learner

Do you know what ‘polymath’ means?

Polymath, Renaissance man, multipotentialite these all have the same meaning. The above picture depicts the meaning perfectly.

It means a person having the expertise or skilled at multiple things.

Take Leonardo Da Vinci for example or Benjamin Franklin or Richard Feynmann. In fact, most people who left their impact in this world were all polymaths.

There is a famous quote which says-

“Jack of all trades, master of none”

You must have heard about this or at least definitely experienced it at some point in your life.

Remember the times when everyone including our family, friends, relatives tells us to specialize in one particular thing and abandon everything that has no link with that specialized goal.

But guess what, most successful people lived in the earth were polymaths. They had multiple interests and often one interest has nothing to do with the other one.

From a very early age, our mind has been programmed in such a way that we born to excel in only one specified area. We can’t be good at multiple things.

And then we read about people like Leonardo Da Vinci and others like him, and think ‘Oh come on! they were genius people, I can’t be like them’

Really! is that so? Henry Ford has a beautiful reply to that

“Whether you think you can or cannot

Either way you are correct”

‘What your mind can believe, it can conceive‘ as Napoleon Hill said in his ‘Think and Grow Rich’ book.

And then even if you believe that you can become a polymath, but then you would ask How would I learn so many things? How can I become good at multiple things in this short span of lifetime?

The most important question should be

How should I approach learning to learn better and faster?

This is one question which most of us never ask ourselves. Maybe we are not programmed to ask so. We think it’s an inherent natural ability that can’t be improved.

And one might think ‘why should I even bother about becoming multipotentialite’?

Fair enough. Not everyone is interested in learning multiple things. If someone wants to dig deeper only in one specified subject, that’s also great. We all have our own choices.

But skilled at many things doesn’t mean you have to monetize all those skills. A lot of times people learn something just to quench his curiosity or to have fun.

You look at the lives of great scientists, artists, writers, most of them had/have multiple hobbies which people don’t even know. But somehow these hobbies helped them to focus better on their main job. Today, scientific research also supporting such claims. I have written an article about this before.

Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Max Planck, you probably have heard about all of them. They were great scientists, everyone knows them. But do you know they were also skilled musicians? Einstein used to play the piano. He was really good at playing the piano. He said once-

Life without playing music is inconceivable for me.”

Music helped Einstein in this thought process and helped convert the images to logic. Similarly, Heisenberg and Max Planck were also expert musicians. In fact, there is a beautiful article named ‘Symphony of Science’ on the Nobel prize website. You should read it sometime.

Anyway, coming back to the question ‘how should I approach learning?

I captured a beautiful (as well as meaningful) image from the book ‘The Intelligence Trap’

From the book ‘The Intelligence Trap’

If you just understand this curve properly, learning something (you like) will become easier and more fun.

So what does this learning curve conveys?

Psychologists have described four distinct stages of learning and they are as follows

1. Unconscious Incompetence

This is the very first stage before even learning something new. At this stage, most of the ignorant, overconfident people lie. Here people don’t even know what they don’t know (wow!).

You must have encountered such people who behave like they have all the knowledge of the world and they need to learn anything new. Basically, their mind is full of ignorance and it has no place to fill with any sort of new knowledge which ultimately leads to overconfidence. Therefore, you are incompetent as well as unconscious about it.

2. Conscious Incompetence

At this stage, people realize that they lack at certain skills and they need to work towards it. This is the beginning stage of learning anything new.

Until you don’t realize you don’t know something how can you even start learning? You have to empty your mind first to fill it. Here still are incompetent but you are at least conscious of that.

3. Conscious Competence

Now you are ready to put effort for learning. You start to look for the most efficient ways to learn.

Here I would suggest you to use the Feynman technique to learn anything new. This one I really found a great approach for learning anything.

What is the ‘Feynman Technique’ to learn?

This technique was named after the famous scientist Richard Feynman. In addition to being a great scientist, he was a fascinating teacher. In fact, one of his nicknames was ‘The Great Explainer’ because he was able to boil down incredibly complex concepts and put them in simple language.

It’s a simple four-step process-

  1. Take a piece of paper and write the name of the skill/concept you want to learn.
  2. Explain the concept to yourself and write it down (whatever comes to your mind). Draw diagrams, charts or whatever you find convenient to learn easily. This is like making your own notes.
  3. Introspect about your understanding of the subject. Identify the areas, which you haven’t understood properly and review them.
  4. The important part of this technique is to challenge yourself to make understand your learning to someone who is not an expert on that. Think about how can you explain your understanding to a child. Initially, you might think how is that possible to explain complex concepts to a child but with practice you can.

Take Einstein for example. You would agree with me that understanding the concept ‘Theory of Relativity’ is not an easy one.

But Einstein gave an amazing analogy to explain it simply. He said-

“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

Now it’s easy to understand relativity right. So anything you learn, think about how can you explain it to others simply.

“A great explainer is a great learner”

I found a great video of Josh Kaufmann on learning anything new faster (in just 20 hours). You can see the video below-

4. Unconscious Competence

In the earlier stage (Conscious competence) you have to put effort, you have to think, make decisions to learn. In other words, you are aware of what you are doing. You are consciously doing everything.

But at this stage, after a lot of practice and training, you become skilled and now things happen effortlessly. You are unaware of the fact that you are even putting any effort.

You must have experienced this. Think about those times when you were reading an amazing book and you were so engrossed in the book that you were unaware of your surroundings. You felt like time just flew

. Or you were playing any musical instrument and you were so lost that fingers were coming automatically on the strings, you didn’t have to consciously put your fingers on the strings.

There are many instances like that you encounter frequently. This is known as ‘Flow State’, a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s a blissful state and to live a fulfilled life all of us should strive to experience more of such Flow state in all the areas of our life.

But there is a danger at this stage. Now that you know you are skilled at something, there is a great danger that you become overconfident and no longer want to consciously put any effort to improve. Your growth, learning might hit stagnancy. You will find many examples like that.

There is a famous quote by Bertrand Russell that says-

Becoming dead sure about everything is the danger at this stage. Do not fall in this ‘expert bias’ trap as described by David Robson in his book ‘The Intelligence Trap’.

5. Reflective Competence

If you can reach up to this stage of learning, you will achieve mastery over the subject you want to learn. Here, you are aware of your feelings, intuitions, and identify biases before they cause any harm. You reflect over your learnings and learn from your previous mistakes. You are aware of your shortcomings.

This reminds me of what Lao Tzu said-

This stage of learning is exactly the reflection of this quote.

See, I don’t believe that we are born to excel only in one particular thing. The biggest boon to born as a human is that our lives are not predetermined, unlike animals. We have the choice to explore our life as much as possible.

There are so many things to learn, to get excited about. Sometimes we just take it for granted that we are born on this beautiful planet as humans and we have the choice to learn so many things.

Explore your life as much as possible. That’s the best piece of advice from my side. As long as you are alive LIVE YOUR LIFE TO ITS FULLEST.

Every time I become hopeless, I remember the following quote and become excited again.

Death Quote

Have a learning week. Until next time.

Joy

Source:

  1. ‘The Intelligence Trap’ by David Robson
  2. Symphony of Science
Categories
Personal Growth

The Disruption of Modern Education System and the Alternatives

Can you recall, how were the telephones 100 years back ?

Something like this right.

Earlier Telephones

Now, think about the phone we use today.

Smartphone

Drastic change right. This is the obvious sign that how fast human civilization is prospering. Not only with telephone, if you look at other things (pictures below) also, you will realize how far we have come.

Now look at another scenario. How were the classrooms in earlier days?

Classrooms in earlier days

And how do they look now?

Modern day classroom

Now compare both the classrooms.

Except some technological advancement (like the use of powerpoint) not much difference is there right. The way students perceive and learn in school, college and universities are still the same. Some people say-

“Education is the backbone of the society, nation, world.”

We are progressing in almost every aspect of our life. Making our lives more comfortable, smooth. Then what happened with our backbone? Why our backbone still remains the same as it was a century before?

Maybe we should ask the question in a different way. Does the education provided to us in school, college or universities serve the purpose, what our society or world needs today?

To know this answer in a deeper sense, we must go back to know why even we need school or colleges? And how did all this started?

Earlier, when humans used to live in jungles, children learned what they needed in order to become effective adults and survive. They learned this trick and tools from their social groups which taught them to make weapons, hunt and finding life-sustaining resources. That’s all education meant in those times.

Around 4000 years ago schools first emerged in societies. Near 3000 BC, the Mesopotamians and Egyptians created structured education for the advancement of society with the intent to provide moral teachings and religious instruction.

Many civilizations after that like ancient Greeks and Romans used to teach their young fellows how to read, write and prepare them for the future. After the Roman empire fell there schooling system became the model of European schooling.

In India, early schooling starts from Vedic age (1500 C.E. to Early Medieval Age). In ancient India, the schooling system was known as ‘Gurukul’, where pupils used to come and stay with the teacher (guru) from an early age. The pupils reside in the forest at their teacher’s residence and live a simple life as celibates till the completion of their education.

The purpose of education at that time was- self-control, development of character, Social awareness, personality development, propagation of purity. It was a journey from mortality to immortality, from chaos to spiritual bliss.

If you have observed carefully, irrespective of the civilization be it Greek, Indian, Egypt everywhere the sole purpose of education was same.

It was for the advancement of society. Pupils were educated so that they can prepare themselves and contribute to the betterment of society.

The purpose of education perhaps remains same. However, the question remains same as I raised before.

Does today’s education system prepare us for the future? Is it even relevant in the context of today’s world?

If you think about the industrial age, which was somewhere between eighteenth to nineteenth century, today’s education system might seem relevant. In those times one needed a huge workforce to work in industries. Industries needed trained people to work.

But the scenario has changed today. We are living in the digital age today. Industries don’t need a large number of trained people today. Technology is replacing those trained people. Artificial intelligence like robots has already started working in many industries.

But sadly, we still teach at our educational institutes, how to become that trained employee.

Doesn’t those bureaucrats of those educational institutes know that the world has changed and so are the demands?

The world has become skill oriented instead of just degree oriented.

Probably this is the scariest time for colleges and universities. Why am I saying this?

There has been a tremendous change of mindset of the biggest companies of the World at this time. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Facebook, Volkswagen, Walmart, and many others started valuing skills of their employees more than their degrees. Which means you can work in the most influential companies of the world without having an academic degree.

Apart from that, many companies have started their own universities to train and teach their employees.

This also means that what most of the academic institutions teach you is outdated and no longer relevant to this age. Moreover, what college and universities teach us is hard skills. But the demand for soft skills is increasing day by day.

Now, what are hard skills?

Hard skills are teachable technical abilities that are fit for a job and measurable. For example coding, writing, programming, learning math, marketing, designing, etc. are skills that are suitable for a job.

In contrast, soft skills are abilities that are not unique to any job but makes us a better human, leader or employee.

According to a survey by LinkedIn, employers nowadays value soft skills more than hard skills. Skills like good communication ability, critical thinking, problem-solving mindset, collaboration, leadership are in high demand today.

Unfortunately, college or universities don’t teach us most of these skills. They don’t teach us how to manage our finances, how to overcome our fears, how to become a better speaker.

On the other hand, online learning platforms like coursera, udemy, khan academy, edx, masterclass provide you all kinds of courses whether it’s about hard skills or soft skills. Expenses of these courses are also much less compared to college tuition fees most often.

Does that mean I am telling you to not go college or university?

No, That’s not what I am trying to tell you. It’s your personal choice. In a country like the USA, college expenses are really high. In rest of the world, expenses are still less.

All I am trying to tell you is, don’t rely on those institutes for your career or life. You are living in the digital age, not in the industrial age. So stop learning the way people used to learn in the industrial age. You can learn about any interests you have. Develop your soft skills along with your hard skills.

Remember in this era, the only person who can stop you from learning anything is you, no one else. A college or university degree will not make your fortune, it’s your skills which will.

In fact, homeschooling is becoming popular these days, CEO’s like Elon Musk to Asim Qureshi (CEO of Launchpad) are preferring homeschooling for their children instead of the conventional schooling system. It’s becoming more popular among masses also.

Whereas, creativity/innovation is in very high demand in today’s world. Conventional school system actually killing it by forcing students with assignments, tests, etc.

You must listen to this Ted talk by Sir Ken Robinson in this regard.

Think about your own experiences. What you have learned in your school, college or universities that’s helping you cope with the real world. Except the warm relations with your friends, I guess you hardly remember or learned anything from those tests/assignments after spending years after years. We need serious change there.

What would happen if a doctor prescribes all his patients the same medicine?

Results will be catastrophic right.

Then why schools/colleges treat every pupil the same way? Why everyone is forced to do the same things?

Someone said beautifully-

“A child’s mind is not a bucket to fill, but a fire to ignite”

Does our education system ignite that fire?

Ask yourself that.

It’s high time we think about the way we want to perceive education. If education is the backbone of a society, then we can’t let that backbone weaken or break. We must learn from countries like Finland, Singapore where children are encouraged to learn through experiences, homework/assignments are less so that they can get time to think, to imagine. School timings are shortened which allows students to explore more of their lives.

Just like it was in ancient civilizations, the purpose of education should not be just to make a living but to build your character (soft skills), to open up your heart and free your mind. Education should help you to realize the truths of life and prepare for a better future.

If your education is not helping you to lift your soul, to contribute towards the advancement of society, then it’s failing miserably.

The good thing is, in this digital age, school/colleges are not the only options to learn. You have a plethora of options if you really want to learn something. Remember what Jim Rohn said-

What are your thoughts on education?

Keep learning, keep growing.

Have a great week. Until next time -Joy

Source:

  1. System Failures: The Education System and the Proliferation of Reductive Thinking
  2. Education in India – Timeline of Indian Education System
  3. Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?