The Importance of Self-Motivated Learning By Nikita Bhargava

Through school, the term ‘self-motivated learner’ was not a part of my vocabulary. In my school, the metric for success was simple- get good grades. To get good grades one only had to have a very finite amount of knowledge and often success depended on how much of that you were able to memorize and rewrite in an exam. Though what we learnt was of a lot of importance, how we were taught and how we learnt was not in preparation for real life.

It was only once I was in college that I understood the importance of learning outside the classroom. I studied architecture where very little is taught from textbooks. Most of the learning happens through doing. The main exams are held not as written exams but through juries where you ‘defend’ your work. College was a taste of the real world, where suddenly nothing was given to you on a platter and you expected to question everything. Here we learnt how to think for ourselves and express ourselves. We sought knowledge for our growth, not just to get marks.

Learning is not just about gathering knowledge, but as a means to learn about oneself. Self-motivated learning requires introspection and leads to discovery. Through self-motivated learning, you discover your interests and talents. You must piece the puzzle to guide you and act as a compass to guide you to your passions and ultimately how you contribute to the world.

To be a self-motivated learner it is important to have the right attitude- curious and open-minded. You would do yourself a great disservice if you go on a learner’s journey with pre-conceived notions of what you will learn. Often, you may go in thinking you will learn about something but instead come away from the experience having learnt something completely different and unexpected.

And lastly and most importantly, in today’s world where ignorance and hate are dividing people, it’s the open-minded, self-motivated learners that have the skills and capacity to develop empathy to bring people together in peace.