Teach something…learn it forever

Human Brain, learning

Today, 5th September is celebrated as Teachers day in India. It is in memory of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, who was the president of India, a scholar and above all a very respected teacher. So today I was thinking about the teachers who left a deep impression on me and made learning enjoyable.

Some of my own colleagues also sent me thank you notes today for having helped them learn. I used to hear Joe Polish, multiple times, on his podcasts of ilovemarketing.com, talking about the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone.

I used to relate to it because I personally like to get down to the basics of the technology, then conceptually figure out an analogy from a different walk fo life and teach. If my understanding is clear then I will be able to put it into different scenarios successfully. If the analogy is from an area which is dear to the person who is hearing it from you then, they will will immediately absorb the concept.

So for my colleagues who prefer to look trendy, I speak in terms of fashion brands to explain concepts. For people who are more commercial, I have to speak in terms of business. A lot of people have told me that I could become a good teacher because I teach very complex technologies, very simply.

Till now I had not realised why I am able to do it. I generally used to think that I have a unique ability to understand from first principles both – marketing and technology together, which for some reason, others are not.

When I was reading the Steven Kotler book – The Art of Impossible – I have written about this book earlier also – what struck me was the way our brain is wired to learn something. Dopamine is a key hormone which helps in learning. So when we understand something dopamine is released. When we are able to build a story or narrative around it, further dopamine is released making the memory pathways even more permanent.

I think this could be one of the reasons why all the old religious texts had stories built around them, since there were no concepts of writing more than 10000 years back in India. Students were made to recite things. The recitation would involve multiple sensory organs and hence get the brain more active and the stories would keep the narrative constant.

The more you realise the way our brain works, te more you marvel at what a machine we humans are. With more and more scientific discoveries around the operation of the brain, I am in even more awe about what is the limit to our thinking.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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