Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How to Lifeschool? - Attend Public Talks and Gatherings

Why I Love Public Lectures?

I got the seminar bug growing up in Bahrain. I attended four full day training programs by speakers like Robin Sharma, Ron Kauffman, Bob Ulrich, Wes Brown during high school. They were world class professional speakers and I learned a lot attending these events. I also attended a week long stock market investing workshop in my last year of high school.

When I shifted to Mumbai to do my undergraduate course I started looking for workshops, seminars and conferences that I could attend in and around Mumbai. I found plenty. There was some event or the other happening in some corner of the city almost every week of the day. On the weekends I would have to choose between events.

Most of them were open to the public and free of cost. Some had minimal charges. I would then register for as many of them as possible. At many of the events, I attended I was not familiar with the content being discussed. But I just wanted to learn and be open to as many fields as possible. I knew that every new thing I got to learn about, created a new neural network in my mind. This helped me further develop my thinking and connect unrelated fields.

But students have college in the morning and many of us have jobs. Do you suggest giving these up and taking days off to attend such events?

No, That is not what anybody should do. Many of these events are organized in the afternoons or in the evenings. You can plan your days and attend them as such.

Learning Experiment – 3 Different Seminars in One Day

  1. There was one day when I had college in the morning from 8 am to 12 pm. 
  2. Then from 12 pm to 2 pm I attended a workshop by two Indian Musicians about music, chakras and its healing effect.
  3. From 2 pm to 4 pm, I spent some time at a bookstore near the business chamber. 
  4. Then from 4:30 pm to 6:30pm, there was another talk on Mutual Funds and investing in them at the same business chamber. 
  5. Then from 7 pm to 9 30 pm, I had a weekly philosophy class that was part of a larger 15 week philosophy course I was attending. We would discuss philosophical insights late into the evening and have some snacks at the end of the session.

I would then take the one hour train ride to my house in the suburbs late in the evening, reach home and go to sleep very tired after a long day. I would then get up and go back to college again the next day.

I would not share my schedule with anybody, because I knew it would be hard to make them understand what I was trying to do and why I attended so many of these events.

But I knew deep within that each of these events had a very important role in shaping my philosophy and thinking in life.

Why attend such events?

The most important reason you attend such events is because you get to learn about something from the top minds in the subject.

Many of them have spent years gathering the information they share with you. You also get to expand your network and develop professional relationships with artists, writers, business people and more.

What are the different kinds of events you can attend?

1)         Seminars
2)         Conferences
3)         Workshops
4)         Festivals
5)         Panel Discussions
6)         Book Launches
7)         Book Readings
8)         College Lecture Series

What if you stay in a place that does not have so many events happening?

That is a good question because many of the event organizers at these events take videos of the festivals and put them up on a website or video channel online.

One example is the TED Conference in California. It is one of the top conferences in the world and some of the most influential people in the world, share their ideas in eighteen minute talks. Only the speakers and some invited guests are allowed to attend these events. But the organizers put up all the talks at the conference on their video channel on You Tube and on the TED Website. There are 1500 TED Talks and over 30,000 TEDx Talks on this website.

Why is this important to the passionate learner?

The implication of this arrangement is profound. If you actually put in the effort you can learn more than a person who attends the conference. As Malcolm Gladwell famously said, “I may not be able to outspent you, but I will be able to outwork you.”

How do you do this?

While watching the TED Talk, you can simultaneously read the biography, personal website and blog of the person. You can also read articles about that person’s work online.

You can pause, rewind and fast forward the video while the participants at the TED Conference cannot do the same to a live performance. You can also pause the current video and watch another video lecture of the person available online.

You do not have to spend time on travel and hotel stay as well. And why just listen to thirty-forty TED Talks. Why not listen to all 1500 TED Talks put up on the website and learn from the best minds of the subject there.

Let us Learn Together
Tweet @AbhishekShetty_

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