Learn to learn from self-learners

(From Edition 17 of The Upleveler, our weekly smartletter)

What's common to the likes of Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci, scientist Richard Feynman, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, the inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright, and the Olympian Julius Yego?

All of them have demonstrated an incredible ability for learning new things. What can we take away from their lives? Here are five lessons, one from each of them. We all need to 'learn to learn' so as to survive the ups and downs of an ever-changing world!

(These are excerpts from a series we did on learning from famous auto-didacts.)

1. Perhaps the greatest polymath ever,  Leonardo da Vinci formally trained as an artist. But he taught himself an incredible array of topics, from human anatomy to music to cartography.


2. Richard Feynman was a scientist, teacher, prankster, writer, artist, and musician. Bill Gates called him “the best teacher I never had”. Feynman began learning art from a friend, to whom he taught science.


3. Flautist Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia had become an ace flautist by his teens. In his early 20s, he dramatically switched to playing the flute from his dominant right hand to the left-handed. The reason? To start afresh, so that he could learn as a beginner from his new guru.


4. The Wright Brothers spent years observing birds. Their insight? Figuring out that large birds, not all birds, held the key to learning how to make aircraft fly.


5. Javelin thrower Julius Yego won the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics. For a long time, the only real coaching he got was by watching YouTube videos.


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