Inevitably, my eyes are drawn to the bookshelf. I scan titles and my eyes become fixed on a yellow book with the title “The Culture Map”. I ask my host, Paulina, if the book is good and if she recommends it. “Do you want to borrow it?” she asks and I’m not hesitating to say yes. Now, four days later I’ve read it and in a few weeks I will read it again while taking notes.
I love to read! Especially non-fiction books focusing on human behaviour. When I visit a library in Stockholm, I often leave with about 10 books in my backpack. At best, I manage to read two before it’s time to return them. I have a lot of books at home and even though I’m sure I will never read most of them, I keep them. When others watch TV series, I watch documentaries. Sometimes I skip social activities in favour of learning. It happens that I daydream about that I’m in prison and the only thing I can do to pass the time is to read and study.
A character strength
When I have participated in surveys about my character strengths and other self-assessments, learning and knowledge always end up among the highest scores. Often when I get interested in something I go all in. I read books and blogs, listen to podcasts and watch videos on Youtube, participate in workshops and go to conferences.
Even though I love to learn, I don’t easily memorise things. Growing up, I always had access to books, but my family doesn’t have a tradition of higher education. While growing up, I therefore didn’t have much experience with study techniques and other methods for gaining knowledge. So I’m glad that I seem to have a capacity for learning even though I haven’t acquired any study habits.
My favourite strategy
One of my favourite strategies for learning is to teach others. This approach is connected to many different needs. Two that appear most quickly are contribution and community. When I become enthusiastic about a certain topic, I want to share it with others. I want people around me to have access to the same knowledge as me, to what I see as valuable. At the same time, if others become as engaged in the topic as I am, we will be able to exchange experiences and my need for community will be fulfilled.
I remember when I started learning Nonviolent Communication (NVC). I attended a one-year program organised by Friare Liv (Liv Larsson and Kay Rung). Before the last gathering our task was to prepare an NVC introduction. It was optional for us to give it or not (after all, it was an NVC course and voluntariness is one of the strongest traits of NVC). I gave my introduction on four different occasions: for my friends, at my work and for two companies. One of the companies wanted me as a trainer and since then I have been teaching NVC to individuals and organisations.
An evolutionary source
A topic I return to again and again in my blog posts about needs is our evolution. All living beings have needs. All needs potentially contribute to the survival of the individual and the species. The same, of course, applies to the need for learning. If we, humans, did not have access to learning, our survival would depend only on our inherited instincts slowly shaped over generations by genetic changes. Through learning, we can convey information and knowledge and thus adapt much more quickly to new life conditions. Without our ability to learn, we as a species would probably have been extinct long ago.
A richer life
So my mania for learning when it comes to NVC has not only led to a new area of knowledge. I have also started a business which has contributed to my finances. I have made many new friends, some of whom I count as my closest ones. A large part of my social interaction consists of people I met in NVC. I have many international friends and I have visited them and stayed overnight at their homes in many countries. My life has become richer and more meaningful because of my need for learning. But most importantly, through my need for learning and NVC, I have met my life partner.
What is your favourite learning strategy?
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Joachim Berggren (CNVC Certified Trainer)
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On 18 August at 19:00-19:45 CEST, you can participate in a Zoom Talk with me and Hanna Era. We will talk about the need for learning.
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