Art Of Learning.

by Patrick Liew on October 19, 2013

Recently, I attended a seminar on social entrepreneurship. It’s a discipline that I believe can make our world a better home.

This is another one of many seminars that I attend within the span of a year. I find attending such seminars a great way to help me learn, cultivate new skills, and improve my results.

Please allow me to share what has become a normal routine when I attend such seminars. Obviously, I make sure the seminar will meet my training needs and help me in achieving my dreams and goals.

As I’m not a smart person and, by the way, I’m not saying it to give you a false image of modesty. After all, humility is one of my lesser virtues and I’m proud to be humble. Haha!

Ok, where was I?

As I’m not smart, prior to the seminar, I will find out as much information as I can about the subject matter. If possible, I will get in touch with the trainers to see how I can better prepare myself and to establish a good rapport with them.

I’ll make sure I have a good night rest so that I’m in the best of condition for the class. I  will do everything possible to maximize my learning experience and more importantly, apply the lessons.

I’ll go to class early and ensure that I have the best seat and it’s usually right in front. It will be a place where I’ll have the least distraction and I can pay full attention to the class.

I’ll make sure I bring all the necessary materials to help me learn in a better way. It includes putting on the appropriate attire and moisturising my body because my skin dries up easily in an air-conditioned room.

If the organiser does not provide drinks, I’ll bring my own because sipping regularly does not only hydrates my body, it also keeps me awake. If necessary, I’ll bring healthy snacks such as raisins to help me stay attentive.

As a habit, I’ll organise the learning materials before the seminar begins. I’ll do a trip to the toilet so that I’ll not be distracted by nature’s call during the lesson.

As part of the learning experience, I like to interact with the other participants so as to learn from them. At the same time, I seek to develop a positive and long term friendship with them.

During the seminar,  I make it a point to take notes. I also use the camera on my hand phone to capture useful information.

I record all the important lessons, especially information that require me to take action. I use all kinds of symbols to help me highlight the important points.

For example, I put a question mark for points I don’t understand. An exclamation mark for important information. An esterisk to remind me to research and expand on the point after the seminar.

I’m not shy to raise my hands to ask questions and even challenge the trainer. I want to take every opportunity to pick his brain even during breaks to make my training fees worth every single cent. Lol!

Over the years, I’ve realised that my passion for learning and active participation may put some people off. I’ll still be friendly with them but I’ll never let them stop me in my pursuits.

In the famous last words of Rhett Butler at the end of one of my favourite movies, Gone With The Winds, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Please pardon his ‘French’. 🙂

As an ADHD-blessed participant, I’m very conscious that I do not get distracted and start to daydream.

Come to think of it, should I continue this Love Note or finish my after-office hour work? Let me go to the toilet. Oh, forget it, I better call my daughter first.

I’m sure you got the point.

I’ve to try much harder than the other participants to concentrate on the lessons and absorb the information. I’m sharing with you in the hope that you’ll be more sympathetic and kinder to my ADHD-blessed brothers and sisters.

Where am I again? Is somebody calling me? Wait, what’s that sound outside the window?

I’m thankful for having what they call a mental disorder. It has helped me to have a higher DQ (Desperation Quotient). I will push myself harder to improve the learning abilities and be, as they say, ‘normal’ or better than ‘normal.’

More importantly, I want to not only achieve the seminar’s objectives but to also use it to achieve the best possible results. That’s why I challenge myself to know as much as the trainers,  if not more than them.

To do that I want to not only learn but to also learn how to learn more about the subject matter. I want to see how I can strengthen my mastery  of the subject matter and further my accomplishments.

During seminar breaks, I’ll try to seek out the trainers and continue to learn from them. I’ve learned to also build a good relationship with them.

As a result, many of them have become close friends and they would offer me continuos educational development free of charge. Haha! I like to be a student to every effective trainer and be his favourite student.

If they are not available, I will seek out the other active learners. Usually, they can give me added perspectives and enhance the learning outcomes.

I want to be of service to both trainers and participants. I’m happy to serve them by helping to clean up the room if that’s what it takes and staying back to help other slow learners like me.

Obviously, I like to recruit these learners to join my prestigious and exclusive Slow Learners Club. My partner and I started the Club and so far, we have only two honest applicants.

To uphold sound corporate governance, we have both vetted and approved each other’s application. We are proud to accept each other into the Club’s inner and only circle. (Membership fees will be increased right before accepting the next application. Anybody?)

Now, where did I stop? Is that an ant running across the corner of the floor?

At the end of the seminar, I like to find a conducive spot to go through what I have learned and reflect on them. If possible, I like to rewrite part of the information so that it will help me understand and remember them.

I’ll also continue to think about how else I can improve my mastery of the subject matter. More importantly, I’ll list the actions that I’ll need to take to turn the lessons into results.

The real world is not about just having knowledge. It’s about how we can use it to make the world around us a better home. That’s why I endeavour to turn the lessons into pragmatic and hands-on applications.

I’ll plan my learning journey over a two years horizon. I’m mindful there is a lot to learn and I want to make full use of every opportunity to further my learning experience.

Also, there’s an expiry date to the usefulness of my current knowledge and competence. I want to continue to redesign myself and ensure that I’ll always be relevant and at the cutting-edge of life.

To use ICT-lingo, I aspire to re-engineer myself with ongoing patches, updates, upgrades, and improved versions.

There is no end to improving the discipline of learning. That’s why I’m so excited about it.

If you like to know my other thoughts about learning, here are the links:

Learning as a lifestyle:

Learning from the classroom of life:

Conversations with life:

Leaning for life (for parents):


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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