Top 10 Situations where Bookish Knowledge Fails

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“Experience is the best teacher” is a cliché yet agreeable phrase. Books are a wonderful source of knowledge. Story books, factual information, encyclopedias containing details about everything under the sun, there is just so much to learn. But with changing times, we are bound to question the very basic system of imparting knowledge. Since the very beginning we are taught to lead our life in a particular manner. All those nursery rhymes, those fairy tales, those bedtime stories are nothing but an attempt to feed us the idealism at a very young age so that by the time we grow up, our minds would already be under the influence of years of ‘knowledge’. In the name of education we are made to internalize a list of dos and don’t which we are expected to follow forever! But does bookish knowledge really prepare us to face the real world? Lets find out in the following article.

10. Being helpful

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The other day I was at a local shop in my neighbourhood buying some stuff when suddenly my head started spinning. I wasn’t feeling well since morning and I think my condition worsened while I was standing in the shop. I couldn’t maintain my balance and collapsed on the ground, partially unconscious. I had no strength no get up but I was sure that somebody would help me to reach home as it was a local shop and I could see familiar faces all around. But I was shocked when nobody came to help me for the next 5 minutes. While I was trying to decode people’s unexpected ignorance and gather some courage, a boy of about 12 years came, picked up my stuff and offered help. That innocent buy who didn’t know me, who couldn’t physically support my weight made my day that very moment. After I reached home somehow, I pondered over it. What made those ‘educated adults’ act like I was invisible? We are taught to help our fellow beings in distress, right? I don’t think people really do it.

9. Mental maths

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We learned counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, it was fun. We used them in real life, it was useful. We started to love maths as a game of numbers. But then came trigonometry, algebra, integration, differentiation, logarithms and our life became living hell. Every time I was asked to solve a quadratic equation or find out two imaginary roots or integrate the equation or add the log of the some numbers, I died a little inside. I am still waiting for the day when all of that would come handy in my day to day life. I am sure there are a lot of other youngsters who feel the same way. A subject whose marks are counted in almost every level of examination is so hollow that it cannot be applied to even the most basic human activities? Why is it taught to us then? Even I don’t know the answer!

8. Personality development

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We all are expected to grow up into this full-of-confidence young man or woman who can magically tackle all the problems and spread an aura of our charismatic personality wherever we go. If some of us ever succeed in becoming that, what do we see when we look? Do we see a huge trail of personality building essays and steps to improve your body language or do we see the real life exposure which brought out the best in us? Even if you have not reached the destination yet I’m sure you are smart enough to imagine the answer. Nobody gets all that confidence by knowing maths formulae by heart, or by sincerely attending the personality development seminars. We become extrovert and independent by taking risks and accepting life as it comes to us.

7. Respecting elders

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There have been countless number of stories since our childhood whose moral used to be, respect your elders. Our great epics and holy books are the examples which are quoted in front of us to fill us with reverence for our elders. Lord Rama was such an obedient son who spent fourteen years in exile to honour his father’s command. We feel pride in saying that we as Indians have very strong family ties which make us better than our Western brothers. But what happens to all this faith and love and respect when a man refuses to take responsibility of his old parents and sends them off to some old age home as if they are a liability? What happens to our age old traditions and holy customs when a daughter kills her own mother for being ‘intrusive in her privacy’? This is certainly not what we were taught, isn’t it?

6. Spirituality

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We spend all our lives pursuing physical and intellectual goals. We study, give exams, then study some more, and give some more exams. We hunt for jobs, a secure future. Little do we realize the need to look beyond the horizon and study what’s not written in the books. The years of formal education benumbs our minds to the aspects which are greater than any materialistic want. Books limit our definition of life which can be expanded only when we start looking at life subjectively. Spirituality is one factor about which you may read in books but you cannot achieve till you walk out of the doll house.

5. Street smartness

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We become a part of the mad race to score highest marks from the moment we enter school. We are blindly pushed in this tradition following the popular notion that you cannot be a success until you get high grades. We learn to cram and mug up facts in almost every subject and copy them as it is to secure top position in class. But when we grow up and go out on job hunt, why is it that even the most intelligent of the lot fails to clear interview? Why is it that not every 90+ scorer becomes a manger? Why is it that some of the famous business tycoons are not even high school pass outs? Because books cannot make you street smart. The ability to do or speak the right thing at the right time is not a result of gathering ‘knowledge’ but a result of an active imagination and creative mind, things which are too vast to be contained in the pages of a book.

4. Expressing your feelings

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This is one situation where the wittiest and most intelligent people can end up looking like some dumb, mute person. You can read up all the love poems, memorize all the epic love stories, practice all the cheesy dialogues and yet remain tight lipped when you finally need to express your emotions. We read in novels all the time how people convey their feelings to each other. If learning from books is so easy then why people cannot master this simple art of expressing? Simply because reading on paper is something entirely different from acting in real life experience.

3. Fitness and health

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I can never forget the day when I saw an obese guy checking out a fitness journal in a book shop. I must have unintentionally stared at him in mocking disbelief because he walked up to me with a friendly smile and asked if I had read that journal. When i refused, he took it as an opportunity to brag about his vast stash of facts and went on to tell me how he knows about different swimming strokes, yoga asanas, biking champions and so on. I pretended to listen while on the inside I kept thinking, “if you know so much, why don’t you use it?” And this explains why bookish knowledge fails miserably in the field of exercising and fitness. Everyone knows they should lead a healthy lifestyle but how many actual follow it? In the end its all about your determination rather than your database of knowledge.

2. Life’s downward journey

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It’s really easy to read all those essays and poems about motivation and encouragement in life. Quoting famous personalities in the time of other person’s distress is easy too. But what’s difficult is maintaining that calm and composure when you are faced with a calamity. When all hell breaks loose, every idealistic quote falls flat on face. In a moment of panic our mind doesn’t go back to the long list of actions you can take in emergency. It just acts. Or sometimes even doesn’t, which is totally acceptable provided the fact that you cannot condition your subconscious mind and it acts on its own under pressure. We all have our own share of ups and downs in life but to think that we can handle every low point with that bookish zest and zeal is a myth. What happens then is something totally spontaneous and it could easily surprise the hell out of you.

1. Self Discovery

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What is one thing common among all the great writers? They were all avid travellers. Travelling is perhaps the best gift awaiting for you outside the world of books. Gather a group of friends and travel. You will learn so much about trust and teamwork than a book can ever tell you. Take your bag pack and travel alone. You will find things about yourself which you were unaware of. All the bookish wisdom about travelling safe, planning a holiday, discovering new places would vanish in thin air once you would experience the realms of this unending world through your own eyes. It would not just broaden your horizons, but also reach you things about life which books never can!

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