How to be Future Ready?

The Concept of Being Future Ready

The word ‘Future’ is an enigma. We can dream of what our future “should be” but no one can predict what ‘our future “will be”. Between the two set of words, ‘should be’ and ‘will be’ lies the whole concept of PLANNING. Without a plan, the outcome can be anything but ‘what we want’, and even if we luckily drift towards ‘what we want’ it will be a mere chance. With an effective planning the probability of the outcome being closer to ‘what we want’ would be near certain. This planned journey cumulating focus and sharpening critical thinking skill will make a student future ready.  

Gaining knowledge through formal schooling is the first step towards future readiness for every learner. The extent of learning and its relevance to the contemporary demands in higher education as well as in job market depends on individual learners:

  • Aptitude,
  • Learning ability and
  • The demand of the academic syllabus.

The rest is acquired through:  

  • Environmental learning i.e., Context
  • Observation and
  • Inquisitiveness.

Aspiration, drive and structured learning approach at individual level can aid radical changes to shape the future career direction of every student.

Future Ready - A Reality Check

The appalling status in employability of Engineers and MBAs in India are indications that there is a need for introspection of right approach to guide students towards their passionate goals/aspirations. Few observations captured from National Employability Report 2019 and Employability of MBA Graduates 2016 published by Aspiring Minds reveals that —

Can these students, who fail to meet the soft skill requirements of job market or university admission be considered as future ready? The answer is obviously NO. 

In the positive side, though these outcomes are alarming, learners can make themselves future ready through personal interest, dedication, focus, structured learning approach (plan) and honing up of critical thinking skills from an early age.  

1. Focus and confidence

Although clichéd, let us consider the example of the best student of the mythological story, Mahabharata. During archery practice, arranging a target on the tree top, Guru Dronacharya asked his disciples, what they were able to see on the tree.

While some saw the bird, few others could see the head of the bird. However, Arjuna was the only student who could see the eye of the bird and pierce the target with just one shot of an arrow, implying that Arjuna was the only student who was focused in the group.

The anecdote clearly justifies that with focus comes achievement and it also helps to build up confidence. Therefore, if one is not focused, there will be a larger chance of missing the target / goal. 

2. Critical thinking and visualisation

It is important that the focused task need to be effectively shaped through critical thinking and visualization. How can these heavily termed words be explained explicitly?

 

Let us consider a real world situation and apply critical thinking

A half constructed cement structure left for a long time unattended. A water puddle next to it is covered with dumped garbage. The filth in the water is evident. On the top of it, a load of plastic garbage is garnished. Few cattle thrive on this garbage and contaminated water.

Try to imagine— 

  • When and where have you noticed similar scene?
  • What all could have been the reason for the problem?
  • Potential current and future problems (local, social, environmental) this area can cause.
  • Probable solutions that you can offer to resolve such issues

How Thinking Happens?

Human mind is a complex machine where thinking happens in endless directions and mapping all these in to a set of structured finite directions makes it easy to assimilate.

Therefore, this bird’s eye view model is one of the ways to map thinking into structured direction resulting in holistic thinking.

1. Reverse Thinking

This primarily is to look back and think, say in the above mentioned situation, 

  • Where have I seen a similar situation in the past and what could have been the reason?
  • What could have happened that resulted in water stagnation?

2. Expanded Thinking

Expand your thought into vertical lines.

  • How it is impacting locals? Probably foul smell, mosquito menace, malaria, dengue, trouble in walking, secluded place and criminal activity.
  • How is it impacting animal life? Cows drinking polluted water and feeding on plastic.

3. Fast Forward Thinking

Think what way it could impact in future.

  • Groundwater contamination / pollution,
  • Affecting health and hygiene. 

4. Bird's Eye View

It is practically the holistic view on the entire topic

  • On an overall basis, what is the problem? Can it be written in a single sentence?
  • What could have been done differently?

The example situation provides an evident approach to the learners to think objectively.

Thus, critical thinking and visualizing every aspect of knowledge are primary steps to find out the core passion of an individual learner. Planning through creative approach at an early stage of learning may be a baby step; however, it can lay a strong foundation for your future career ready goals. The dismal scenario of the statistics that shows the dearth of skill in Communication and English learning skill along with critical ability of a learner can be identified through this time tested approach called PLANNING.

The journey from knowledge to understanding is interpretation. Hence, in the next post we are going to focus on the need for interpretation through critical thinking approach in various subjects.

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