Think back to when you were just growing up. When you were 4, enjoying the little things you did. Maybe you loved to draw on paper, maybe you were more of a musical person or maybe you loved to dance- but it doesn’t matter what you did. You were just having fun.
You probably also asked a million questions. Why does the sea look blue? Why does the person on the TV talk funny? Why does the train make more noise when it goes into the tunnel? As kids, we were full of curiosity, wonderment, maybe even blind to the realities of the world.
It really starts with the formal education system, where we switch from asking questions, to being asked questions. “I don’t know why” goes from a statement of curiosity to one of incompetence.
You need to learn because your worth in society is decided by how much of the test you get right.
This decouples the act of learning something new, from the reward which is extrinsic, through grades, compliments from teachers or comparison with peers. By now, long gone are the times where learning was meaningful as the act of learning alone.
Now when we are adults, we always look for reasons to learn something new. Questions like “Do I really need this for work” are common thoughts through our heads. We have learnt that the only rewards from learning are extrinsic, so we prioritise extrinsically motivated learning over our intrinsic interests.
But at the very core of learning, is interest and intrinsic motivation. Curiosity and wonderment are what led us to invent new technologies and create stunning art. As an example, consider Vincent Van Gogh who after being a failed pastor, picked up painting out of personal interest. He then went on to paint The Starry Night, a late bloomer at the age of 36.
Looking through the lens of a child, not everything always has a clearly defined purpose, some things are worth doing just because you want to. Exploratory play is how humans learn.
Learning intrinsically, in fact, is one of the best forms of self care. You will be doing something purely for yourself with no ulterior motive. You will unlock skills you never knew you had and be able to do things you never imagined you would do. Even if there’s no immediate extrinsic reward, you will pick up new abilities you can apply to many areas of your life. All this and you will feel just like a kid, having fun, despite the failures that come with learning something new.
Imagine being able to unleash this version of you. The inner child, who is not afraid of failure, and is striving to be forever curious. The version of you that sees the self as an unfinished portrait, getting better with every fresh stroke of the brush.
So, I’m building something new, to help people become the most capable versions of themselves. It’s kinda like a
- Super booster for your intrinsic motivation
- Learning system designed for exploratory play
- Lifelong journey of building your own superpowers
I’m calling it Axiom and I hope it works.