Fish for thought! Putting the ‘shark’ element in learning

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Those who ‘hate’ fish have something to take from ‘the Japanese loved fresh fish’ story! This fish story is the one doing the rounds on social media networks in recent times. But then, some tales are worth re-visiting, re-hearing, and re-seeing (if you can). Read on…

Fish for thought Putting the shark element in learningIt’s to do with our appetite for learning; the quest to grow; the constant pursuit to the path of excellence in whatever we do. The more we see, the more we hear, the more we listen, the more we understand, and the more we absorb. We GROW. We learn to swim like a fish. Natural and effortless it becomes. Indeed, if we learn to stay hungry, we stay foolish – a line popularized by the iconic Steve Jobs, the brain, the heart, and the soul of Apple – compelling people to think differently. The constant effort to push the boundaries everywhere is what leads to finding the ‘shark’ element in learning. So, coming to the fresh fish angle of the story – for those who are still unaware of it, let’s begin with the disclaimer ‘there is nothing fishy about it!’

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the catchment areas in Japan were limited in space for decades. Bigger fishing boats started entering newer waters to find fish to feed the Japanese population. The longer the trawl, the more time it took and the harder it got to find the haul! Fish companies installed freezer on boats to help retain freshness. But this too did not work as the sensitive taste-buds of the Japanese did not allow them to settle for anything less than fresh fish! This catch-22 (pun intended) situation led to the lowering of prices of frozen fish. Tanks, to keep the catch worked, but temporarily. The tired, listless and the almost-lifeless fish caused the fishing industry to collapse.

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Now comes the interesting part: the industry chose to innovate! The Japanese got fresh-tasting fish once again…but how did the ‘dead’ spring back to life? By introducing a small shark! The trick is in the word ‘small’ which has the capability of being powerful. Therefore, size doesn’t matter. Or, does it? The small shark in a tank full of fish kept them in the water skirting and skimming the danger points that spelt their end. These fish were on the move. Constantly! This kept them alive, fresh, and as tasty as can be!

Here are a few key takeaways!

  • Stay hungry, stay foolish
  • Stay energized, stay turbo-charged
  • Be restless to learn and grow; don’t stay in a state of inertia
  • Challenge the status quo only if you have conviction
  • Resources, skills, and capabilities are aplenty
  • Use them, sharpen them and try to keep ahead in the race to live life full size

Be a shark – keep your JAWS open to grab the bytes and bits of learning that come our way. Nurture yourself by experience, the mother of all learning.


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