Why unlearning matters—and how to start

The history of the sticky note is a story about unlearning. Image: Pixabay

Gaining knowledge and proficiency is often hard, and the applause is often proportional. (Tweet a photo of your certificate! Add to your “Skills” section on LinkedIn!)

But there’s another form of growth, one that is as difficult yet typically goes uncelebrated: unlearning. And it’s just as empowering, if not more.

What is unlearning?

While learning can be specific and finite (“I want to learn ______”), unlearning is an attitudinal shift. Unlearning requires revising your perspective holistically, dissolving thought patterns, habits, and default mental frameworks.

Unlearning isn’t erasing or denying history. It means releasing a belief that you held true, an idea that had kept you safe until now, a definition that had been part of your identity, a rule that had comfortably predictable outcomes for you.

This could be a cultural, explicit practice (“This is how we’ve always done it, so this is the best way”), or it could be a personal, subconscious mindset (“This is how it is, so this is how it must be”). It could be about a tool, like a paperclip, or a procedure.

And while learning something can take four minutes on YouTube or four years at a university or four decades in a career, unlearning can take just as wide a range of time.

Unlearning also requires regular practice.

Five questions to begin unlearning anything:

Why is it this way?

What have I assumed?

What could this be?

What have I stopped noticing?

What else?

Why unlearning matters

Unlearning means opening yourself to unforeseeable possibilities.

This matters, because when success and failure become a little less predictable, they teach more.

And innovation can begin again.

It’s that simple, but it’s difficult.

What will you first?

Source link https://blog..io/unlearn-everything-4c7cdbecf6fc?source=rss—-eb297ea1161a—4


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