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It’s time to stop learning ❌
Start unlearning instead
"Recognize that unlearning is the highest form of learning." – RUMI
First impressions are often wrong.
We learn it as we befriend the people we used to deem unapproachable but turn out to be a partner-in-crime. We learn it as we cut off toxic people we used to consider good friends.
Just like first impressions, anything you have learned might be wrong, too.
Unlearning is the new learning
Elaine used to think that having many interests at once was bad.
It made sense: being unable to stick to one path doesn’t do consistency much good. She had no idea what The One Thing she wanted to do in life, and it sounded discouraging.
So she repressed her natural instinct of wanting to do everything. In order to be consistent, she decided to pursue only the thing that she’s really, completely interested in doing.
For years it killed her.
Then she realized that her particular trait actually gave her the advantage: She didn’t want to only do and be one thing—then why should she? She could do and be everything instead!
So she abandoned her old way of thinking. She took up anything that intrigued her interests, learned a bit of this and that, tried this and that.
She gained much more knowledge and skillsets that way, experiencing such a wide array of things that most people don’t get to experience.
She doesn’t stick to one thing only—which she used to believe she should—and that made her life experience way more diverse and colorful.
This illustration is taken and modified from Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose.
Learn, unlearn, relearn
“In its essence, unlearning is a process of challenging the beliefs we’ve had imposed on ourselves …” – Monday Mavens by Mekari
Humans like the status quo as a rule. After all, change, no matter how small, can be daunting.
When something you’ve previously held as true is torn, it shakes your foundation of belief. When something contradicts your belief, you’re likely to dismiss it, or at the very least be skeptical about it.
This is because unlearning is difficult and uncomfortable. It forces you out of your comfort zone and demands you learn from the start.
Recognizing that is the first step towards unlearning. Here are five other steps to train yourself to unlearn:
Be aware of your own internalized bias
Ask questions—do you feel or think a certain way because it really works, or are you simply used to doing it?
Expose yourself to the unfamiliar. This might involve changing your location, unfollowing people and following new ones, unfriending friends and befriending new ones.
Learn from the opposite. Related to the previous points, this helps you beat a certain way of thinking by exposing yourself to new, different points of view.
Remember that it is possible and we’ve been doing it all the time.
Start unlearning about yourself, today
Unlearning can start with yourself.
Have you ever had self-doubt that prevented you from chasing your goal? The goal that you thought was out of reach, until one day you actually went out of the way and achieved it?
We believe you have.
So, would you do us a favor?
Grab a post-it note. Scribble down an opinion about yourself that you used to believe in. Below that, write how you have proved yourself wrong. Write how you’ve unlearned a negative view about yourself, and how it impacts your life.
Make it a reminder that you are fully entitled to change your mind, unlearn your old belief, anytime.
Thanks for reading this post. We hope you learn—or unlearn—something new today.
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