What to unlearn is just as important as what to learn

We put a lot of energy and planning into what to learn, but do we ever consider what we need to unlearn?

You might think to yourself, why do I need to unlearn anything?

In my opinion, knowing what you need to unlearn can be far more valuable to continual development then learning new stuff. But, why is this? Well, there are some things, sometimes a lot of things that are not beneficial to the way we live. For example, behaviours and habits we’ve learnt from others along our journey.

If we don’t address the things that cause conflict and potentially hold us back from evolving before we keep adding more into the operating system that is us, then we have problems.

Let me share a practice with you that I like to do twice yearly. I look at the way I live my live at that moment and ask myself:

  1. How have I engaged with the world and other humans of late?
  2. Am I happy in the way I’ve gone about these interactions?
  3. If not, what are the habits, behaviours or mindset changes that I need to unlearn?
  4. How will unlearning these things help me personally and those around me?

I find that the things which hold us back from advancing are common things that people need to unlearn. 

Just like when we sit down at times of professional yearly reviews or personal ones, where we ask ourselves, what more we want to do? What should I learn next? We should also focus on the stuff we might need to unlearn to support future growth.

At the end of the day, learning new stuff is great. But, if you’re not dealing with the habits, behaviours and mindset that’s causing conflict in the way you operate, then no amount of new skills are going to make you a better human.

Knowing what you need to unlearn for future growth is an important skill to acquire and one which you can practice with the recommendation above or create something that works for you.

Remember, what to unlearn is just as important or as Iggy Pop said “It is very important what not to do”


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