Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to Unlearn, Learn and Relearn?

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” - Alvin Toffler

Learning is a continuous process from cradle to grave. It widens your mental horizons, changes the perceptions and expands your overall intellectual base. According to Stephen R Covey, one of the seven habits of highly effective people is learning, that too, continuous learning. Continuous learning is an exercise to your mind as physical exercise is to your body. To be successful in life, it is necessary to focus on physical, intellectual and spiritual learning.

Continuous learning keeps you updated with latest developments. It changes your mindset with the changing times. It sheds some of your old inhibitions, hesitations and habits. It helps you in reinventing yourself constantly.

Continuous Learning:

"View life as a continuous learning experience." — Denis Waitley

Let us appreciate the fact that everything starts small. It is human nature, where in, none becomes great in overnight. It requires lot of energies and efforts regularly. Everyone has to start small. Therefore, there is need for learning on a daily basis. The learning need not be by books alone as many think. Learning includes by way of observation, reading, experimentation, practice, training etc., Usually people go for reading books. There are many people with less literacy achieved success, learning by their observation and trial and error method. If learning is the end, the means are many. Whatever the constructive means individuals adopt, finally, it should lead to healthy learning.

Case study of Ron:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” - Marcel Proust

Ron worked in an industry for 25 years. He decided to share his knowledge, experience and expertise with student community. Therefore, he joined as a faculty in an engineering college. Having worked for 25 years in the industry, he found it very difficult to get along within the educational institution initially. But his passion to teach students compelled him to unlearn some of the habits which were not required for the educational institution. He was basically ruthless as a manager and leader in the industry. He was highly task oriented and aggressive in nature. But the educational institution needs lot of patience to handle students. Besides, lot of reading is necessary to teach. He struggled a lot to recall his olden days where he prepared for his academic examinations. He had to prepare more than what he prepared during his student life.

But the passion towards teaching made him to prepare long hours. He prepared notes by himself by referring number of books. Gradually he began developing his own content with several examples so that students would understand easily. It took around three months to unlearn some of his industry habits and learnt new tools and techniques towards teaching. Thorough reading and passion made Ron to unlearn, learn and relearn several things so as to become a successful faculty member. Ron also innovated his own way of teaching methodologies by blending both his industry experience with academic experience. Finally, he became a successful faculty member by unlearning, learning and relearning.

Age and Ego for Learning:

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” - Chinese Proverb

For learning, ego and age should not be a hurdle. We can learn from anybody whether they are older or younger to us. What is important is to recognize that the other person has certain competencies, skills and abilities where we lack. Knowledge can be acquired by respecting others’ potential. Some people hesitate to consult people younger to them as their ego prevents them. Such filters within mind should be eliminated. There was a person by name, John, who joined in a research company. He had 25 years of experience in the industry but was new to the research company. He had huge appetite for learning and growing. He did not hesitate to learn the ropes of the research from younger people. Finally he rose in the research department within a short time as he was not egoistic in consulting and learning from younger people. He combined his previous experience with the existing knowledge and ultimately outsmarted others in the research firm with in a short span. What is needed is to block the ego, which, in most of the times is a stumbling block for learning.

Tips to Unlearn, Learn and Relearn:

“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” - Mohammed

Have a firm and flexible mindset set that you are still learning and evolving. Don’t take your learning for granted. The learning that takes place during your life may subject to change. The globe was initially believed to be flat. But the subsequent learning confirmed that the globe is round. Therefore, have a flexible and open mindset towards learning.

Try to associate with intellectual friends. You can share your knowledge with them. As well as you can learn. Probably, you may have some of the ideas which are unconfirmed. Creating intellectual ambience can lead to confirmed learning. Besides, it creates more knowledge base. When you discuss with them, the hidden potential within you will surface and you may share the same with them. When others challenge your ideas, then also, you tend to think deeper resulting into creativity and innovation.

Mentoring will help you to communicate effectively. It also helps you to explore and examine your mentees. It is a two way communication where you can share your knowledge, expertise and experience. And also, you can be benefited from the practical experiences and learning of your mentees. Apart from guiding, grooming and gliding your mentees towards their career success, you can get cross checked about your knowledge from their experiences. If there are any variations, the same can be unlearnt and learnt.

Take continuous feedback from your well-wishers and experienced people. Constructive feedback helps in taking the right steps for remedial action for improvement. If there are any deviations in learning, the same can be unlearnt. In this process, care should be taken to consult the right experts who are the authority on the topic.

Finally, be passionate in the process of unlearning, learning and relearning. The passion has to come from the core of your heart.


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Gandhi

People need to have open mind towards learning. Many students think that once they complete their academic education, their learning is over. In fact, the real learning starts from the moment they enter into career life. The basic educational qualifications are only the launching pad for getting employment. The real survival and success at the organization front is possible only by unlearning, learning and relearning with the changing times.

The End


shekher said...


It talks exactly what i want. Indeed, it has set a new mood in me, to figure out myself with new vigor and energy to update my knowledge.

Thanks Mr.Rao.


shekher said...


It talks exactly what i want. Indeed, it has set a new mood in me, to figure out myself with new vigor and energy to update my knowledge.

Thanks Mr.Rao.


Nicole Wilson said...

Well your story seems to like quite similar to mine. Though i have got used to forget the unwanted memories and unlearn the wasteful stuff.