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Transformation is often more about unlearning than learning

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

In our rapidly evolving world, the wisdom of unlearning and embracing new thought patterns, habits, and perceptions is even more relevant than ever before.

Most top in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago.. To succeed today, a constant state of adaptation is needed — continually unlearning old rules and relearning new ones.

Richard Rohr was right. “Transformation is often more about unlearning than learning.” The brain uses different properties to determine what information to retain, among which repetition, emotional impact, and eventual outcome.

This process is of primary importance when considering continuous learning and part of the explanation that unlearning is actually harder than learning.

The key aspects of this attitude are:

1. Not to be scared of losing attachment to our current beliefs.

2. To be conscious of our cognitive biases.

“The mind is slow to unlearn what it learnt early,” Seneca said. The practice of acquiring new or better knowledge is not an end in itself but a process.

So, if you want to hire the next hero of your team, maybe it’s time to reconsider your last question; it should not be: “What did you learn in the past few months?” but rather: “What did you unlearn in the past few months?” Indeed, refusing to unlearn and adapting is to get swept away by the sea of change.