The Value of Unlearning & Relearning

leadership leadership choices leadership learning leadership perspective learn relearn the value of unlearning & relearning unlearn value the process Sep 04, 2023

If you’re not sure how difficult and even awkward it is to unlearn and relearn something, try writing with your non-dominant hand. It’s very difficult when I (Cindy) give it a try!

It was Alvin Toffler, an American Businessman and author, who said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write.  But those who do not learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  This is called layered learning.  A decade ago or even yesterday, you may have learned something you thought was the absolute truth…or at least the best way you knew of.  Then your perspective changed or you learned something that made you realize you were wrong.  You had to unlearn how you previously did things or saw things since you had increased and more accurate knowledge. 

As long as we remember to value the process of layered learning, we’ll move forward learning and applying this leadership skill. 

Back to the idea of writing with our non-dominant hand.  It took us years to learn to write and many more years to develop our writing, if we cared to develop it and write well.  I’m not talking about writing content or a blog or a book.  I’m talking about the simple act of the written communication we do in our everyday lives.  If you suddenly could no longer write with your dominant hand and had to start writing with the only other hand you have, it would be difficult.  To write well could also take a few years, just like the first time you learned to write, as you are relearning this process. Repetition and layered learning would be important to you learning to write with your non-dominant hand. Just like learning anything in a different way than you were originally used to.

When we apply this to valuing the learning process of developing ourselves and our people, it’s no different.  There’s an unlearning and relearning process that has to take place for successful results to occur.  And that takes repetition, revisiting ideas and reevaluating what we have learned and applied, and what we still need to practice more.