How to think, unlearn, and relearn?

The Human mind is a fascinating thing! On one hand it has millions of neurons, so many combinations of thoughts, ideas, emotions etc. On the other hand, the primitive conditioning still takes over in the flight, fight, and freeze responses of humans, in different situations of conflicts.

One could explore into why people think the way they do. One could also explore into, whether we could change how we think? Could adults be taught how to think differently? If yes, how does one unlearn and relearn new ways of thinking? How does one work on one’s thinking? How do new patterns of thought, emerge and impact one’s life, specially professionally? Let’s have a quick look.

1. Challenge Assumptions - What is it that you’re taking for granted? The fact that a day has 24 hours instead of 48. The fact that parents and children are supposed to behave a certain way. The fact that gender roles are designed differently, or that blue is for boys and pink is for girls.

These assumptions have defined your learning throughout your life. They impact your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, your relationships with others.

2. Question Roadblocks. Which ones of your assumptions are standing in the way of you achieving something? What bit of your knowledge is causing a roadblock for your growth?

Do you think you’re not a great communicator, because you’re an engineer? Do you think non-MBAs can’t climb the management / leadership ladders? Or that your especially abled child will only be able to learn survival skills? Identify which of your assumptions are particularly troubling you at this stage of your life.

3. Prioritize. While it might feel really nice to go on a roll and change everything about yourself, know it well that the human life has something of a snowball effect. You change one thing about yourself, it will manifest in different ways, about so much more.

So, decide if you want to first deal with your team-building skills, your negotiation skills, or your patterns of learning itself.

4. Critically Examine Knowledge. Whether through knowledge of new skills, or through a fresh perspective, an outside input is what pushes you out of your blind spots. In truth, learning more about what you know is simply about going deeper. It is like widening the vertical line in the ‘T-shaped thinking’.

However, what you need to redefine learning, is to expand the horizontal line of the T. Now, that is about diversity of topics, variety of perspective, and not necessarily the depth.

5. True Learning is in Action. This one is about shifting the paradigm of learning itself. Spend 30 minutes with a genius, rather than spending 30 days with a fool! You get the drift, right?

Reach out to experts and mentors who can offer programs which cause a paradigm shift, whose mission in life is to empower others to shift mindsets.

Most importantly, this doesn’t have to be an endless process, but it has to begin somewhere. Let it begins now.

List those assumptions and get going!