Throughout time and centuries, humans have had to learn to adapt to whichever situation and circumstances that they have found themselves in – be it in times of war, in times of peace, growing up into adulthood, and generally facing everyday challenges.
It is possible to unlearn and relearn. Mankind has survived because of their ability to adapt. Human nature has made it possible for people to not only adapt to new situations but to thrive in the many different spheres of life, unlearning and relearning according to their circumstances.
Embracing new and different experiences can be exciting to some while being completely terrifying to others. In all situations, if you are learning something new, it would generally mean that you have to unlearn a habit, method of performing a task, or a way of life that has been very comfortable to you up to this point. Can you do it? Why would you want to?
Why Should I Unlearn?
In today’s society, the established norms are constantly being challenged, mostly because of the advances in technology. We are more accessible and online in this generation than ever before in history.
Being available and online at all times brings with it a new set of rules, completely different from how our parents and their generation were raised. You might say that we are living in a new time, a time which is challenging the norms and well-established paths of society.
Many of us were raised in a mindset that is traditional or an established life path, with parents and elders teaching the children the ways of the world as they were taught to them. This, of course, includes respect, work ethic, values, and “keeping up appearances”!
Unlearning is challenging everything that we know and, in some instances, who we are. While this sounds like a very easy step to take in changing your life and outlook, the fact is, actually attempting to unlearn anything is not easy!
There are occasions when unlearning may be necessary or a requirement – think of the bad habits that you picked up as a child at school. Your teacher may have taught you to think in a certain way to solve a problem, but over the years, you have developed your own quicker, easier system – a form of unlearning, perhaps?
Not all learned habits are good or indeed the correct way to accomplish something. Your boss at work may require you to complete a job in a certain way, even though you have your own tried and true formula, but at his insistence, you unlearn your ways and concentrate on relearning his.
Unlearning is not forgetting about what you already know; instead, it is about being able to choose a new way. We can step outside of what we know in order to choose a different path.
How Can I Unlearn?
Unlearning anything can be very complex due to the mental pathways in our brains, which we form each and every time that we learn something new.
It involves letting go of old habits and being open-minded to the possibility of new challenges and information. The conscious act of unlearning old habits and mindsets while focusing on the new.
As with everything new, unlearning would involve daily training of the mind to unfocus on the familiar and embrace the new.
Here Are A Few Launch Points To Get You Started:
- Step out of your comfort zone. While this may feel extremely hard and uncomfortable, try something new! Challenge yourself and embrace the change!
- Be open to new experiences. Choose to see life from a different point of view, try out new ideas, and let go of the old.
- Embrace new situations. New situations, new ideas, a new approach can actually be a refreshing change in an otherwise routine life.
- Get curious about the world around you. Question everything, think differently.
Why Should I Relearn
Scientists say that it is easier to relearn something that we have forgotten than to learn something completely new. This is because our brain cells retain information, even when it is no longer required.
Relearning involves change – stepping away from the familiar and learning something new, developing new habits and pathways in the brain. Changing your go-to habits.
By definition, relearning would imply that you have first unlearned something. Relearning can be very exciting and change your way of life!
Relearning can change your entire outlook on life and perhaps open your world to new possibilities that you never thought were possible!
How Can I Relearn
Relearning can be as simple as riding the bike that you thought you had forgotten how to, or as complex as learning a brand-new skill.
Relearning a forgotten skill, such as bike riding, involves reactivating your memory. The only way that you can do that is to get back onto the bike and start peddling! Your muscle memory will be activated by your brain cells, which have stored away the memory for a rainy day.
Relearning a brand-new concept is a bit more difficult as it involves creating new pathways and connections in the nerve cells of the brain. Once new information is learned, it is stored and kept for later use.
Relearning can also mean accomplishing the same task via a different method. Relearning a new way to accomplish the same task can be a challenge, as it involves unlearning the old methods and ways of doing something and of thinking in a certain way before relearning the new ways!
Of course, unlearning something that you are already competent in and relearning how to do the same thing goes hand in hand. You will not be learning a brand-new skill, simply unlearning bad habits and relearning how to improve on and better utilize the skills that you already have.
Try These Simple Steps:
- Ask questions. Everywhere you go, everything that you do can be a learning experience for you!
- Be inquisitive. Behave like a child, slow down and smell the roses!
- Challenge yourself. Set small achievable goals every day and challenge yourself to either learn or relearn something new!
- Keep learning. Reading, listening, exploring, every day!
Will My Life Be The Same?
A good outlook would be to practice questioning everything that goes on around you and challenging your norms. Learn to question every task that you set for yourself every day and see if it can be achieved in a different manner to which you are accustomed!
Ask Yourself These Questions:
- Is this task hard or easy? Would it look different if this were hard or easy?
- What would I do if I had limited daylight working hours? What would I fit into my day?
- What would my day look like if I did the opposite of what I normally do?
Unlearning and relearning may make your life different, but different does not always equate to bad. Learning to do things a different way or unlearning bad habits and learning better habits can actually improve your life.
How Will My Life Be Affected By Unlearning And Relearning?
In order to unlearn and relearn, you first have to learn! Letting go of the old rules and attempting to learn new ways will aid you in both your professional and personal life.
Thanks to growing technology, the world is changing rapidly with the introduction of new learning aids and teaching methods, all designed to introduce a new and quicker way of learning and thinking.
By developing new skills, we can learn to unlearn and relearn the techniques that we require to replace the outdated skills that we have become accustomed to and that we hold onto. Sometimes, we need to embrace the changes and update our lifestyle and ways of thinking – change can be good if you are positive and committed to bettering yourself and your lifestyle by relearning old habits!
As with all decisions that we make, unlearning and relearning should not be something that we rush into. If you are comfortable with your familiar habits and routines and have no reason to change them, then why do it?
We do perhaps need to look to the future and not look back at the old familiar ways that are comfortable to us, but only when we are ready to do so!
Sometimes changing our habits is a good thing, but the choice is entirely yours.