Why you should unlearn and pause

Why you should unlearn and pause

Do you consider yourself to be a life-long learner? Lots of us will say yes to that question. And with good reason, learning has been taught to us as highly important for success in society. From the moment we are born, we are learning and once we enter school and work learning is encouraged and rewarded.

As someone who loves to learn and grow, I know that we need to slow down long enough to see what needs to be discarded and what can be improved upon. This is not an easy feat for most people as it requires unlearning old habits, patterns, and beliefs. Both learning and unlearning takes practice and time.

So what do you know about unlearning? Have you tried, or practiced that? Maybe that feels very unproductive, or counter-culture to do so. As we age our brain fills up with patterns, habits and ways of being & doing that are often unconsciously enacted. We’ve been doing them for so long that we don’t even think about it any longer.

Unlearning is one of the hardest things to do. In a world that is constantly demanding faster, better and best, it’s hard to take a step back and look at where we’re misusing our time and energy. If we slow down long enough to see what needs to be unlearned, we have the opportunity to truly change ourselves and the world around us.

We are incredibly adaptable creatures. It’s part of the survival skill set we carry with us. But in our personal lives, we tend to rigidly cling to our patterns and habits—it’s how we get through each day after all. So, slipups and mistakes are often met with criticism and a self-debasing appraisal of our failure to do things ‘the right way’. What if it were possible to take a breath, though, and examine what has been holding you back? What might be some of those deeply engrained patterns that could use some more flexibility?

Despite how fast we’re all running, I think we all need to slow down long enough to see where it is we’re headed.  Our days are speeding by at a breakneck pace as we quickly tick off items on our endless to-do lists. We’re seemingly caffeinated and over-committed every day as we talk (and text) constantly with family, friends, and colleagues via social media, or chatter on our phones while we’re doing something else. We have an ever-growing number of websites to visit (or check) daily: sometimes even hourly. While many of these activities are enjoyable, the end result is a feeling of being frazzled more often than not. As a result of this frenetic lifestyle—frequently driven by both internal expectations such as perfectionism and external expectations from others such as work deadlines—we can easily forget what it truly means to live life fully. Being internally coached by a voice telling you that you must be ‘productive’ and externally pressured into using up every moment for ‘productivity,’ you and I could all benefit from making a conscious pause part of life.

We are inviting you to unlearn those patterns in order to learn new ways. In order to unlearn busyness and understand why we continue to distract ourselves with activities that might just be keeping us busy for no other reason than it’s a learned behaviour – well, that requires pausing.

In this Harvard Business Review article, they remind us:

Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” In this time of transformative change, we need to be conscious of our mental models and ambidextrous in our thinking.”

Slowing down allows space to rest, rejuvenate, reconnect – with yourself, others, nature.

& sometimes the best way to learn is to unlearn.


“You must unlearn what you have learned” – Yoda, Empire Strikes Back

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