Unlearning to learn

Learn the art of unlearning for success in life

Christmas celebrations are over. Santa has gone back after spreading happiness in the every corner of the world. The clock is ticking; and every second, we are moving close to enter in the New Year 2023.  New Year resolution lists are ready and all of us are well prepared to enter in New Year with new energy, hopes and plans.  The year 2022 has been phenomenal to me personally, lots of ups and downs and life has offered so much of learning. Learning is an inherent part of human behavior.  We have grown up learning different things right from childhood like crawling, walking, speaking, listening, driving and socializing etc. We keep learning and grow throughout our life. There is no doubt that learning is important for success. But there is something more important than that …… it’s unlearning – the process of letting go of outdated beliefs, habits, and preconceptions. Unlearning empowers individuals to adapt, embrace change, and stay relevant in an ever-evolving landscape. We need to learn the art of unlearning for success in life.

Why to unlearn?

World is changing at the speed of thoughts. What’s holds true today does not to be necessarily hold true tomorrow. In this environment and in this spirit, when uncertainty is certain we need to learn to unlearn. Alvin Toffler had asserted that “the illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Learn the art of unlearning

What is unlearning? 

But what exactly is unlearning? Is it possible to literally forgetting or erasing the things we have learnt? No, unlearning is not about erasing all the knowledge and experiences we have accumulated over the years. Instead, it involves recognizing when certain knowledge or behaviors are no longer useful or applicable. Unlearning is an art of letting go of old knowledge, skills, information or habits in order to make a room for new ideas and learning which might be better for success in life. It is about being open to new ideas and perspectives, shedding old paradigms, and reevaluating one’s beliefs.

Unlearning is an active process that challenges individuals to question their assumptions and biases continually. It requires humility and a willingness to accept that what was once considered true might no longer hold. By acknowledging the need to unlearn, we open ourselves up to a world of possibilities and growth.

Benefits of Unlearning

  • Unlearning fosters adaptability. It allows you to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. It ensures you remain relevant and competitive in your personal and professional life.
  • It promotes innovation. By unlearning old methods and thought patterns, you create space for new ideas and innovative thinking. This is a valuable skill in an increasingly dynamic and competitive world.
  • Unlearning biases and outdated information can lead to better decision-making. It enables you to see situations from different angles and make more informed choices.
  • Unlearning fosters personal growth and self-awareness. It empowers you to break free from limiting beliefs and embrace your full potential.
  • The ability to unlearn and adapt fosters resilience. It helps you bounce back from setbacks and navigate through challenging times with greater ease.

How to unlearn?

It’s not learning that is the challenge, it’s your ability to unlearn that’s holding many of you back. Here are the few tips which will help you in unlearning.


Unlearning starts with self-reflection. Take time to identify beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that might be holding you back. Question why you hold certain views and whether they still serve a purpose in your life. You have to recognize and accept that the old techniques, knowledge and perception on which you’ve been relying on are no longer effective or relevant.

This is most challenging because most of us are sublimely unaware of our mind-set and perceptions. We just employ them and those remains on auto pilot mode. You need to recognize the changing world is demanding to let go old and learn new knowledge, skills and competencies. In addition to this, it can be difficult to accept that your existing model is getting out-dated. Many of you have built your reputations and careers on the mastery of these old models. Letting go may seems to you like starting over all again and losing the authority, status, or even your sense of self.

Stay Curious

Cultivate a curious mindset. Put on your curious cap and be open to new ideas and different perspectives. Engage in conversations with people from diverse backgrounds, as this can challenge your existing beliefs and broaden your horizons. Start looking towards things with different perspectives.

Break the Habits

Humans are creatures of habit and once formed, habits are difficult to break. If you go deeper then you will find breaking habits and unlearning are connected. Reappraising and breaking old habits is part of unlearning. I have always been advocating breaking the bad habits which are not helping us reach the goals that we want. Change habits by decreasing the activities of the old habit and gradually replace them with new habits until the old habits are no longer active and the new habits flourish instead.

Learn the art of unlearning

  Also Read: Tips to cultivate the habit of growth mindset for success

Embrace Change

Change is a constant in life. Embrace it rather than resisting it. Accept that some of the knowledge and skills you possess today might not be as relevant in the future. Be proactive in seeking opportunities to update your knowledge and learn new things.

Continual Learning

Continual learning is important for your growth and success in life. Your life’s learning curve should inherent continual learning which keeps yourself abreast with the change around you; the change in technology, the change in work patterns, the change in perceptions and the change in mind-set. Make yourself more aware about the changes being taking place surrounding you and learn new things. Attend workshops, read books, and engage in online courses to broaden your knowledge. Then use that new knowledge to start pulling up and modifying old knowledge. This way you will unlearn and relearn.

Over to you now, what do you feel, is unlearning important for growth and success in life? Share with us in comment section your experiences and views on how unlearning can change the life?

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  1. Agree with you Invajy. Continual learning is important for growth and success in life. And for this one has to keep updated and learn new things. When you learn new things unlearning plays a major role.

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