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Learn UnLearn ReLearn – Success Mantra for the decade!  

As professionals, can our qualifications of decades ago, alone enable us to stay relevant throughout our careers ? 

Many of the things which were an active component of our lives as recently as 2000 are no more in use - from VCRs, Fax machines, CDs, Maps, to Photographic Film development, Long distance calling, Phone Directory, Movie Rentals all do not exist in their 2000 avatar, today. Today, would you insist on renting a tape to watch a movie ? Not at all.  We have moved on, discarded those devices and learned to use new devices/technologies. 

Now lets move to the workplace – Obsolescence is even faster at the workplace with the VUCA environment ( Volatile , Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) with customer behavior changes frequent, product life cycles shorter, and production/delivery methods evolving at a brisk pace. Probably, the top 10 most in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago.  Yet, many of us expect our qualifications from decades ago to count and keep us relevant throughout our work life. Can that be feasible ? Alivn Toffler says it best - “ Illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those cannot learn, unlearn and relearn “. Its the three together – Learn/UnLearn/ReLearn which make impact and vitalize your growth. Without Unlearning new Learnings are difficult to assimilate.  

So what is UnLearn about ? Collins English dictionary says Unlearn means “discard accumulated knowledge”. Mirriam Webster dictionary says it means to “discard the habit”. So basically, Unlearn is about leaving behind competencies which are currently part of your knowledge /expertise set. Its about creating space in our minds for the new Learning which has to be acquired. Relearning is not effective till we Unlearn some things. For us to stay agile and acquire new skills and competencies it becomes important for us to go through the path of unlearn and then relearn.Create space to Learn more by Unlearning first ! 

Learning agility – the cycle of Learn, Unlearn, Relearn –  unlocks doors to your mind and helps new skills to be acquired. To be agile in Learning, unlearning is as important as Re-learning. While training courses and certifications enable Relearning, for unlearning Mentoring and discussions with experts tend to be more fruitful. The experience Mentors have in abundance counts big in Unlearning . Also the process of discarding learnings is more personal and Mentoring conversations enable a more curated and personalized experience. Whether you are a Technologist, Manager or a Corporate Leader acquire Mentors with experience who accelerate your learning on dimensions which cannot be acquired in the Classroom or with Certifications. 

Commit to nurturing a lifelong learner mindset and you will stay on the path of success – always. Avoid ‘mid life career crisis’ and create  ‘mid life career opportunities’ for yourself – adapt the success mantra of Learning/UnLearning/Relearning !