Tag Archives: bizcoaching

Learning to unlearn

learn_bayt_medMore than ever in the history of mankind, the time is now to feed your hunger for learning – that is if you even have a hunger for learning. The overflowing information through the digital world has made it easy for all of us to accumulate as much knowledge on any subject of your choice as possible. Technology has truly revolutionized the art of learning.

Today I watch my 11-year-old son, downloading Photoshop, dream weaver, and much other software and sitting for hours and maneuvering his mind and imaginative senses to understand, comprehend and then put it into practice to come up with creative expressions. We as parents take pride in our children who display a larger than comprehensive talent, however, when it comes to us, so few of us are ready to take advantage of the same technology that is equally available to us. Should you make the effort to unlearn so you can learn? Here are some statistics for you to give it a good thought:

  • Adult education experts estimate that up to 40% of what tertiary students are learning will be obsolete a decade henceforth when they are  working in jobs that have yet to be created.
  • The top 10 most in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago.
  • By 2020, there will be more people over 65 years old than under age 15 in the world’s developed countries.

We live in a changing world understates the speed of both the pace and the scope of ongoing change. To add to this the social changes in family structure, the globalization of talent, and continued innovation in technology. It is hard to imagine just what the world, and it’s increasingly mobile workforce will look like 20 years from now. Certainly, nothing like it looked twenty years ago!

For the three-plus billion people in the workforce, it’s not just about keeping up with the rate of change and the nature of the work we do, but how we do it and where. When anyone can work from anywhere, it changes the nature of work everywhere. Traditional boundaries disappear, and the global talent pool becomes more skilled and mobile, which presents a challenge for people in developed countries to adapt faster to stay competitive. Your ability to adapt to changing face and proactively make changes in your career is what will make a crucial difference to where you find yourself even just five years from now. To quote Mr.  Darwin: ”It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

We are all born with an intense desire to learn, somewhere along the line many of us lose our passion for learning. The pressure to excel in school with its ever-pressing emphasis on test scores can rob the enjoyment from the process of learning. Whatever the reasons, once the basics are covered, many people tend to stick with what they know and avoid situations or challenges where they may mess up or be forced to learn something new, thus creating a safe, secure and comfortable (and confining) world for themselves. Most say they’re open to change, but actually do their best to avoid it. It’s time you wake up and smell the coffee.

Learning agility is the name of the game. Where the rules are changing fast, your ability to be agile in letting go of old rules and learning new ones is increasingly important. Learning agility is the key to unlocking your change proficiency and succeeding in an uncertain, unpredictable and constantly evolving environment, both personally and professionally. There are countless things you may have to unlearn in your job, business and career, even throughout  the next 12 months.

  • Unlearn the designs you use.
  • Unlearn the methodology you use.
  • Unlearn the technology you use.
  • Unlearn the way you approach your brand.
  • Unlearn the way you communicate your value.
  • Unlearn the way you deliver your value.
  • Unlearn the skills and knowledge needed to get to the next level.
  • Unlearn who your target market is, what they want and why.
  • Unlearn how to get the most from your employees.

Unlearning is about moving away from something—letting go—rather than acquiring. It’s like stripping old paint. It lays the foundation for the new layer of fresh learning to be acquired and to stick. However, like the painter who needs to prepare a surface, stripping the paint is 70% of the work while repainting is only 30%.

As the global economy evolves and market forces drive competition for jobs to new levels, it’s the people who have proactively worked to expand and diversify their skill sets that will be the best placed. The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote, ‘Everyone had to bring something extra; being average is no longer enough. Everyone is looking for employees who critical thinking and problem solving can do, just to get an interview. What they are really looking for is people who can invent, re-invent and re-engineer their jobs while doing them.’

People who find opportunities in a changing environment are those who are actively looking for them. The choice is simple: act or be acted upon. Since change is the only constant, you can truly rely upon, learning to navigate and adapt to it is not just important to your survival, it’s essential for you to thrive in the bigger game of life.

As futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once wrote: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Think about it – think rich, think different.

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Persistently Persistent

We have always heard this – slow and steady wins the race. From the story of the race between tortoise and hare and so many more examples given to us. I think it is time to defy that adage and tweak it a bit to achieve success. In my opinion, it is not slow and steady but fast and steady who wins the race. The world and technology are changing so rapidly, so are the learnings and ways of doing business. If you work at a slow and steady pace, you are never going to make it. You need to have a steady pace backed by consistent and persistent work ethic. As easy as it sounds, it is that much difficult to have the discipline to keep on keeping on.

If you are one of the people who believes you need no motivation to succeed, and you are self motivated, you are in for a big fall. Life happens to all of us, and we need to find resources that will keep you motivated so you can put in the consistent and persistent work. We have our highs, and we have our lows; we have things that get us distracted from the task in hand, or it could be just sheer laziness. Whatever the reason might be; we need a system in place much like the GPS we use for our cars to keep us on track.

Here are some ways I have been able to keep my fire up and come back with a bigger resolve every time life happened to me, or I slipped in my work ethic:

Association –you will need to surround yourself with people where you want to be. I hope you understand that these people are not going to come to you and invite you to hang out with them. You need to seek them out. Be it forms of seminars, online or at networking event; you need to find a way to get closer to them. As you get the opportunity to mingle with them, observe and learn. Watch how they talk, behave, what is their thought process, how they are handling situations? I have learned so much by just keeping an open mind, listening and taking notes.

Reading – This is in my opinion the biggest tool you can have in your hand and the most under rated. I am sure you spend enough money on yourself to look good, smell good and not to forget to eat well too. How about the three-pound brain that can give you all the things you are looking for in your life. How much do you spend on that? Do you realize there is not much difference between a ditch digger and a successful entrepreneur from the neck down? It is another story if we consider neck up. So feed that brain with good books and information. I can list out a ton of books but one book that you must have in your collection is Think and Grow Rich by Napole0n Hill

Faith – I know some of you are probably already raising your eyebrows on this sub head, but you need to be spiritually aligned to a higher power. I am not here to preach you or sermon you, but you need to have an unshakable faith. The faith in yourself will only come when you have faith in a higher power and know that universe is aligning itself to make things happen for you. Higher faith results in higher emotional stability which is critical element in achieving success. A great book that has really helped me is Magic by Rhonda Byrne

Disciplined Work Ethic – haven gotten the ability to watch successful people from close proximity, I can tell you that they are disciplined in every area of their lives. You need to be disciplined about your health, your habits, your work ethic, your spends, etc. as everything is interlinked. Without a proper road map, you cannot succeed. You need to be disciplined to work your plan EVERYDAY, I mean everyday without fail. Happiness is in the process of accomplishing and not the final accomplishment. When you are disciplined and follow your plan, there is no way you will not be succeeding and motivated.

Self Talk – Pay attention to what you talk to yourself. Get the book What to say when you talk to yourself by Shad Hemlstetter. It is a book that will teach you the power of self-talk. It has personally helped me a lot in staying upbeat and motivated.

Persistency can definitely be developed; we need to find people who show great persistency and spend time with them; we need to understand what it is that drives them to keep going. From my personal experience, I know that some of my own persistence comes from having experienced success through not giving in, so clearly persistence and success are a self-feeding cycle. The more we persist, the more we will be successful and the more belief we will have in persistence. So we only need to start the circle, we can either do this through our own innate determination or stubbornness, or we can work alongside someone who has it and learn it from them.

One way or another, in order to be successful we need to develop persistence.

LEAF-CUTTER ANT with leaf Atta sp. Amazonian Rainforest, Loreto, Peru
LEAF-CUTTER ANT with leaf Atta sp. Amazonian Rainforest, Loreto, Peru
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