Tag Archives: subarnagupta

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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Why don’t we teach to chase failures?

Failure – it is such a hard word for us to swallow. We are always resisting failures and why we shouldn’t – failure-success-360x200it does not make us happy or give any sense of accomplishment. For some, going through a failure is the end of the world. We are all so programmed to be success conscious all the time that going through failure can be really detrimental. Most of us do not know how to handle failures in life; some of us wallow in self-pity, lose self-confidence, have low self-image and the list can go on and on. If one does not get help at the right time, it could completely mess up their whole life.

How does one get to success without failures? I am yet to understand that. Why is failing such a big deal – if someone wanted everything to be perfect in their lives, do they understand that  this privilege is only of the person who is buried six feet under  the earth, in another way someone who is  dead. I think if you read or listen to most successful people, all of them will tell you that they are where they are because they have made more mistakes in their lives. I believe, if you are a person who is scared of failure, you are not a risk taker. This is because you are afraid of rejections. If this is your trait, then you can never be an entrepreneur. Period!

Whether be it a day today living or in corporate and business environments – we are conditioned to measure our success. For example, the success of a sales person is measured by how many deals he is able to bring in. Have you ever thought – what it would be like, if you were to switch the dynamics? Instead of counting how many successful calls, flip the measure to the most number of rejections a person went through in the day. You will be amazed to see how magical the results would be. By doing this, not only have you have taken away the fear of failure, but also given people the permission to fail and be applauded for it. Try doing this and watch the magic happen in your sales team.

Learn from your failure. Every failure is an opportunity for you to learn. A great resource on this is the book by John Maxwell “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”  Take the risk, try new things, and unlearn to learn because it is OK to make mistakes.

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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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Do you have a reference point?

 

4156-4b6ab1d7077d5b3ecf879bf63a69ec6fAs the month is drawing to a close, my heart is sinking. I wish time would go by slowly, and August  would never end. The reason being, our daughter is heading off to University on the first week of September. She will now have to live on her own and far away from us. I know she is probably so excited about her new journey and the chance to be away from home. We as parents, especially a “mom” cannot stop worrying about our children.

The more I think of it, the more my heart sinks and dollops of tears swell up in my eyes. I am fighting very hard to not get emotional as I am penning down my thoughts even now. It is just too many memories, too much time spent together and the amazing bond we share. I cannot imagine my house without my girl – she, and I are like long lost friends to whom I can open up my heart and talk without being ever judged. So you see, it is one of the hardest things I am fighting with. As I spent few days getting emotional and crying my heart out, I saw a post from one of my friends who lives in India on Facebook. The post was about her daughter who studies in USA wishing her well for the upcoming year.

Suddenly, I felt so small. Here I was, living in Costa Rica and getting all emotional about my daughter going back to Canada for her studies, which is a few hour’s flight, and on the other hand, I see a person who is miles apart putting up a brave front. I reached out to her and expressed myself and thanked her for giving me strength. Her response to my message just blew me apart. Suddenly, my reference point changed.  Up until now, I was only thinking of my friends who live in Canada, and their kids were going to Universities in Canada. Hence, to me my challenge seemed way bigger. In other words, my reference point was so small. As soon as my reference point shifted, I could handle my situation way better.

Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, we all have reference points.  These points dictate what we do in our life and who we become.  We have reference points for every area of our existence.  They are what we look up to and what guides us.  These reference points play a very critical role in shaping our path or towards fulfilling our own destiny. Our mind is so much more capable than what we think. The only difference between a successful person and who is not is the way they think and act.

The key to increasing your performance, in whatever area it might be, is to alter your reference points.  You want better grades in school?  Don’t study for a C+ or a B, study for an A.  You want to be in better shape?  Work out to have the best body, not just enough to get by.  You see; most people simply want to “get by.”  This is why they struggle along that line.  For example, people that make an insane amount of money have a vastly different reference point than people just getting by when it comes to money.  Success is all about having greater reference points.  There is a big difference between someone who just wants a job to make some money and someone who wants to be rich.  The point of reference is what can help you unravel this enigma.

If you want to be successful and want to create massive changes within your life, you have to change what is acceptable to you.  Increase the threshold to a level where you will experience enormous improvements.  Alter what is considered OK for you and aim higher.  People that lose weight or stop smoking dramatically are people that have drastically changed their reference points.  No longer is it acceptable for them to be out of shape and in poor health.  They now have a point of reference that challenges them to be that much better.  It is via changing what you are comfortable with and what is acceptable to you that you will achieve significant milestones within your existence.

Change your reference, change your life!

 

 

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Are you limiting yourself ?

self-love-woman-849x400We all have knowingly or unknowingly set a bar for ourselves that holds us back. It tells us how much is our limit, how far can we go, how big can we think and achieve. Some of us work diligently to raise that bar and some of us are not even aware that we have one. Get concious of your limits, work on increasing it through books and surrounding yourself with people who refuse to limit their capabilities.

As I continue my journey for my book and have the honor, pleasure and priviledge to meet with bold, beautiful, confident, fiery, limitless powerful women, I cannot help but notice that all of them have one major thing in common – they have never limited themselves. The road they were walking was not always easy and who says it will be, but these women did not let anything come in their way. Each one of them had every reason to throw in the towel, because it the going did get tough, but every time they faced a challenge, they became even stronger. I am really thankful that they did not because if they did, there won’t be a story today. They would have never reach where they are.

We all know that diamonds are girl’s best friend. Have you ever thought that in order for a diamond to be pretty and nice and be the most valuable ornate that every girl/woman aspires to have, the metal has to go through heat (thousands of degrees) and pressure (130,000 atmospheres) that can typically only be found about 90 to 100 miles below the surface of the Earth, deep within the mantle. So you see, all good things in life comes from some hard work and pressure. This is the law of nature. If that is so, then why worry when you go through trials and tribulations in your life on your journey to accomplish your dreams and goals.

The one thing that I have taken away from all the six interviews that I have done so far is that we are the architects of our own life. We are the only one who limits ourselves . We put barriers and limitations to the level of success we can achieve.

It’s about time we confront our limitations. Don’t settle for average or mediocrity. We are all made for greatness and we can have it just like many others. So dig deep within, bring out the dormant desires, the aspirations, and the dreams and work hard and get them. 

 

 

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