It takes curiosity to learn. It takes courage to unlearn – Adam Grant 

If you had to share your identity recipe, what would be the ingredients? For me, it would be the following: Grounded and constantly dreaming about a better world for the next generation, wild yet controlled by my own set of principles. Aggressive when needed, otherwise composed. 

What are our identities made of? Some would say nature and nurture. Both nature and nurture are made of multiple dimensions and layers. How is this connected to how we learn? 

Let’s run a visual experiment. Imagine you have two rooms. Room ONE is occupied by three kids with a box of legos and their goal is to build a tower in 30 minutes. Room TWO has three adults with a puzzle to solve in 30 minutes. What do you think both rooms look like? 

I believe room ONE will have three learners having a fun time and experimenting with legos together and as individuals. These learners will focus on the experience. 

On the contrary, what would be the focus of room TWO? To solve that puzzle and to finish a task in the given time. Can we say with confidence that the three adult learners will have a good time and collaborate without clashes? Possibly not. Why? Because the focus is on the outcome only. Their identity recipe that was once a white slate has been painted with expectations, biases, and the constant race. While these are not bad to add in our identity recipe, a big part of learning is to be aware of these and unlearning what we don’t need. 

What do we need to unlearn?

1. Mistakes are bad – Let’s take a moment to name an entrepreneur who succeeded at her first attempt. Schools and cultures teach us that mistakes need to be feared and hidden. It’s quite the opposite. Kids fall and stand up and do it every day. Let’s follow that through our lives. 

2. There is only one way to be successful – While the conventional path was a prerequisite in the industrial age, today there are unlimited paths to success. Define your path and stick to it. 

3. You are not allowed to change your mind – How easy is it to stay in a rut because you made a choice ten years ago? Changing paths is not easy but it’s not impossible. Kids are a fantastic example of exploring until they find their choice of activity. 

Unlearning begins with questioning our responses. Next time, when a choice seems uneasy, start with WHY?

Unlearning thought of the day!

If you were in room TWO, would you have fun solving the puzzle?