JOB: Learn, Unlearn and Relearn

Job, Employment, Ethics

A job, or occupation, is a person’s role in society. More specifically, a job is an activity, often regular and often performed in exchange for payment. Many people have multiple jobs.

A person can begin a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, starting a business, or becoming a parent.

According to Wikipedia

 

Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, not-for-profit organization, co-operative or other entity is the employer and the other is the employee.

According to Wikipedia

Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.

The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value, and thus comprises the branch of philosophy called axiology.

According to Wikipedia

 

Don’t mind me for all those definitions up there.

I just want to clear the air about their meaning in relations to what we do or what we need to do or what we ought to do in our different working place.

workplace is a location where someone works for his or her employer, a place of employment. Such a place can range from a home office to a large office building or factory.

 

There are countless things one may have to unlearn in his or her job, business and career, even in the course of the next 12 months or years to come.

  • 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.

 

As futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once wrote, he said and I quote;

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

 

In this universe, change is the only thing that we can rely on.

It is the only constant:

seasons change,

loved ones die,

babies are born,

bodies age,

car accidents happen,

jobs are gained,

jobs are lost,

people fall in love,

relationships end.

When we cling to our expectation of order and predictability or the illusion of control, we cause our own suffering.

The greater the resistance to change, the greater the suffering.

It’s like we’re clinging to the shore of a river, rather than relaxing and floating along with the current.

Plus, we miss out on the beauty of the uncertainty that makes life what it is.

Job, Ethics, learn, unlearn, relearn, Unlearning

As someone who spent 10-years of her life as a creative producer in advertising before becoming a therapist, I made a living off of my ability to predict and order things and make them run as smoothly as possible.

This career came naturally to someone who has always relied on her ability to (seemingly) control a situation to make her feel more comfortable.

As a child, my life was rather unpredictable; single mom bartending to support us, we moved a lot, finances were never guaranteed. Controlling what I could made me feel safe, even if it was as simple as what games my friends and I would play, or exactly how my posters hung on my wall.

There was safety in convincing myself I had some semblance of control over life (needless to say, I was a rather bossy child).

However, after many years in the creative industry I came to realize that it was actually my ability to adapt when things went haywire that made me a good producer. Because you can plan a photo or commercial shoot to a T and something will always blow up.

Talent doesn’t show up, equipment malfunctions, props or sets look nothing like you were promised. In those moments you could either panic and shut down or you could pull back, look at the situation from a bird’s eye view, adjust your plan, and get to work creating something amazing.

And it’s the same in life. You can plan your child’s life perfectly and they might still get into trouble as a teen. You can plan your wedding day like the picture perfect Pinterest board and it might still rain.

It’s not only the expectation that we are entitled to consistency in life that causes suffering, but also our inability to be agile in the face of the inevitable changes that happen.

We sit cursing the change, wishing things would go back to the way they were, living in the past, rather than seeing and working with what is right in front of us and then continuing to move forward on our path.

In order to be agile you have to be in a constant state of being a student.

A student of life and of ourselves. We learn, then we unlearn, and then we relearn. In the process of unlearning, we’re not throwing away our experiences, they shape us and have helped us get to where we are, but rather we are noticing what isn’t working anymore. We are pulling back and reassessing the situation, watching our emotions and reactions to things and relearning new and more productive ways of moving through life. Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us know the difficult times in our lives have been some of our greatest teachers, allowing us to go deeper and come out stronger.

And here I go again talking about the importance of mindfulness. Regarding the discomfort that comes with change, having a developed mindfulness muscle can really make all the difference in your ability to experience more happiness and less stress in life. Let me explain how…

Meditation doesn’t have to be an hour of sitting on a cushion in lotus position (the one where people’s feet are crossed up over their thighs), it can be a few minutes throughout the day; maybe while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, or waiting in the car to pick the kids up from school.

It’s a practice of turning inward, noticing what’s happening in our minds as a witness, not as a participant. It’s the bird’s eye view that I was saying earlier makes one a better producer.

Job, Ethics, learn, unlearn, relearn, Unlearning

 

A teacher once gave me this powerful metaphor for mindfulness:

Think about a bus stop, one of the stops that has the glass seating area and overhang. Now imagine you’re walking down the street and suddenly the sky opens up and it begins to downpour.

The weather did not mention rain today, so of course you left the house without an umbrella (if you’ve ever lived in NYC this happens a LOT). You run and take cover under the bus stop, figuring you will wait out the rain. What could it be? 5 minutes? 10? After 10 minutes it’s still pouring and you’re cold.

The wind is blowing and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon. You need to get home. In that moment you realize you’ll have to walk out into the rain and get wet.

You’re going to get soaked, but it won’t kill you. You take a deep breath, tuck your head, and on you go.

In this metaphor, mindfulness is the bus stop.

Rain is always going to happen, and many times unexpectedly.

Mindfulness provides you that small shelter where you can stop for a moment and gather yourself, decide your next steps, take a breath, shrug your shoulders, and then get on with it.

It helps to develop an open state of mind that can relax with paradox, ambiguity, and change rather than grasp for control. It builds an ability to take a pause and to act, not react.

By getting to know ourselves and our patterns in this removed, bystander type way it helps us understand the patterns non-judgmentally, and become open to where we are and to whatever is happening in life in this exact moment.

We then have the space to make a conscious choice rather than a reactionary one. Am I going to cling to the shore, to my life and circumstance pre- “insert stressful life change here?” Or am I going to relax, loosen my grip, and float down the river with the current? Experiencing life and change in a softer way…unlearning and relearning along the way.

 

 

 

Literacy = Learning, Unlearning, Relearning

What is mental conditioning? How can we re-form patterns we perceive?

 

Mental conditioning is a process of training your mind to modify your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs to accept thinking patterns, tendencies and/or mental states in order to optimize positive thinking and ultimately optimize your performance.

 

“The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
― Alvin Toffler, Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century

 

That book was written 25 years ago, as Alvin Toffler looked at the Industrial Economy moving to an Information Age/Knowledge Economy.

What happens when economic value is created out of knowledge, out of intangible assets?

Today, there are no universally accepted standards to measure the value of intangible assets in the same way that we value hard assets, like gold, machinery and real property.

If value is created out of knowledge, does power follow that value creation?

That’s what happens with tangible assets. He who has the most property, the most gold or oil, is more likely to have more power to win in a dispute. What is the relationship between knowledge and value? Value to whom? In what context does knowledge have value?

 

Now, in the 21st Century, what does literacy mean? Who will be the literate?

 

My students ask: “I don’t want to be trapped in the structures of the past that limit my opportunities. How can I become one of the literates? How will I survive?

My response: “Who are the most passionate learners? Entrepreneurs. What can we learn from their mindset?” How do entrepreneurs feel about what they know and what they don’t know?

How do they deal with uncertainty and change?

Our culture places so much emphasis and value on learning, especially established standard content. That is important and enables us to feel we are making progress in life, materially, and psychically.

We feel secure, and have a sense of self-worth.

The entrepreneur mindset/lifestyle choice is a constant cycling of aspirations and needs, driven at an ever-increasing pace by a passion for exploring unknowns.

This behavior is paradoxical because it seems to be opposed to what most people believe is a “normal human life”, which emphasizes stability, security, relative comfort.

Entrepreneurs thrive on chaos and uncertainty.

Who would want to live like that? Why? Popular media suggests they are motivated by greed for fame and fortune. The reality is their drive to survive, an unquenchable, relentless pursuit of knowledge.

They even welcome and embrace critical feedback because they know they learn little from compliments.

They respect their competitors and are, like Andy Grove, legendary CEO and one of the co-founders of Intel, paranoid – all the time. He even wrote a book titled: “Only the Paranoid Survive”. The success of Intel validates the concept.

Job, Ethics, learn, unlearn, relearn, Unlearning

 

What is “unlearning and relearning”?

Unlearning is an ever-changing, fluid process of exploration by using different sets of questions about everything we know and value to discover unknowns.

Relearning can be more accurately described as refocused learning. If the focus, assumptions, objectives, and methods remain the same, won’t we learn the same lessons? How can we “relearn” something we believe we already know? When the challenges have changed, how useful is that?

 

Sounds good – BUT – we resist “unlearning and relearning”, just as we resist many kinds of change. The initial challenge is that our egos hate being torn down, even to be rebuilt.

How do people go through this process?

When and how often is this necessary?

If learning is seen as a process of “connecting the dots”, understanding the relationships between data points (of reality), then unlearning must begin with asking about the data points themselves.

What data points are we observing and paying attention to?

How important and relevant are those data points?

What other data points should we consider?

What data points are there that we might not be aware of?

Next, we can examine the connections, each one, consciously and deliberately. The questions are the same.

What connections are we observing and paying attention to?

How important and relevant are those connections?

What other connections should we consider?

 

What connections are there that we might not be aware of?

Then, what about our ability to interpret those connections?

What insights do we gain from the connections we believe to be true?

How important and relevant are those insights?

What other ways might we interpret those connections?

Finally, we can “relearn” by observing data points and connections that might have been beyond the scope or even the imagination of our previous mindset. With new data points and new connections, can new interpretations and insights be far behind?

Isn’t this a kind of “mental conditioning”, like physical conditioning?

Who wouldn’t want to be more fit to meet new challenges?

 

YOU?

 

 

SOURCES: Forbes.com | Medium.com | Google.com | Wikipedia.com

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