Many a times when we feel a sense of pain whilst learning, it is a signal that we are doing something new
By Lorraine Morris
Welcome this week to – The Power of Growth: Take Four – the latest instalment of how we are unlocking the power of your own growth and the quest to find new perspectives and new meaning to daily life situations.
I’m optimistic that your growth game is getting stronger by the week.
I would like to start today by busting a myth that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.
The truth of the matter is that: depending on the behaviour, munhu wacho and the circumstances – it takes between 21 days to 250 days for a new habit to actually be formed
But on the bright side, every step you take each week to make a change in your mindset leads to building that new habit. So focus on the goal you have set before you and keep running with it.
I would like us to talk about the learn, unlearn and relearn cycle as part of our journey to growth. A famous quote by Alvin Toffler says “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Over the past 12 months of living in unprecedented times – Covid-19 – we have done alot of learning, unlearning and relearning both consciously, subconsciously and unconsciously.
All the way from how we work from home – to how we remain productive within the confines of the 6-to-6pm lockdown time period.
Everyday we get to learn something, and that “something” comes with an emotion eg joy, fun, excitement, pain etc. Many a times when we feel a sense of pain whilst learning, it is a signal that we are doing something new and that new neurons are firing and connecting with other wirings in our brains.
Learning has never been easy, it does take hard work and effort. When we say we need to unlearn, we are saying siyana ne mafungiro ekare, let go of your old mindset by not giving certain things anymore of your attention.
I must say that of the three elements in the cycle, this one is the hardest. In unlearning we need to let go of certain facades such as ego, our biases and anything else that stands in the way of our growth game.
You may remember last week I introduced you to an insight of the brain that said: “No two brains are the same”.
The example I gave was that common sense is not always common.
Today I would like to introduce you to another insight taken from David Rock’s Book Quiet Leadership.
“The brain hardwires everything it can.”
It does this so that you don’t always have to learn the same thing over and over again. To illustrate this, let me take you back down memory lane, what is 2 x 2? I don’t think it took you long to remember that the answer is 4. Why was that? It was because this sum has been hardwired and you don’t actively need to think about it anymore.
I would like to stress here that unlearning does not mean forget the lessons and the knowledge gained from the past. It is about choosing a new way of dealing with our behaviours and circumstances.
It is all about stepping out of our safety closets and opening ourselves to new possibilities.
I want to share a story of a little thing I definitely had to unlearn from my childhood. One of my aunties would always say that children should not eat chicken drumstick because if you did so as a girl child unomera ndebvu (you would grow a beard).
The only reason she had said that was because a drumstick was her favourite and so she just wanted to ensure we don’t eat that part of the chicken. I chuckle each time I think of this.
When we then relearn, we are replacing the old mindset with a new mindset and the more we do so we begin to change the way we think, leading to the old brain wiring becoming weaker and the new wiring becoming stronger and in so doing improving our growth game – this is what is called brain plasticity.
So, my fellow Zimbabweans, what do you need to learn, unlearn and relearn deliberately?
Here are a few examples of things you may need to unlearn and how you can relearn them:
The belief that you are “a know it all”. Truth is you don’t know it all, focus on being a learn it all type of individual. Microsoft actually worked on transforming their culture from a “know it all to a learn it all culture”. The life sentence you gave yourself due to past mistakes.
Yes you failed and you made mistakes. Get up, dust yourself, experiment until you succeed. The belief that being a workaholic is a badge of honour. Value your time and practice more self-care.
So – that’s it for this week. Have a happy Easter remember you can change only if you want to.
Lorraine Morris is co-founder Musikana Foundation – firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @musikanafoundation. Revive and Thrive Hub – email@example.com Instagram @reviveandthrive_summits
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