Why You Have To Unlearn to Relearn
According to The Gottman Institute, two-thirds of the arguments couples have are perpetual — meaning they fight about the same things today that they fought about five years ago.
I think the same is true for the struggles we have within ourselves. We will often spend time going back and reworking some of the internal battles we think we’ve already won.
If we really want to get meta here, we could say humankind is grappling with the same things today that Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was dealing with when he wrote Meditations back in Ancient Rome.
So, what’s the point?
We’re on a continual journey of unlearning and relearning. The point is less about getting it right and more about whom we become in the process of figuring it out.
I was on a recent trip to San Diego, and I had a revelation that I’ve had before and needed to revisit.
Here it is:
At times, I overwork myself to the point of having so many balls in the air instead of concentrating my focus on one, two, or three things that are all working together.
After flying for nearly 15 hours and changing planes in four states, I woke up to the fact that I need to trust the process and let go.
I need to not worry about everything and say “no” more often so that we can say “yes” to the right opportunities. As a team, we need to really, really focus on simplifying how we do everything.
So, while I was traveling, instead of spending my downtime writing the next book or on a conference call, I called myself up and out. I asked myself to go deeper into a craft that I think I’ve mastered.
Here was my challenge question: How do I get better onstage?
So, I started watching some of the other speakers, just observing the way they were connecting. Here’s something I realized: I need to let go of PowerPoint.
I don’t mean totally do away with it, but sometimes PowerPoint becomes a crutch with a ton of slides to say that you have all this information. How do I do fewer slides and rely more on insight and a heart connection with the audience?
I’m proud of taking a step back and reminding myself to let go. I’ve been here before, and I’m sure I’ll be here again.
But I’m always astounded by what emerges when I return to a path I’ve been down before. I always learn something new about myself and find a different response or solution to a question I’ve asked myself before.
So, here’s what I want you to do:
- Answer the tough questions. Find 2-3 people you really trust who will give you feedback. Allow them to ask you the tough questions. Are you spending time with your children? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you dealing with that thing you’re always talking about struggling with?
- Read less, implement more. I have always said to read books and get better. That’s great, and I super believe in reading. What I’m noticing is that many people need to focus more on putting what they’re reading into practice. What are you implementing out of what you’re reading? You may do better to slow down and create an implementation strategy before moving on to the next book. You might even go over the same material a couple of times. (I am re-reading Humility Is the New Smart.)
- Assess. What have you done? What do you like? What do you celebrate? And what do you need to let go of because it no longer serves the greater good of where you want to be?
If you’re having the same internal struggles today that you were having five years ago, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It means you’re learning new ways to respond and unlearn on your path forward.