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This is the reason to learn, unlearn and how to do it

March 19, 2020

The demand of companies is increasingly high, so it is necessary to be updated in terms of capabilities. Here we tell you what you must know to achieve it.

10 min read

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

This is the reason to learn, unlearn and how to do itThis is the reason to learn, unlearn and how to do it

In today's world we need to be constantly training ourselves. The demand of companies is increasingly high in terms of what is expected of us as leaders, managers and professionals.

In this context of constant competence development, it is necessary to be able to include one that distinguishes effective people from those who are not. This ability is to learn to learn and unlearn .

What is it about?

To understand it, it is necessary to situate ourselves in the type of teaching and business cultural traditions in which we have been trained. Things have changed a lot in recent years and continue to do so more and more rapidly.

Why should we learn and unlearn?

If we want to be able to cope with changes so that they do not become major obstacles, we must begin to review how we have learned, for example, to solve problems.

We must also review the way in which we have “unlearned” elements that no longer serve us to face the current world.

There are leaders and business leaders who have not been able to unlearn anything. They are the ones that force the members of their organization to “adapt to their ways”, when many of them, surely, have more efficient, faster and lower cost ways to solve the challenges.

Knowledge implies different fields that are developed in different magnitudes in each of us and that will be reflected in the way we make decisions.

What are the domains of knowledge?

While some of us ignore certain things, others have learned them long ago due to their own experiences or their constant search for new ways to solve problems.

The domains of knowledge and the biases to which we are subjected are individual ways of thinking, that is, we all have them, and they help us decide what to do in each situation. We could categorize them as follows:

1. I don't know I don't know

This is the typical case of people who because of their position, experience or type of authority make decisions where they have no real knowledge. Somehow they are people who cannot see their own limits as to what they can actually solve and what they cannot. They focus more on the type of authority they have or their status than on the data they have to make certain decisions.

A very good example of this was demonstrated in Dr. Daniel Simons' experiment at Harvard. What he did was put several people to watch a video where there are others, dressed in black and white, playing with a ball, they pass it from hand to hand. Dr. Simons asked people watching the video to focus on counting the passes made by people dressed in white or bouncing passes.

At one point in the video a person appears in a gorilla costume that crosses in the middle of those who are passing the balls. After the video ends, Dr. Simons asks people if they saw anything out of the ordinary in the video. 50% of all interviewees did not notice the gorilla.

Sometimes to notice the gorilla of our own daily situations we need the help of others who give us their point of view without having to destroy all the effort we have made at a point that we thought was the most important.

2. I don't know what I know

If throughout our life we ​​have acquired a series of skills, although we cannot explain or translate them easily so that others can apply them, or we cannot explain them ourselves, we are facing a domain of knowledge that is characterized by efficiency in the results, but in its impossibility to identify it.

The consequences of this may be that, for example, I can know how to repair a car, but I do not know how to start doing it, what materials I need, what steps I must follow. And of course, it is impossible for me to let someone else do it because there is no method to give them so that they can do it themselves.

3. I know I don't know

Being aware of what we know and what we don't know is key. It allows us to anticipate problems, develop strategies and “arm ourselves” in the face of the unexpected. When we know we don't know something we are ready, or should be, ready to ask for help.

If I am going to travel to Japan next year and I don't know Japanese, I should ask for the assistance of a Japanese teacher or start studying it with materials or an application that will help me learn the language. Or maybe, start thinking about a bilingual personal guide who also speaks Spanish.

We can only create strategies to solve new problems if we assume the responsibility of not knowing something.

4. I know I know

The idea would be to always be at this point. Here we are aware of our domains of knowledge. We have a map. From here and only from here, it is possible to take the progressive path to learn better skills that I know I need. Or a regressive path, that is, skills that I need to continue improving, unlearning or perfecting.

To know what I know I will have needed to review what I knew, have had the opinion of others who helped me understand what I did not know and take responsibility for what I do not know yet, but I want to know, for example, the case of the Japanese language that I mentioned you before.

The main limitations of knowledge

To identify our knowledge and development process, it is important to define what kind of internal limitations I have; in this way, I will be able to face them with strategies for each case, to display our maximum potential:

1. Inability to accept that I don't know

For many people, because of ego or wanting to appear, it is especially difficult to accept that they do not know. However, it is a declaration of greatness and humility: nobody knows everything.

2. Cognitive Blindness, I don't know I don't know

Stubborn in their limitation, this type of blindness locks the person in holding situations or definitions even without knowing that they do not know about it. This is the case of those who live thinking about everything, without knowing almost anything in depth.

3. I want to be clear all the time

The search for absolute knowledge does not exist; being clear about all things at the same time either. There will always be diffuse spaces, knowledge that we need to incorporate. For example, the arrogant boss who thinks he knows everything is a fallacy.

4. Live judging everything

The permanent judgment towards everything and everyone prevents opening to new knowledge.

5. Do not give permission for another to teach me

It is an act of great humility to learn to learn from others; I have seen in companies that arrogant managers impede the growth of their teams because they do not want them to display their skills and knowledge just because he or she does not have them.

6. Absence of emotional space in learning

Learning and emotion go hand in hand. It is necessary to resignify the emotionality of the process to anchor the new in the subconscious of the mind, which is where the great human transformations take place.

7. Exclusion of the body in the learning process

Knowledge is not purely intellectual; so it is necessary to incorporate the body into the process. You could be a walking encyclopedia, although the internal emotional and body anchorage will be lacking so that learning has been apprehended.

8. Inability to unlearn

This is the case of companies that do not innovate and continue doing things as they did twenty years ago.

9. Addiction to responses

It is striking how another limitation of learning is the idea that everything has an answer: in the real world, not everything has an answer, and part of the search for meaning is the answer itself. The path of inquiry is the answer.

10. Confuse learning with acquiring information

Even in these times, learning is confused with the sum of knowledge and data. The process is more complex, since it involves the totality of the being so that the result is produced. Hence the serious problems presented by education systems in most countries, where children are trained intellectually, although not in practical knowledge.

11. Confuse having opinion with knowing

Another limiting belief of knowledge is that giving an opinion about something is confused with knowing about it; If the opinion lacks a solid foundation, that provides concrete data and allows different perspectives of analysis, the desired result will not be produced in terms of learning.

12. Triviality

This conditioning principle starts from the lightness with which certain people take their learning process. In the business world it occurs when employees are forced to participate in training in which many of them take it lightly, without knowing that there may be great revelations and learning available to them.

13. Gravity

It seems that he has settled in the world of learning that must be serious, formal and that excludes fun. However, the new forms need to include more colloquial, spontaneous aspects and where error and laughter, enjoyment and play are allowed.

14. I don't have time

This statement is a limiting classic, since the person assumes that they do not have hours / day to cultivate. It is an excuse that works as a restrictive of knowledge, since who wants can, and time will be done. There is so much offer available, short, distance, intensive face-to-face courses and a variety of resources for reading, viewing, listening, interacting, that this justification cannot be supported. If you make it relevant, you will find the time.

15. Addiction to novelty

It is when fads or trends emerge and everyone turns to that type of learning, even without knowing what it is about in depth, or if they will add value to their levels of knowledge. It happens a lot in companies when they look for training, where they sometimes hire simplistic and “what is going” training today, without thinking too much if that aligns with what their teams need.

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