Learn to unlearn

This post has been featured on Blog Adda’s Spicy Saturday Picks 9th September 2017.

Learn to unlearn? Seems contradictory, isn’t it? Since childhood, we have been hearing how important it is to learn. We enter this world as instant learners. Being a learner is essential for personal growth, ultimately paving way to a life of joy and contentment.

Then why this need to unlearn? And what to unlearn? Unlearning is as important as learning. Learning is important and we keep learning throughout our life knowingly or unknowingly. The problem with learning is that we start learning by default and then become so rigid in our knowledge that we refuse to acknowledge anything which doesn’t conform to our learning. What we already know gets in the way of what we want to learn.

Unless we learn the unlearning trick, it is sometimes impossible to be in the learning mode. If you give it a little thought, you will understand that unlearning is inherent to learning. When we unlearn, we make room for the new rather than being stuck with the same old stuff. Creativity and innovation bubble up during the process of unlearning.

Once we become open to receive and remove our blinders, the world becomes quite different, with new possibilities and innovative approaches to deal with difficult situations. If we wish to blossom then we should remember to be open and receptive to the knowledge out there which might be quite different from what we have learnt so far.

A man who refuses to unlearn has not yet learned that we are often wrong. No garden can flourish without regular uprooting, and no human being can learn well and wisely without a regular pattern of unlearning. It will be difficult, but the gathering of the harvest is worth it.

To unlearn, it requires a strong intention to begin with and then we have to let go of the intention itself. Initiate the unlearning process:

  • Escape your mind: Whenever we are presented with concepts that challenge our thinking, our mind tells us to resist them. We are conditioned this way in our upbringing. Turn off that inner voice that criticizes and judges everything that comes our way. Condition your mind to stop resisting new ideas.
  • Risk discomfort: Embracing the new often means change and discomfort. That’s what makes most of us confined to our narrow shells of thinking. Risking discomfort isn’t a big deal at all.
  • Silent contemplation: Tame the mind by spending some time in silence with yourself. Rethink your learning by embracing the quiet.
  • Extend your boundaries: Overcome the fear of change and push your limits. Explore your potential by breaking free of the boundaries you have set for yourself.
  • Be open and free: Be open and free to different ideas, opinions, and approaches.
  • Just…‘Be’: Most important thing is to be natural. As a child, we are always natural and unlearning & discarding the old to learn something new. Stop trying to be. Just be.

So keep learning, but for the sake of wisdom, never be afraid to unlearn.

© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved




  1. Brilliant piece.
    But I have an apprehension, why I don’t get an option to comment on the wordpress reader section! I need to redirect every time to leave a comment on your blog ?

      1. No at several occasions, I found it. I don’t have the option, else I could share you the screen shot, where it gives only the like options. I think a lot of people, would be willing to comment, but could not find the option except to like. In admin section, there would be option to add comment

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder! I love to think of All the many things in this world that are still waiting to be learned. And now to add unlearning to get there. Very nice!?

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