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Unlearning is an actual thing

Audio chapter from Read Me First
Blog 50 0724 RET V2

Hello there everyone,

We hope you love listening to this audio chapter from our founding director Lisa Stephenson’s book, Read Me First. Thousands of copies have been sold around the world.

"It is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows."
- Epictetus

Yes, to ‘unlearn’ is an actual thing! It’s said (and well documented) that once you’ve had a thought six times it becomes your belief! A bit simplistic, I know, but the point is that once you believe something, your brain looks for evidence to prove you’re right.

Compounding that, research indicates (simplistically) that 95% of the thoughts we have today, we will have again tomorrow. So we’re continually, habitually, going about our day, evidence-gathering to make our previous learning right, to validate our beliefs. And some of it goes back to our earliest childhood. You probably even have a routine, a ‘right’ order and way, when you shower! The normal outcome is that we believe some things to be true that, in fact, are not true!

As adults, we get very attached to being right, whereas children are great at flexing - learning and unlearning. What do you need to unlearn? Most likely, you have many thoughts and behaviours that really don’t serve you well – either for where you are right now or where you want to go. Some beliefs you hold will be wrong and some will be limiting you: think about all your ‘I can’t/don’t/won’t’ thinking, and all your ‘I’m not good at’ or ‘This is just the way I am’ self-judgments.

Sometimes unlearning is more important than learning! Here are some coaching questions for your reflection.

  1. What strategies have I learnt as an adult that really don’t work for me?
  2. What habitual thoughts do I have that don’t serve me?
  3. What do I know I need to unlearn? (And what would be different if I did?)
  4. What’s a different way?
  5. When was the last time I had a brand new thought?

If you loved listening to this you can purchase the audio book here. Read Me First, published by Major Street Publishing and available in all good bookstores and all the usual online places. Happy listening and reading everyone.

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