Leaders Know How to Unlearn
Learning is never ending. I discovered it when I passed my engineering to enter my first job. I was always under impression that the tough part of life is now over, but life appeared to have created a complete list of exams for me, many of them I have completed while other are yet to come.
Learning is a way of life and most of our life we spend learning new things. The most difficult part, which few look into, is the art of unlearning.
My parents taught me to be patriotic. In their terms, patriotism also meant that I should not leave my country for either higher education nor for any job. India would be the best place as it would give me ample opportunities to contribute back to my society and myself. In the times when they were young, swadeshi movement was all about that; however with time the definitions and context change for almost everything. Unfortunately, my parents did not attempt unlearning the old context to bring in new context of patriotism which was all about taking India to become a global power which directly implied that anyone should look at contributing to country’s image and economy from anywhere.
One of my old relative still treats air travel as unsafe. While he does never travel on flight himself, he discourages everyone in his own family to not to use this mode of travel. His unlearning never happened, but the next generation remained vintage just because the window of unlearning was never given.
The most challenging unlearning which a section of Indian society still struggles to understand is the birth of a female child. While the world has moved on, few still want to hold on to old believes without giving any room to new thoughts and changed environment. Many of you would appreciate that even global terror has a big element of lack of unlearning of old believes giving way to new thoughts.
It is therefore very important that we spend almost the same amount of time trying to find new ways of doing things by constantly challenging what is already existing. Once we have found new methods, practice ourselves first before showcasing others to follow suit. Most of the great leaders have been a great learners and few were great un-learners. Those who were great un-learners, remained great for long while others perished.
I have applied this habit in my own life and I constantly challenge the ways of doing things and established wisdoms. While the idea is not to be disruptive, but it gives most of the times a new and better way of doing things which helps me remain a leader with a vision.