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Learn to learn and Unlearn

‘The illiterates of 20th century are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn’
– Alvin Toffler

Our whole life in one of learning. It is said that, ’At 20 or 80 you are old if you are not learning’. Therefore if someone wants to remain young throughout his  life, he needs to keep the flame of learning burning. It is as simple and profound as this. Remember friends, even ten lives may not suffice to undertake the learning of one millionth of 1% of anything in this world! This should teach us to remain humble at all times. Socrates the great once said, ‘One thing only I know is that I know nothing!’

More than learning is the need to unlearn. In learning, you keep adding but in unlearning you keep letting go! With an attitude of unlearning, your learning gets all the more pure and powerful. A painter adds colours and brings to fore a beautiful image. What about a sculptor? He cuts, cuts and chips away the mass from the stone and brings home that beautiful figure! In life both adding and  subtracting are necessary. When you relentlessly let go of what is not required, what does not help, what must go, you have that life left free, unencumbered and simple.

As students of Management what to add? Of course knowledge, inputs, facts, data, cases, examples, graphics and so on. Surely you want to know more, do more and have more! What to let go? …. You know it… unhelpful attitudes, lethargy, disgracefulness, jealousy, tendency to postpone and many others. The beauty is that, as you would add more you may want to say ‘no’ to a few things … just do that!  As you grow the useful plants in your garden, you will remove the weeds too! Once you see  what works and what does not work, you will start doing ‘right things’ and not just doing ‘things right’.

  • Learning and unlearning takes you to the next step namely ‘relearning’
  • Keep in touch with your mentors and grow in the space of mutual learning.
  • Keep reading good books – at least one such book every week.
  • Kindle the spirit of ‘child’ in you and play the life as if it is impossible to fail.


Dr. N J Shetty,  Professor, Nitte School of Management, Ph.D, M Com, MBA, MA( Psy), LL B, CAIIB, D TD, PG DHRM, PG DMM,  Pragya,   Certified NLP Practitioner, Certified Life Coach, Certified  OD Coach,


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