Hoarding is a modern day problem. We have more space and more disposable income than previous generations, plus we live in a disposable world, so it is easy to acquire things and then keep them even after they cease to be useful. Even people who are avid minimalists still probably have more ’stuff’ than they actually need.
But does the same apply to our knowledge?
Do we need to unlearn things in order to make space for new ideas and to allow us to grow and adapt to our changing environment. I have read somewhere that the human brain is primarily a giant processing engine – it is not designed as a filing cabinet and yet most of us keep cramming new information in there and expect to be able to retrieve it if and when we need it. Which means that, as we acquire new knowledge and experience our processing capacity is reduced by the amount of space given over to storage. We need to reboot.
How can you become a master of what you do if you don’t have space to learn new things?
It seems completely counter-intuitive to unlearn elements from experience; surely our experience is what allows us to add value to a project? But if you think about it from a different perspective how can you add value to this project in this business if you are weighed down with pre-conceptions of how you succeeded on previous projects? Every project and every business is different and whilst good project disciplines should be applied in all projects precisely what that looks like will vary according to the Terrain of your particular project.
So take out a broom and dust off your brain – if you approach every new project challenge with the fresh eyes of a toddler to think first about the potential for new and creative solutions.
You can use the wise old owl of experience to evaluate the ideas once you have a set of possible solutions.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
There is an old Zen parable about making space about making space for new ideas…
The concept of giving your brain a reboot could mean unlearning things to make space for new ideas. Another way to look at it is that a reboot enables you to defragment your brain so that you can access things that you have forgotten about. This concept came from one of our EPM Alumni who described the programme as giving him a ‘reboot’ reminding him of tools and techniques that he had forgotten about and reigniting his passion for project management.
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
That’s what learning is. You suddenly understand something you understood all your life, but in a new way.
Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival.
W. Edwards Deming
The greatest enemy of learning is knowing.