Part 1 – Unlearning To Make Room For New Thinking
We have been taught to focus on learning whatever is needed to propel ourselves forward, particularly in our careers. Yet, to make room for growth and to keep pace with our changing world, especially if we want inclusion to be the new norm, we also have some unlearning to do.
Inherent in unlearning is the challenge of letting go of long-held opinions and perspectives in which we’re emotionally invested. Phrases like, “That’s how we’ve always done it,” “That’s just the way it is,” “They’re all like that,” are your red flags – your clear signals that call for unlearning.
We’re all biased and plagued by old views and limited thinking that needs to be unloaded. Make room for new perspectives, informed by your present-day experience. Updating the way you think can enable you to more readily adapt to our rapidly changing world and contribute to making it more civil, hospitable and inclusive.
Part 2 – The Unlearning Challenge
The importance of “unlearning” is rarely, if ever discussed. Just like we give up our old cellphone for the shiny, new, improved one, we must clear out old beliefs and outdated perceptions in order to make room for new, better-informed thinking.
I invite you to take this one-day challenge: unlearn what you assume about the people around you. For one day, intentionally override your automatic thinking and judgments. When you catch yourself using a label or a blanket statement about an individual or group of people, consciously choose to stop and re-evaluate your assumptions.
See Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, young and old, fat and skinny, rich and poor, without the judgment of better than – worse than, right or wrong. For inclusion to take hold, we must challenge ourselves to see the uniqueness of each person and connect with the greater truth of how multifaceted our fellow humans are…even those we think we know.