Evolution makes re-learning an essential way of life. Technology is a change maker, especially today. It has revolutionised life and will be the core pivot of living in the future. If we do not understand and keep pace with technology we are setting ourselves up for failure. So, old timers need to re-learn and start from the basics or be left far behind. Let me give you my own example. I come from the corporate era of secretaries where you dictated letters and then checked the draft, made changes and then sent out the letter ‘by post’ or ‘by hand’! I re-learnt in my own way in the Seychelles and embraced technology. Can you imagine, I used to write and edit various publications of the Seychelles Marketing Board- ‘Newstalk’ the organisation’s newspaper, ‘Inside SMB’ the company’s internal magazine and ‘SMB Prattle’ an e publication for SMB’ s senior management all by one finger tying. My daughter Ash would see me at it and say ‘There you go, the finger chicken goes again pecking the ground for grains’! But ably guided by Vivian Lines the then MD of Hill & Knowlton Singapore who went on to become the Chairman of Asia Pacific & Global Vice Chair and Gilbert Pool Presidential Advisor Communications, I re-learnt and successfully remained Editor of these SMB publications all through my tenure of 14 wonderful years as Head of Communications!
The difference today is that change is faster and pacific with greater impact. The pandemic itself has brought about changes in the way humans live their life given the social distancing, isolation etc. Although post pandemic things are looking up, offices are still in hybrid mode. Meetings still happen virtually. Even socially hesitant hugging and handshaking has crept in. New approaches have come up in almost every discipline. Human psyche has changed. People are actually nicer to each other. The key to productivity from teams is no more triggered by the carrot and stick approach. Empathy works better. Teams work better with coaches who know the way and show the way, rather than bosses who command and reprimand.
What is re-learning and how can therefore we adapt ourselves to a re-learning mindset to survive and succeed?
Oh but I have always done it this way!
Get this out of your mind. Most people find living in the past a very comfortable zone to be in. You were an expert then in the past world which had different circumstances with people who were different. Realise that today’s world has progressed fast led by technology and changed by new events and developments. Learn to let go of your ego, face the new reality, adapt and change. Embrace new and more efficient methods that have emerged with time.
Become flexible. Let go of rigidity
The human mind can become very rigid. We are used to doing things the way we do them. Frank Sinatra popularised a song in 1969 titled ‘My way’. But that way would definitely not work in 2022! So become flexible to succeed today. Re-learning is not difficult. It needs you to be flexible and easy to adopt. New and modern ways have one great advantage. It makes what you are doing easier and faster.
Make re-learning a habit
Developing a re-learning mindset requires you to be persistent and relentless. It’s a core change in yourself that you will be bringing about. The first trait you need to pick up is to challenge the status quo and question it. The second trait that you need to develop is the hunger to re-learn. The third trait is of course to observe people and watch how they do things. There is one important facet to re-learning that you must accept. Re-learning is a continuous process. There is no start date or an end date!
“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and re-learn” Alvin Toffler
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