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Unlearn Whatever is Getting in Your Way!

Posted on October 14, 2014 by Leslie Dickson

We live in a world that is telling us to constantly be “learning” things. If you stop learning, so says the world, you stop growing, stop leading, and stop living. You “fall behind” or “start deteriorating” or, as author Tom Clancyshares with us, “Life is about learning; when you stop learning, you die.”

The irony of this whole “learning” thing is that, what we often call ‘learning’ is much more about ‘unlearning.’ Now, this is not to negate the fact that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. That is a fact. Education is all about how you manage risk. When you couple integrity with knowledge, you know something and you do something. More often than not, this is how success is born.

However, the things that often create roadblocks to success are little – often even miniscule. If you let something small get in the way of you doing something big, you end up with ‘broken dreams,’ ‘missed opportunities,’ and a lot of ‘should haves.’ These things, often referred to by many as “failures,” are not fatal. However, failure to change them might be.

Big changes are typically not necessary. In fact, it is often just a little shift, which has the biggest impact. It is perfectly okay to give something up if it is getting in the way. So, what’s the big deal? Giving yourself permission to make the shift.

Get ready to open your toolboxes! Follow these three easy methods to ‘unlearn’ something that is getting in your way. All of these are tools that can be used immediately and will have an instant impact for you:

Stand and sit up tall

The amount of time we spend these days slouching over a keyboard is amazing. What is more amazing is that the slouching has become a learned habit. It shows up in all areas of our lives. So, why unlearn this habit? Not only for the obvious reasons of posture, but also because of how it looks from a perception stand-point.

Think about it – when you are slouching or constantly leaning forward, what others might see as non-verbal communication may be tired or bored, anxious or worn down, not interested or stressed. None of these might be true, but that is what you are communicating without even opening your mouth to speak.


It has been said that the difference between reacting and responding is one breath. Our learned habit is to react. Why? We live in a society where (right or wrong, true or false), we feel that if we do not respond immediately to anything directed to us, that we might look like we do not have the answer. This could not be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, our credibility often goes down when we ‘jump right in’ and ramble a poorly thought out answer.

Unlearning this “jump right in” habit and taking a moment to simply pause and take a breath gives you time to collect your thoughts (you don’t need much), creates a perception of confidence (it doesn’t take much), and stabilizes your voice so that, when you begin to speak, you sound like you know what you are talking about!

Use the “f” word more (FOCUS!)

Have you ever been driving somewhere that you have driven dozens of times before, only to get there and not actually remember having driven there? Scary, isn’t it? But we do these kinds of things all the time. Why? Because in our minds, we are scattered everywhere…except in the present moment. We are too busy thinking about the meeting at 3:00pm that afternoon, or the comment that was made in the meeting yesterday that you are still upset about today.

This mental time traveling has become a learned habit. Unlearning this habit is all about focus. What you focus on in life determines what you get. If you are routinely finding problems, I can pretty much guarantee you are looking for problems. If you are consistently finding solutions, I can pretty much guarantee you are looking for solutions. It sounds so simple…and guess what? It is! It is common sense, but not common practice.

Unlearning “time traveling” and getting back into focus “in the moment” will allow you to quickly see much of what you have been seeking (pssssttttttt…it is sometimes sitting right next to you).

Image courtesy of ratch0013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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