In the 20th Century, It was Sufficient to Just Learn. Today You Frequently Need to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn.
Thomas Edison famously embodied this ability and described it well when he said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve merely learned 10,000 ways it doesn’t work.”
In the 20th century, most people needed only to engage in the first of these three skills: learning. Only scientists and inventors needed the rigorous method that forces you to unlearn things that are no longer true and relearn how things actually work.
Today, nearly everyone now needs Habit 6 – we need to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn.
Futurist Alvin Toffler was one of the first to predict that a key “literacy” in the 21st century would be the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn. See his groundbreaking book, Rethinking the Future: Rethinking Business Principles, Competition, Control and Complexity.
Educator Cathy Davidson argues that it’s not only a needed literacy, but that in fact “the brain is designed to learn, unlearn and relearn, and nothing limits our own capabilities than our own attitudes toward them.” See Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Change the Way We Live, Work and Learn.