Mastering the Art of Unlearning: Do we just follow the expected path along the lifecourse or is there space for pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-vni9a-1065920

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Photo by Eduardo Flores on Unsplash

In this episode, Victoria Procunier, a successful business woman from Toronto, Canada, and I discuss the subject of unlearning.  Unlearning can challenge assumptions that we have long held and trying to understand why something is the way it is.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Our discussion focuses on how people value terms, skills, and mindsets in four specific areas, personal, societal, business, and education.  Unlearning can be very useful for resetting, rethinking, and re-evaluating, the way we think about the world, and that there are different truths to the same situation depending on perspective.  Unlearning challenges what we know to be true and can be useful in moving forward when you feel stuck or desire to understand something from a new perspective.

Victoria talks about the constant process of learning and re-learning through her experiences as a lifelong volunteer and the space volunteering provides for not only changing perspectives and personal growth, but for doing something good, giving of yourself, and encouraging others to find value in themselves.

We discuss the varying reasons why so many are hesitant to let go of old ways that include understanding privilege, the impact of the #MeToo movement and uncomfortable conversations that need to be had. There is further discussion on controversies amidst the Covid pandemic with differing mindsets on taking the vaccine and wearing masks and being open to understand and respect people’s positions.

We also talk about fear being a factor that inhibits unlearning, and whether it is wrong to think through what it means to be privileged and whether you are deserving or not, and reconciling our past. Additionally, as a single woman of 40 with no children, Victoria discusses identity as a factor in unlearning and this kind of ‘box checking’ when it comes to assumptions and expectations about what it means to be a woman and what success and happiness is supposed to look like.

As a VP in sales and marketing, Victoria explains why she thinks it is vital for unlearning to happen in the workplace. She discusses how important it is to understand the other person’s perspective and the people behind the decision. The value that comes from meaningful relationships and reputation and integrity in leadership means a lot.  In leading a team, she practices unlearning regularly using the ‘start up culture’, to make sure that her team can be the best that they can be and that she is supporting them behind the scenes to create an environment where they can be most successful. We talk about what you can learn from surviving toxic work environments.

We conclude our conversation with an eye-opening discussion on how unlearning from an educational perspective can be life changing.  I ask Victoria her thoughts on ungrading and radical assessment, and was very surprised by her response.  Victoria, an avid lifelong learner, felt that grades were dangled as a carrot, but her experiences in ‘unstructured’ educational settings provided her with deeper, more meaningful learning.  She questions the idea that perhaps unstructured learning gave her the platform she needed to be success, but that having good teachers and supportive parents certainly

We have a jolly laugh at the end with a quick discussion about how unlearning applies to the dating world and running a three-legged race.  Come, #ListenAndLearn!

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