If every book in your personal library is still worth reading, then you haven’t expanded your learning very much over the years.
There are books I no longer read and truthfully no longer agree with because I have changed my thinking about their content.
Learning goes deep in our identity, and it is very difficult to change our thinking once we have found a lens through which to satisfactorily interpret the world around us.
But I have discovered that true growth requires a broader understanding of learning beyond my current lens on life.
Learning is more than building on what I already know.
I recently heard someone point out that even high-paid athletes who already have incredible skill and strong personal motivation still have coaches. They have coaches to help them learn by unlearning patterns of behavior that have limited their growth.
Effective learning often requires unlearning.
Isn’t it funny that when we want someone to come over to our way of thinking we fully expect them to abandon what they know and embrace our newly delivered knowledge? But we often take an “I’m just looking to add to what I already know” approach to our own learning.
In order to unlearn and relearn a person has to place themselves in a safe environment. A good coach doesn’t want to talk a player out of playing the sport, they want to show them how to play the sport better, albeit differently.
I appreciate the people who have come along in my life not wanting to talk me out of my purpose but wanting me to unlearn and relearn my purpose. Many times these individuals have led me to the books that challenged my interpretive lens on life.
I remember one “coach” encouraging me to read the late Catherine Kroeger’s “No Place for Abuse.” That book opened my mind to the hurt my silence was allowing to occur within my faith community. I never listened to an abused person the same, and certainly never turned a blind eye if they were living with imminent abuse. I had to unlearn what I thought I knew about power and obedience and relearn a healthier approach to authority.
Learning is more than affirming what I have already said.
As a communicator there are past messages that I wish I could revise because I have since adjusted my thinking. I try to always admit to current audiences if my thinking has changed from a previous position on a subject. I do this for for two reasons:
1. It shows the listener that my own journey includes iterations of learning and unlearning.
2. It gives the listener permission to change their thinking.
I remember taking Fluid Mechanics in my undergrad and finding out that fluids behave so differently at supersonic speeds that the laws of aerodynamics drastically change. Accepting this fact helped engineers construct a jet that could behave aerodynamically different once the sound-barrier was breeched.
A true expansion of learning does not affirm everything you already know. Learning calls into question, exposes and at times defies what you know.
If you are honestly pursuing a learning curve for growth then you should find there are books you no longer read because you have changed your interpretive lens.