Why you need to unlearn habits and beliefs as your business grows (and how to do it)

Before going through personal development, I was narrow-minded. Negative. Jealous. Thought I knew better. I thought successful people were just lucky. That I was born less privileged than the rich and successful.

Then I went to those seminars where you hug and hi-five and dance in your chairs like it’s 1985 to the Black Eyed Peas’ I have a hunch. I started reading self-help books and articles until 1am. Before, the kind of things I rolled my eyes at, I invested in myself. I’ve even had therapy. I stood high in life and felt the glass is half full – happiness is a choice.

All the gurus taught beliefs such as, the more you learn, the more you earn. Invest in yourself, you pay the best interest. The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is open. So I went on a 15 year journey of ‘learning to earn’. Knowledge, plus action, is power.

And it worked… to some extent.

I got out of debt of £50,000. I fired my boss like they told me to. Become an entrepreneur. Built companies. Build a team. I made my first million pounds at the age of 31 and my tenth at the age of 35. But something was missing – something that persisted that I resisted. But still I followed the good advice of others. Learn to earn. I get it.

But this is what they don’t tell you: you are who you are. You are unlikely to change who you are.

Of course you can learn new skills. You can gain experience. You can read all the books and go to all the seminars. You can even ‘manage’ yourself and your emotions better. But you are who you are and you do what you do. And you keep doing yourself and being yourself.

So are your bad habits. Your triggers. Your flaws and your fears. No matter how much new information you learn on top of that, they probably won’t change. In fact, your new classes will simply exaggerate these existing features. You could learn, earn and lose it all because the underlying ‘problems’ have been with you since you were 7 years old.

It’s easy to see the flaws and holes in others that self-sabotage their success, but much harder to see your own. But if you want success, progress, wealth, happiness and fulfillment then those triggers and flaws have to be unlearned.

Get rid of procrastination, overwhelming habits, blame and complain. Learn boredom, micromanage and too many records turn off. Unlearning confrontation and unlearning avoidance.

To really unlearn these deep-seated who-you-are habits, you need to have a radical self-awareness of your flaws. What are your recurring habits, triggers, and behaviors that attract most of the mistakes or challenges you want to transcend?

Take responsibility

Unlearning is taking full ownership of the fact that everything is your responsibility, even if it isn’t. Because you can only change what you own. Covid and lockdowns were not your fault, but it is your responsibility to own the change it takes to not only survive but thrive in disruptive times and seize the opportunity. Be the change you want to see and reflect the results you want by being those results first, rather than hoping or worse expecting things to change. Things only change when you do.

Unlearning is having a lot of objective conversations with yourself and with mentors, to control your automatic triggers and reactions, change your reactions and actions, and make new decisions. Doing this consistently will unlearn old unwanted behaviors and form new reinforcing habits.

This takes deep, self-confident, disciplined work. This requires vulnerability and courage, sacrifice and discipline. This is a constant pursuit of self-direction and mastery. A continuous process of unlearning how you were raised and what you’ve been made to believe to be true, it isn’t. Here’s what great managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs can do that everyone else is unaware of. And that cannot be learned.

And remember: if you risk nothing, you risk everything.

The opinions expressed here by businesstraverse.com columnists are their own, not businesstraverse.com’s.

Shreya Christinahttps://businesstraverse.com
Shreya has been with businesstraverse.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesstraverse.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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