Maybe All Learning Starts with “Unlearning” – Insight from Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up


Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpI’ve just read the Kindle sample pages of the new book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo. I read about it in this New York Times article: Kissing Your Socks Goodbye – Home Organization Advice from Marie Kondo by Penelope Green.

I won’t bore you with details about my life-long battle with clutter, but suffice it to say I have not done all that well in defeating this beast.

But, this passage jumped out at me (from the book):

Do people who have been tidying for more years than others tidy better? The answer is no… Many of them spent so many years applying erroneous conventional approaches that their homes overflow with unnecessary items and they struggle to keep clutter under control with ineffective storage methods. How can they be expected to know how to tidy when they have never studied it properly?

So, in other words – to learn how to do it “incorrectly” does not make you any better at it over the long haul

So, in other words, the first real step to learning how to tidy is to unlearn “erroneous conventional approaches” to tidying. (“Conventional approaches” — commonly accepted, but…  wrong).

I’ve got a pretty big hunch that this is truly a universal truth. We have all learned to do a fair number of things incorrectly. And once we learn how to do something/anything incorrectly, we simply keep on doing it incorrectly.

So, the path to genuine learning involves this first step:

Before we learn, we have to unlearn.

Man, is this hard to do! It’s hard to even recognize, and then, it is really hard to actually unlearn, so that we can then learn.

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