New Year ~ New Mindset(s)

Another January and another opportunity to stop, reflect, and learn. Learning is an important skill to have as a designer/researcher and, I think it makes life more interesting!

I recently came across two new (to me) learning concepts that I will be looking to bring a bit more into 2022.

  1. ‘A beginner mindset’ – taking the approach of looking at things as if I am completely new to them.
  2. And ‘learning to unlearn’ – looking to let go of previous learning to make space for new learning and ways of doing things

Why do we need to try these? To stop us from making assumptions, be more creative and make us more open to new ideas and ways of doing things. To help us grow.

Go ahead and ‘disrupt’ yourself this year.

Adopting a Beginner’s Mindset

Adopting a beginner’s mindset means no matter how much you already know about a topic or area, you approach as if you know nothing about it. You put aside your expertise and become ‘ a beginner’. This allows us to approach problems with a fresh perspective and a clean slate.

How to?

  • Be a good listener. Allow others the space to talk and really listen to understand rather than wait your turn to show off your knowledge.
  • Don’t be a bad listener. Don’t interrupt and resist jumping to give immediate solutions.
  • Ask questions instead of making assumptions.
  • Find mentors and ask others how they would do it. Explore alternative viewpoints.
  • Try mindfulness and adopt a spirt of Zen.

And my favourite

  • Become an alien anthropologist. Imagine you just landed on earth and want to understand what is going on but have no clue. And ask lot of questions to understand.

Let go. Learning to Unlearn

Unlearning involves letting go of current beliefs, attitudes or behaviours that no longer serve you. It’s about recognising that some of your knowledge or beliefs might be out of date or not as useful or effective as they once were. It’s about replacing old beliefs with new ones.

Unlearning can be especially difficult to do, particularly if that knowledge or idea you want to change, worked well in the past. Unlearning is about being brave and willing to say “I don’t know”

Unlearning is about first recognising areas that could do with updating or improvement. Its about being willing to put aside our previous thinking on how to solve these areas try new ways to solve them. This type of attitude can lead to transformative learning, if we are open to it.

Image from Google

How to

  • Keep abreast of updates and changes in your industry to spot areas you may need to update
  • Request feedback to give yourself fresh perspectives on current behaviours
  • Reflect upon and identify areas or behaviours you want to improve or that are challenging at present
  • Be open to trying new ways of thinking/working and seek input from others.
  • Experiment with new approaches
  • Evaluate and implement. And experiment again.


Skills and attitudes needed for Lifelong Learning – UX Factor Blog

Less talking more listening – UX Factor Blog

8 Tips for Cultivating Beginner’s Mind – DP Chopra

Learning to Unlearn – Stephen Dowling


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