Learning To Unlearn

Rishon Patani
2 min readJan 23, 2022

It’s 6'o clock in the evening, lights starting to fade. I’m lying on my bed feeling lethargic, not from the daily work routine, but possible sickness from a viral flu. Covid ? Seems like it.

I can’t make if my hamstrings are sore from the deadlifts yesterday or from being an adult nearing 27. A distinct calmness lingers around while I stay up looking at a former Russian colleague’s code in awe. “I should learn this approach”, I thought to myself.

But then again, how many times do we come across things that we want to learn but still end up using our orthodox ways ? This wasn’t the first time for me, and neither was I alien to it. May be to learn something, we need to try unlearning something first.

I follow a lot of interesting people on Twitter and Youtube and often try to learn when I am not binge watching something garbage. But, what I noticed was when some of their ideas are proven wrong, a part of me used to be happy. Heck, I even got blocked for trolling. “What was that ?”, I thought. Jealousy ? Or perhaps envy ? That too when I don’t know them personally !

Sometimes because of our personal biases, or subconscious superiority, we are not able to fully accept that anyone can make mistakes. I asked myself some simple questions,

Are they better than me ?
Are they more knowledgable ?
Are they more successful ?
Are they growing rapidly ?

Heck yes !
Alright, so what do we do then ?
And the answer that I taught myself is Unlearn.
Yes ! Unlearn this habit of subconscious envy to begin with.

This led to some more self interrogation. I again asked myself, What made me become a troll or be jealous ? Of specially someone who has emerged quite popular and successful in the financial markets.
1. Can I evaluate a business bottoms up ?
2. Can I make sense of every number in a company’s financial statement ?
3. Can I do effective business analysis, analyse competition, moats ?
4. Can I accurately value businesses ?

I quickly realised, that my knowledge is still superficial. Reading Cash conversion cycle of a business, or reading profitability ratios alone doesn’t make any sense. It’s like knowing ‘Mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell’. Everyone knows it, but it’s useless if you don’t study things around it deeply. The fact that me believing I know things made things only worse.

I feel this is applicable almost everywhere. We often limit ourselves to grow because we (subconsciously) think we know enough. Be it in education, sports, hobbies, or even professional life. We are either too scared/too shy/too jealous to learn from someone better.

Steps that I have personally taken this year,

  • Started learning from successful people I hated/envied for no good reason.
  • Signed up for a $150 course on something I thought I knew but in reality only superficially.

So, let’s unlearn and learn,
And separate the wheat from the chaff,
Until next week.