Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!

To Relearn

September 19, 2023

This morning, I’m waking up in Iowa, preparing to speak to a group of medical professionals at a rural health summit.

Though I’m confident in the presentation I have prepared, it’s unlikely that what I share will be new or ground-breaking to every person in the audience. Chances are—if what I’m saying is true—most of them have heard some version of it before . . . and I’m OK with that.

The Hebrew word for teach is “alaph.” Translated it means to “become familiar with.” I’ve heard another leader say that in many contexts, the word really means to “relearn.”

Think about it this way: the role of a teacher is not always to explain a new idea. Many times, the role of a teacher is to articulate an old idea in a new way—a way that’s engaging, accessible, and applicable. But why do we need to be retaught old, good ideas over and over again in different ways?

Because we need to relearn them.


Most of the time, when we hear a good idea, we’ll consider it for a moment (or maybe a day if we’re really thinking about it), and then we’ll go about our daily lives and allow it to fall out of our brains. Because we don’t put the concepts we learn into practice, we forget them almost instantly! We need to learn new concepts in a way that will cause us to put them into practice and make them stick.

This is why Paul ends chapter four of his letter to the church in Philippi with this statement: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things…”

Paul didn’t just want the early church to know how they should live, but he wanted them to practice these things. It’s not enough to know these things are true; practice shows you believe a good idea to be true.

Here’s my belief: Every single one of us has learned things that would make our lives better, but we aren’t putting them into practice. Maybe we need to do some relearning and then start implementing.

Do you need to relearn how to communicate with your coworker?

Do you need to relearn how to have high standards of quality control?

Do you need to relearn your spouse’s love language?

Do you need to relearn how to control your anger, by responding calmly to your toddler? (ouch)

Do you need to relearn ways to diffuse conflict over written communication?

Do you need to relearn how to set meaningful goals for your personal and professional life?

It’s likely you don’t need some new approach, you just need to relearn and implement what you’ve learned in the past. 

Don’t dismiss that old idea or the tried and true approach. 

Pick up the old book.

Listen to the old message.

Go back to that process from a few years ago.

Relearn and apply. This is the way. 


Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!