In Cahoots Session – Learn, Unlearn, Relearn with Dr Sarah Brooker

Dr Sarah Brooker was an ambitious young woman studying to be a neuroscientist. She had the world at her feet. On New Year’s Eve, 2002, an unbelievable series of events occurred: a brain aneurysm, a devastating car accident, a body broken and a mind shattered. When she woke up, she had no recollection of her old life.
Dr-Sarah-Brooker

Dr Sarah Brooker

Barbara Harvey

The author of “My Lucky Stroke”, Sarah shares her story in the latest “In Cahoots” session on how she learned, unlearned and relearned and built a new life with multiple achievements under her belt. She has since achieved Honours and a PhD, and worked as a rehabilitation consultant, counsellor, waitress, tutor, behavioural neuroscientist, student support officer, and high school teacher. She lives near Adelaide, where she works as a relief teacher in high schools and disability units and lives on a farm with her husband, Alan.

In this article, Cahoot Learning will share some valuable inspirations that we can all learn from Sarah Brooker.

The Letter

Sarah started the conversation by reading out a letter, the prologue to “My Lucky Stroke”.

Changing Oneself for the Better

While the tragedy was devastating and horrific, Sarah saw this as an opportunity to relearn and decide who she wants the new her to be. “Before the accident, I was a very serious person who was only interested in neuroscience, and unless someone is a professor talking to me about the brain, I would genuinely have no idea why that person is even talking to me,” she said. She explained that after the accident, she felt like she was more aware of her surroundings for the first time in her life and began to establish positive connections with them.

Sarah is the perfect example of how people are capable of change and the ability to introspect and relearn leads to a shift in mindset, and constant positive growth.

Finding Meaning Through Optimism

Immediately after the accident, Sarah was in a coma and had broken multiple parts of her body – damages from her lung to pelvis. After the coma, she had no recollection of her old life. Not even her closest twin sister, Abi. She explained that “had the stroke not happened and I steered the car away from the pole, the centre of impact would be on my seat, and I would’ve passed away”. 

And yet Sarah exudes such optimism where she was thankful for the series of events which happened all at the same time – from Abi not sitting at another spot of the car to the brain aneurysm to the oil spilt road, to being alive. Even down to wiggling toes, where she experienced simple joys while being bed-bound. 

Sarah’s love and passion for learning, like her habit of immersing herself to seek further knowledge on her lecture notes, helped a lot in the process. Her mindset of “imagining a world where all you can remember is the positive things” is what enabled her to be encouraged and maintain focus through everything. This level of prowess made it possible to embrace the need to unlearn and relearn things to elevate oneself.

The Excitement of True Learning

Some people may see learning as an obligatory activity, merely a stepping stone for achieving a goal. But not Sarah. Sarah immersed herself in re-learning everything from scratch again at 20 – from speaking to walking. She described that instead of seeing rehabilitation as sessions, she saw them as lessons. And that made it very exciting.

The perspective to see the joy in learning is what people should strive for, and for the most part, “when people are learning, they take it for granted,” Sarah added. She shared that when one starts categorising learning as a way to enrich oneself, rather than a hindrance, it will give them the feeling of liberation like never before.

In Conclusion

Sarah’s inspiring story gives us an insight into how a change in perspective creates positive outcomes and that every experience provides us with the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn again.

If you are keen on watching Dr Sarah’s session, we have a recording accessible for you here.

Experience joy through a unique learning experience with Cahoot Learning. Learn unlearn relearn through a cohort-based learning model in the best corporate learning platform, with courses ranging from adaptive leadership courses to innovative strategy courses.

In our next “In Cahoots” session, we have Marc Stears, who will walk us through the Transformational Change. 

About the Storyteller

In Cahoots guest Sarah BrookerDr Sarah Brooker

On New Year’s Eve 2002, Sarah Brooker was studying to become a neuroscientist when a freak accident put her in a coma for weeks. When she woke up, she had no recollection of her old life. Since the accident, Sarah has achieved Honours and a PhD, and worked as a rehabilitation consultant, counsellor, waitress, tutor, behavioural neuroscientist, student support officer, and high school teacher. She lives near Adelaide, where she works as a relief teacher in high schools and disability units, and lives on a farm with her husband, Alan.

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In Cahoots Session – Learn, Unlearn, Relearn with Dr Sarah Brooker

Dr Sarah Brooker was an ambitious young woman studying to be a neuroscientist. She had the world at her feet. On New Year’s Eve, 2002, an unbelievable series of events occurred: a brain aneurysm, a devastating car accident, a body broken and a mind shattered. When she woke up, she had no recollection of her old life.
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