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The Four Steps of Learning

    



Helping people learn and grow is my business.  It is the challenge of life, to improve and progress.  If you are interested in personal growth, it will help to understand the process.  There are four steps you must take to learn anything.


STEP FOUR:    UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE

STEP THREE:  CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE

STEP TWO:     CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE

 

STEP ONE:      UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE

 

 

 

      Think about process of learning to drive a car.  My son was fifteen years old and thought he was ready to hop in the car and go.  He didn’t know what he didn’t know.  He thought he knew how to drive, but he didn’t.  He was unconsciously incompetent (STEP ONE).  Then he got in the car for his first driving experience.

 

     He was the driver, and I was the teacher.  Fortunately, we were in an open empty parking lot.   After the engine was started, and the seatbelts were fastened, he put the car into drive and pushed the pedal to the metal!  We shot across the lot, and then stopped as quickly as we started.  He just graduated to STEP TWO of the learning process, conscious incompetence.  We both were very conscious that he was incompetent and needed further instruction.  Mistakes teach us what we don’t know and need to learn.

 

     After some conversation and instruction, he carefully executed the specific steps to control and drive the car safely.  After some more mild experimentation, with great thought and attention, he could drive the car safely across the lot, make some turns, and slow to a gentle stop.  He was at STEP THREE, conscious competence.  With focused attention and thought, he was able to drive the car. 

 

     After a few more sessions in various open areas, my son could easily drive the car.  We could even have a conversation as he drove around the empty lot.  He had reached STEP FOUR of learning, unconscious competence.  He could perform the task without conscious thought.  It was second nature.  He had successfully learned how to drive….in an empty parking lot. 

 

     Now we were ready to take it to the streets!  That shouldn’t be difficult, right?  Wrong!!  Back to STEP ONE – Unconscious incompetence.  Time to begin a new level of learning.

 

     So, what do you want to learn?  What do you want to know that you don’t know?  Growing and progressing begins by saying “I don’t know what I don’t know”, and then moving into the discomfort of discovering you are incompetent.  The fear of failure and embarrassment keeps many people from having fun and personal achievement.  I challenge you today to admit your incompetence, and then choose to take the risk of taking the steps of learning and becoming competent.  It’s called being alive.  Enjoy your journey.  

 

 

 

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