Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Have you noticed?

Various learning models I've encountered over the years talk about four stages of learning. I just read an article by Peter Bergulnd that reminded me of this - here's an excerpt

Learning occurs through repetition. A good way to make sense of this lies in seeing four stages: 1) unconsciously incompetent 2) consciously incompetent 3) consciously competent and 4) unconsciously competent. Let's take the example of a child riding a bike:

  1. Unconsciously incompetent. The child doesn't realize he can't ride a bike.
  2. Consciously incompetent. The child tries, but fails in riding the bike. The child knows what he's trying to do but is unable to do it.
  3. Consciously competent. This is where the child, with total concentration and focus, can ride the bike although sort of wobbly.
  4. Unconsciously competent. This is where the child, without thinking about it, rides the bike effortlessly. Bike riding, through repetition, has become a task that is natural as a habit - or a morning routine.

Source: Minnesota Technology® magazine, September/October 1999

The article has some very thought-provoking information in it, including a technique called the "Twenty Times Concept," which helps you tackle the idea of scalability of practices as your organization grows.

I won't recap the article any further here, since you can -- and should -- click over and read it for free. That said, the article brings to mind an interesting thought about personal development:

Most of my "stretch goals" and my best growth occurs once I become consciously incompetent. This really stimulates my desire to learn new things, and kicks me into data gathering mode. From there, I can systematically identify where my issues are, create a concrete goal, establish a plan and work toward my goal.

Who says ignorance is bliss? Knowing my limitations also enables me to determine where my risks are, and increases my odds of responding appropriately to those risks.

Sure, I want to be consciously competent, then unconsciously competent - but the real fun starts when I become consciously incompetent.