Stages of Learning & NLP
Did you know that the process of acquiring a skill is the same for everyone? How would you like to accelerate your learning to be able to achieve the results that you desire easily and effortlessly?
It all starts by understanding how we learn. There are 4 stages to learning:
Unconscious Incompetence: You don’t know that you don’t know how to do something
Conscious Incompetence: You are aware that you don’t have certain skills
Conscious Competence: You can perform a new skill, but have to think about the process
Unconscious Competence: You can perform the new skill without conscious thought
Watch a video of this blog here:
We all go through these stages when we learn a new skill.
The very first stage of this process is unconscious incompetence. So this is when you don’t know that you don’t know how to do something. For example, there was a time that you weren’t even aware that driving a car was an option. You had no idea that driving was a skill that you might want one day.
So maybe when you were fourteen or fifteen, maybe even sixteen, and you didn’t want to learn how to drive. You’re happy riding your bike. All your friends were riding bikes.
And then maybe someone mentioned it to you, or one of your friends got their driver’s license, or got their Ls, and you thought to yourself “Whoa! I want to learn how to do that.”
This is when you entered the second stage: conscious incompetence. You knew that you didn’t know how to do something, and you wanted to learn. Your lack of the new skill was in your conscious awareness.
When people are motivated to learn new skills, they’re in this stage. This is when people go out and find an expert to help them learn their new skill, such as a driving instructor.
When you learning a new skill, it can be overwhelming, right? You can only focus on one thing at a time, and it seems a bit impossible to be able to do everything at once, like shifting gears and steering at the same time. And you’re not quite confident yet.
But over time, with practice and running through the process of the new skill like driving (or the strategy as we call it in NLP), you start to be able to do more and more things.
But you have to concentrate and focus on the task at hand at this point, don’t you? You can successfully shift and drive straight, and check your mirrors, but you have to keep reminding yourself consciously, don’t you? Remember learning to drive and constantly saying to yourself ’10 & 2…check mirrors….indicate…”
This is called being consciously competent. You can perform the new skill or task successfully, but it takes up a lot of your focus and you can’t really do anything else while performing this task.
At this point, you can go out onto the road and drive, and some may even get their license while still being in this stage of learning. That’s fine. The outcome is the same, it just requires more conscious thought.
This is the stage all of our students get to at any of our NLP and Hypnotherapy certification trainings. They have all successfully completed all the patterns in our classroom and have a clear understanding of how to use them with themselves and others once they leave the training room. They also have the confidence to give all the patterns a go outside the training environment.
Then when you leave our trainings, you’ve got to practice.
Just like learning to drive a car, you practice the skills until you don’t have to think about them anymore.
This final stage of the learning process is called unconscious competence. You don’t have to think about what you’re doing anymore because its now a ‘program’ running unconsciously.
In our car example, you reach this stage when you no longer have to remind yourself about the different things to remember to do, you can finally listen to the radio, and having a conversation with a passenger doesn’t cause anxiety!
And this is the point you want to get to with whatever you’re learning. You want to get to the point where you can perform the task or skill without having to think about it every step of the way.
Keep these 4 stages of learning in mind if you find yourself getting frustrated with learning a new skill or practicing something. You are on the path to unconscious competence, and you just need to give yourself a little bit of time and respect the need for practice of the skills. Remembering this will really make it easier to stick with it ever if things get tough.
Remember, you didn’t know how to drive a car the first time you turned the key.