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How We Learn New Stuff

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I've heard this a few times, so, it must be important. Like everything in life, there are stages to learning new information. One thing that makes life a little easier is the patterns that occur. Without these patterns, life would be impossible.

What do I mean by patterns?
If a farmer plants corn, corn will grow where he planted. He will not harvest beets or chickens where he planted the corn. This is a pattern. When we throw a ball up into the air, it will eventually come down. This is a another pattern. If you put a filet in front of me, I'm going to eat it. Well, you get the point.

Stages of Learning

  1. Unconsciously Incompetent - This stage is blissful at times. We think that we know it all. Like a teenager who always knows better than their parent, we don't know what we're doing but we think we do.
  2. Consciously Incompetent - When things consistently don't work out for us in an area, there's an awakening that takes place. We don't know what we're doing. Like the guy who starts fixing his plumbing only to flood his house, this awareness is a critical part of learning. This is the step that causes us to seek knowledge.
  3. Consciously Competent - When we first acquire new knowledge, we really have to concentrate on making it work. We follow instructions precisely, perhaps, referring to a manual or other material.
  4. Unconsciously Competent - This is where we all want to be. Like the professional golfer who just points to where he / she wants to hit the next shot, we want to get to the point where the individual mechanics are automatic.

So, next time you are learning something new, remember the process. Or, next time you think you know everything . . .

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