4 Levels of Learning: creating new positive skills and habits

That's ok, it's all part of the process

When I got cancer for the second time, I changed my lifestyle drastically. And that didn’t just happened overnight. Learning new routines, new eating habits, new ways of looking at life, it takes time and effort. You can’t just do it all at once. Aristotle already said it: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit. And he is spot on. It really is like riding a bike; it takes practice and repetition. At first, when you get on that bike, you will fall over. But try again and practice a lot, and fall down and get up again, it will eventually become a skill that you master without even thinking. In this whole process there are 4 levels of learning involved. These 4 levels of learning are also what I teach my clients. By consciously understanding that you go through levels of learning will help you during the harder times and you will be less likely to give up.

 

 

Level 1: Unconscious Incompetence
This is the level of ignorant bliss. You don’t know what the problem is or how to identify it. Let alone that you have any idea on how to fix it. So you have to recognize the incompetence and the value of the new skill before moving on to the next level. It’s very likely you will be super motivated at this stage as you have no clue how difficult it might be or what skills you need to master.

Level 2: Conscious Incompetence
Level 2 is for most people the hard part, because now you have become aware of how much you need to learn and how far you need to go. You may understand that something needs to change, but how? So you inform yourself by for example, reading books, looking up information on the Internet or talking to people that have more expertise than you have. Realizing how much there is to learn or to change can be quite overwhelming and, in some cases, even paralyzing. Keep it mind: you don’t have to do it all at once. Baby steps are still steps and keep practicing and learning.

Level 3: Conscious Competence
Now it’s getting really interesting. This is the level where you’re slowly going to get the hang of it. You already know how to learn this skill or change or transform the habit. But it will take time and a lot of practice. As long as you are concentrated and focused you are able to apply the new skill. But it still feels unnatural, it takes energy and you need to step outside your comfort zone. You are challenging yourself; sometimes you will stumble, or even fall down. That’s ok, it’s all part of the process. Just pick up where you’ve left and try again. You will soon notice the progress you are making.

Level 4: Unconscious Competence
This is the level where you have mastered it and that is a great feeling. You’ve had so much practice, it has becomes completely natural to you. It’s like riding a bike or speaking your native language without giving it a second thought, you might even be able to multitask when doing it. And when you have incorporated more and more positive habits, positive thinking and positive behaviors, it will become less of a struggle to add new ones. You will start to think in terms of opportunities instead of obstacles and in ways in which you can improve yourself.

Overall, it will take approximately 90 days to change a habit or master a new skill. That has something to do with the synapses in your brain, and the adjustments they have to make. But how that exactly works is a whole different story. Keep up the good work!

Lots of Love, Sophia
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