The art of learning has 4 stages. This is something that needs to be taught in every school for children to know the importance of the process and apply to their life at all stages:

  1. Explore: This is the most important stage of learning. When you have an idea or interest in mind the first and most important step is to explore. Most of us hesitate taking this first step. Inaction is the biggest peril in ones life. So start exploring as soon as you get the thought. The objective of exploration is to find a context or purpose  that  you can attach to a life goal or mission. This phase is also called Unconscious Incompetence (UCIC).  You do not know what to do or how to do in a particular skill.
  2. Experiment: This part of learning helps one to decide what to do. In this stage the learner starts to seek people, tools and sources that will help him learn more and more on the subject of interest. This stage is also called Conscious In Competence (CIC). Here the learner is aware of what to do but also knows he or she is not skilled enough.
  3. Experience: This stage is called Conscious Competence (CC). In this stage the learner knows what is to be done and how it is to be done. The learner keeps getting better and better with more practice.
  4. . Expert: This stage is also called  Unconscious Competence (UCC). In this stage the learner has now become very skillful with hours of practice and the skill is second nature to him or her. This is the stage when the skill is part of ones subconscious mind and the learner does not have to think to display the skill. It comes out as a reflex or instinct.

There is also a fifth stage also referred as Mastery. However it is often combined into the 4th stage. One can quit at any of these stages when a challenge, bottleneck or a negative incident occurs. Each stage will have its set of challenges and as you go up the learning curve the intensity or gravity of the challenges also increases. Every skill acquisition is a tough journey and the only way to get though the journey is ‘Stay Put”.

The best example of these stages can be that of learning to drive a car. Initially you have no idea about the car or how you drive one till you actually see one on the road. The next step involves getting into a car and understanding the various parts and functions of the vehicle and consciously using it. One will be very mindful of speeding, braking, switching on and off of wipers, lights etc. You learn by trial and error.  In the next stage one knows exactly what to to and how to act yet needs more experience in tacking tougher situations such as traffic jams, parking etc. In the final stage one does not have to do anything consciously except start the engine of the car. Everything else comes naturally such as stopping at a traffic light, applying brakes, speeding or slowing down, handling a curve, driving in traffic, using the lights, indicators and wipers. One can also drive while playing music.

The same logic applies to learning anything, a new language, a new business, public speaking, book writing etc.

So all of you out there…go out and explore and find out a purpose in life. The biggest risk in life is not taking any risk!!!!!!


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