We must first figure out what skills we require and then proceed to incorporate them into our thinking and behavior. Easier said than
done - right?
If we understand that there is, indeed, a process and that it takes place in stages, we can be more
patient with ourselves and realize that nothing happens overnight.
By understanding the four stages of learning a skill, we can concentrate on the learning process itself and not feel bad about where
we're at and why we don't know everything already.
Here are the four stages of learning any skill, and then as it relates to personal development:
At this stage you don't know what your problems are or how to identify them. You may or may not know that something is not working,
but you have no idea what it is or how to go about fixing it. In other words you
don't know what you don't know.
You are going through life feeling that something is missing; you're plodding along but not really paying attention
- you just stumble along.
With conscious incompetence you are aware of a lot of your problems, but you
don't know how to correct them. You may understand what is needed, but have no knowledge or confidence in how to get it.
You may feel overwhelmed by how much you need to learn.
Soon you begin to realize that you are unhappy with yourself, your relationships, your career and
you're stuck in a rut. You know you have to do something but have no idea what or how to go about it.
You start reading about personal development but feel overwhelmed with how much there is to learn.
In this stage you know how to correct your problems but it will take time and practice. You know what you know, and can apply it as long as you are concentrating and focusing on it.
You have to think your way through the process and it feels unnatural and foreign. It is outside of your
You have realized that there is no other way to improve, but to apply yourself read and do what is needed.
It's time to put to practice what you have read and discovered. It is difficult, yet fun because you are stretching yourself, growing and your life is becoming more meaningful and
You know what you know and you no longer have to think about it. You have become so skilled at it that
it's automatic and comes naturally. In fact, you do it unconsciously because you no longer have to think about it. Speaking your
native language is an example of unconscious competence.
So here you are on the path of personal
development. You know it's an ongoing process, but because
you've incorporated many positive habits, positive thinking and positive behaviors, your life is less of a struggle and more of a progressive journey. You
don't think in terms of obstacles; you think in terms of opportunities and ways in which you can improve yourself.
As I've mentioned the four stages of learning pertain to how we learn anything in life. Until we know better, most things seem easy. For example, take riding a bicycle.
Before you knew how to ride one, it probably looked easy until you got on and tried to ride it. Then you realized how incompetent you were at it.
The same with roller or ice-skating. First you had to learn how get up and keep your balance. Not so easy! Then
you'd fall a few times and maybe even get a little bruised (ouch!). In order to get better, you had to keep practicing until you got really good at it.
After a while, low and behold, you no longer had to think about what you were doing and it became smooth sailing.
So it is with any skill. Keep improving and working on yourself until it becomes second nature. Not only will you get the most from life, you will live it to your full