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How do we learn?

It is a sort of truism to state that leaders must always be learning. In all walks of life, constant learning is foundational to growth.

Greek philosopher Plato is recorded in discussion with his teacher Socrates. He debated that there are not three stages in life, but only two; growth and decay. Stability does not exist, for the moment you cease to grow, you begin to decay.

Companies that fail to learn and adapt don't just stop growing, they fail.

"Some 40% of Fortune 500 companies in 2000 no longer existed by 2010" - Babson College MBA.

We understand the importance of learning. And many have spent a lifetime in formal education, but do we know how we learn?

There are Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill. A theory developed at Gordon Training International.

We begin with Unconscious Incompetence.

Where you don't even know, what you don't know. You are unaware of the fact that you don't understand said skills. These are your unknown, unknowns. You are unconscious of your own incompetence.

Secondary stage is Conscious Incompetence.

Exiting stage one and into two is usually attributed to an "aha" moment. Where you're struck with awareness of your lack of understanding and skill. You are now conscious of your incompetence.

The third stage is Conscious Competence.

This is when you're making a deliberate effort to improve, learn and work on this new skill. It doesn't come naturally, and you're continually forgetting. But you persist in putting in the effort to remember and engage with this new skill. You are now consciously working on your competence.

The last stage is Unconscious Competence.

This is the level of mastery. You're actively using this skill, and it comes with little mental effort. It is on autopilot, and your muscle memory kicks in. Its when the skill comes as second nature. You are unconscious of your impeccable competence.

What stage are you in with that particular new skillset that you've been trying to learn?

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