Learning to do something new, in sports and in life, can be tough.
Remember that feeling when you start learning something for the first time, whether it be a sport, driving a car or a new language. Sometimes you just struggle. But remember when you kept going, pushed through the challenges and finally got it. Hold onto that sense of achievement -- the feeling is pretty darn great! Understanding the four stages of learning can make the process easier. It can help you overcome challenges, identify progress, achieve your goals, and to realise that you can do it. Here’s our rundown of the four stages you need to go through when you’re learning something new:
1. Unconscious Incompetence: At stage one, you don’t yet know how to do this specific something; you don’t understand how tough it’s going to be to learn how to do it. You have no idea how hard it’s really going to be to run up that steep rocky winding trail for the first time. This is the stage of ignorant bliss.
2. Conscious Incompetence: At stage two, you still don’t understand the action or concept but you recognise that it’s tough. Here you realise that you don't know how to do this thing. This is a difficult stage. It’s where the learning begins and where negative thoughts are likely. This is where many people stop and give up because of the feelings of self-doubt and frustration.
3. Conscious Competence: When you reach stage three, you understand how to do what you need to do, but doing it requires a lot of consciousness or concentration. “I know I know how to do this. I can run up that hill without stopping. I can do 10 press-ups in good form.” This stage is easier than the previous stage, but it can still be uncomfortable and you can still have some self-doubt.
4. Unconscious Competence: This is the final stage of learning and you now have had so much practice with the action or concept that it’s become second nature. You can do it easily and without too much effort.
You can run 20km without thinking about it, you can run up that steep hill and even do 10 press-ups at the top, all without thinking much about it.Knowing exactly where you’re at in the learning process really helps. Don’t be put off by the struggle; it’s part of the process and leads to growth. Remember if you are at stage two, conscious incompetence, a state of conscious competence is just in front of you. Celebrate as you progress towards your goals and pay attention to what you have achieved. It will motivate you to do more.
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