“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” — Leonardo da Vinci
In the last post “Positive Permanent Changes – Part 1 – Understanding our Mind” we tried to understand our mind and how our subconscious mind controls our life. The deep rooted beliefs and habits in the subconscious mind shape our life, our identity and our future.
The good news is we can cultivate positive beliefs and habits and the not so good news is we have to get rid of the negative thoughts or habits that may be blocking our path towards a successful life. It is important to understand how our mind learns before we try to teach it new skills or try to remove old beliefs.
“Learning never exhausts the mind.” — Leonardo da Vinci
When we learn any new skill like learning a new language, operating a new machine, learning to play an instrument or learning to drive a car we go through different stages of learning.
1. Unconscious Incompetence/ Unskilled:
At this stage we do not know how to do the skill and we do not even register the need to learn this particular skill.
E.g. ‘Mr. Overworked’ does not know how to operate a new computer program and is not aware of its use or value for his job.
2. Conscious Incompetence/ Unskilled:
At this stage we get aware of the new skill and its value for us but we still have not know how to do it or we are yet to learn it.
E.g. A senior manager at the company tells Mr. Overworked how a new computer program is making waves in the industry and if he masters it he can look forward to a promising promotion.
3. Conscious Competence/ Skill:
Here we are aware of the importance and value of a skill and we start learning it. We do know how to do it but we have to do it with lots of efforts and concentration. We are highly conscious and we may have broken down the procedure in steps to help us do it without fail. We are taking more than required time as we are consciously watching our every move and step.
E.g. ‘Mr. Overworked’ enrolled in an online training program to learn the new computer program. He learned how exactly to do it but he is still very conscious about the steps so he printed out a detail plan step by step how to use the new computer program. He pinned it to the soft board behind his computer and now he works on the program by following every step on the printout. He is going slowly with it to avoid any mistakes.
4. Unconscious Competence/ Skilled:
By repetition and practice now we are comfortable with the new skill. There may be more to learn about it but we are confident and are doing the task with more speed and accuracy. Our movements are smoother and we are not depended on the learning tools like books or manuals anymore. We might even have developed a personal style or shortcuts to do the task more efficiently.
E.g. ‘Mr. Overworked’ has been working with the new computer program for over a month now. He has learnt almost everything that has to be learned about it. He is confident and comfortable with the program. He has even discovered various shortcuts to operate the program. The senior manager has appreciated Mr. Overworked’s efforts and is willing to offer him promotion and also has requested Mr. Overworked to teach the new computer program to his subordinates.
“A man, though wise, should never be ashamed of learning more, and must unbend his mind.” — Sophocles
Once we get to the fourth stage i.e. unconscious competence we can be proud about mastering a new skill or habit and it is also permanently set in our mind. We do go through all the four stages while learning any new skill and that is exactly how our mind is programmed we cannot jump or skip any stage.
So how can we bring Positive Permanent Changes in our mind that is set and rigid about some beliefs? Can we learn to unlearn? Can we change our thoughts and feeling about things that affect us most and have been obstacles in our path to achieve our life long dreams?
You guess the answer – Yes we can. We can slowly and permanently get rid of toxic beliefs, habits, and thoughts and replace them with the ones that will make our desire come true. Well this again will take a whole new post so let’s talk about this in the next and last post in the series; “Positive Permanent Changes – Part 3 – Resetting our Mind.”