Meeting with a sports team last week, we talked about all of the things they needed to master to be champions, both skills specific to their sport and new mental performance skills. We took a step backwards to look at how they learn, helping them become more aware of the process and more empowered to make choices that sped up their learning curve.
In this 2-part series, I will share the four steps through which psychologists have found virtually all learning takes place. We’ll talk about which of the steps is most likely to trip you up and what you can do to ensure a smoother transition toward mastering what you want to learn.
The first step of learning is unconscious incompetence. In this stage, you don’t know what you don’t know. As psychotherapist R. D. Laing describes it, “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
The second step is conscious incompetence. In this stage, you are aware that you don’t know something that you want or need to know. Remember back to how you felt when you were first learning to hit a ball with a bat or learning how to drive. If you’re starting to learn a foreign language, you know your limitations in both vocabulary …