Jordan Belfort talks about 4 levels of learning whenever we want to gain a new skill.
- Unconscious Incompetent (let’s call it I don’t know I know sh*t)
This is the first level of anything. When we start to learn something, we have no idea how much we don’t know. It’s like learning to play football while watching TV (and thinking that you could score 10 goals in half an hour…it’s not that hard, right?).
- Conscious Incompetent (or I now realize how much sh*t I don’t know)
This is when you touch that ball a few times and it goes in the opposite direction. You realize how much you have to learn to be good at it, whatever that “it” is. In my opinion, this level is the toughest because here we decide if we’re going to continue or we’re going to quit.
- Conscious Competent (I’m getting good at this sh*t)
You know how to hit the ball and when so it will get wherever you want. All you have to do is to focus. You got this!
- Unconscious Competent (I’m born for this sh*t)
This is the desired level. You can do with that ball whatever you want with your eyes closed. You don’t need to think about it anymore. It’s part of you.
The only way to level up from 1 to 4 is through practice. This is how it happens from a brain’s point of view: whenever you want to learn something, you’re focusing on that. Whatever you see, hear, feel, taste, smell are activating certain brain cells. So if you want to kick the ball, you’ll look at it, you’re going to position yourself in a certain way for a better kick and so on and the brain cells responsible will get activated.
Joe Dispenza talks about the fact that the brain cells activated together will tend to interconnect (Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind, 2007). Based on this, the more you train about kicking that ball, the more your brain cells will get activated together and they will slowly form circuits. Those circuits are like a road. The more circulated that road is, the stronger it become (it goes from an empty field, to a country road and eventually to a highway). The stronger that circuit gets, the higher the chances are for it to be activated again. It’s easier to take the highway compared to a country road or an empty field, right?
This applies to anything. That’s how a habit is formed. And that’s why it’s so hard for an old habit to be broken, but it can be done with lots of will, effort and time.
What are you learning and at what level are you?
6 thoughts on “The 4 Levels of Learning – Reblog”
I agree that it is nice post compared to some of your previous posts. However, let me tell you, or remind everyone else reading this, that the idea of 4 levels of learning was not coined by Jordan Belfort, but it has been around long before him. Secondly, level 4 Unconscious Competent is not “The desired level” as you described it. Why?
In life and in any business at the peak point is the most dangerous position to be on. And unless we innovate or do something else to better that position, we will not make progress but crumble instead. For example, if you run up hills and as you go up higher and higher your breathing gets shorter and shorter. Likewise, as you achieve something great or learn alot and become expert, your common sense gets thiner and thiner and it is during this stage that human being and their businesses crumble. The reason is that our humble beginings gets out of the door and is replaced by arrogance.
Like coming down from hills, unless we are conscious and control ourself and run as slow as we can be, our weight alone will propel us downward faster and most likely will cause our legs and knees crush.
So my point is never aim destination, respect the process. And when you reach at level 4 learning stage change direction: innovate and learn something new to develop yourself and your business further.
All the best.
I am learning dancing, I am currently at he conscious competent.
When my partner and I took tango lessons I kept this progression in mind. Conscious incompetence is a painful phase when the urge to quit is strong. We reached moments of conscious competence which was very fun. We stopped before the final phase to raise our child and go through the learning phases anew. Parenting is tricky to master. -Rebecca