Chapter 4

The Next Stages of Learning

A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways: by a change from light to darkness, or from darkness to light. And he will recognize that the same thing happens to the soul.


The next stage of the Four Stages of Learning is Conscious Incompetence. It has the following characteristics:

  • You're aware of your strengths and problems.
  • You're able to gauge the extent of your abilities and deficiencies, and the level of skills needed to maximize the former and modify or eliminate the latter.
  • You commit to improve upon those skills so you can move to Conscious Competence.

Before entering into the state of Conscious Incompetence, you were living in the dark. Things simply happened and you didn't know why.

In this second stage of learning, your eyes are wide open and you can make informed choices. More specifically, you're aware of your strengths and problems, as well as your current deficiency in dealing with them.

As a result, you can make a conscious choice to either

  • Take the necessary steps to gain competence in your core areas and reap the benefits, or
  • Not try to gain the competence because you don't perceive the potential benefits outweighing the cost in time and energy.

Either way, you can say “I am in control of my life.” You're now in a state of awareness.

Bringing to Light the Choices You Make

The following exercise will shed light on how this stage of learning affects you.

Please take a few minutes to write ...

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