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Acquire New Skills And Knowledge Through These 7 Effective Learning Steps

November 3, 2020

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learning steps

How do I get over this feeling of being stuck in a rut? Why do I feel uninspired and demotivated so often? How can we make a POA on effective learning steps?

We all go through these periods of uncertainty. Our mind is jogging in the same place and things start to feel less interesting. We keep going about our daily routine and doing the same things every day. But this feeling of stagnation remains, leaving us frustrated. So, how can we pull ourselves from this quicksand of doubt and uncertainty? What can we do to keep our creative juices flowing? 

The answer is simple: learn.

Our quest for knowledge and learning doesn’t have to end with our classroom. A study claims that learning new skills keeps an aging mind sharp. Another research claims that learning several new things increase cognitive abilities in older adults.

One of the best things about learning is that it’s a continuous process. There’s always some new technique or skill to learn.

In fact, the most successful people in the world realise that they have to keep learning to be successful.

Well, it’s never too late to fuel your interests and develop a curious mind. We can always explore new ways of learningand make it an essential part of our lives.

To help us with the same, Jim Kwik, one of the renowned brain coaches, guides us on how learning really works. He’s helped the best CEO’s, lawyers, rocket scientists, and Hollywood celebrities to learn how the human brain actually functions.

So, let’s make learning steps interesting and informative, shall we?

First and foremost, let’s discover some insightful learning steps.

What are the Five Stages of Accelerated Learning?

learning steps

According to Jim Kwik, these learning steps help us simplify the task of learning a new subject or skill.

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence

Unconscious Incompetence: We don’t know that we don’t know.

Basically, unconscious refers to something that we’re not aware of. Incompetence is something that we can’t do.

So, what does this really mean with reference to learning steps?

In learning steps, unconscious incompetence is when we’re unaware about a particular subject. Hence, we lack the skill for it.

For example, in stage 1 of unconscious incompetence, a kid might be unaware about cycling. Thus, he is unaware that he might be a good cyclist.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

Conscious Incompetence: We know that we don’t know.

In conscious incompetence, we’re aware about a particular subject or skill, but haven’t developed the talent for it.

This is the stage where awareness is there and the learning can begin.

For example, in stage 2 of conscious incompetence, the kid knows about cycling but he doesn’t have the training to ride a bicycle.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

Conscious Competence: We know how to use the skill, but with some efforts.

In this stage, we know how to utilise our skills or perform a task. But we need the right practice or efforts to do it correctly.

For example, when we learned to type on the computer. Or how to tie our shoes for the first time. Although we knew how to tie our shoes or type, we needed a little help initially.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

Unconscious Competence: We perform the task unconsciously and automatically.

Unconscious competence is the stage where we’ve practiced thoroughly. Our practice leads us to becoming unconscious about doing a task, and doing it effortlessly.

For example: When we’re driving a car, we’re not actually thinking about driving. We automatically do it, without any help or guidance.

But remember, the key to get from stage 3 to stage 4 is practice.

In the third stage, we learn how to do something through practice. Only continuous practice allows us to go to the fourth stage and perform a task effortlessly.

Stage 5: Mastery

Mastery: Know a particular skill at the back of your hand.

The final level is mastery, wherein we become the master of a specific skill. In this final stage, we know a particular skill very well. We know it so well that our attention isn’t on what we’re doing. It is on doing it like we’re already masters of it.

Mastery is our ability to learn faster, outthink, and outperform. It also teaches us to focus better, and solve a problem by accessing valuable information.

It’s important for us to understand the fundamentals. Only then we can be a true master.

So, let’s get it right with these five levels of learning. This can help us to focus on learning faster and better.

Moving along, now that we know these levels, where do we go from here? With so much of information and knowledge made available to us, what do we do with it?

Jim Kwik suggests that we create a MAP – Mental Action Program. Through this, we go back to the concepts that we’ve learned over time. Furthermore, he also believes in the Pareto Principle—the 80:20 rule. The rule wherein you put 20% of efforts and reap 80% of the rewards. 

Next, while we possess ample information, what do we really do about it? This got me thinking, “what if we knew how to put this data to good use?” That’s when I came across Stephen Covey’s bestselling book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. This is where the connection happens: the seven habits, and how it can accelerate our learning.

What are the Seven Habits to Accelerate our Learning?

learning steps

Inspired from Stephen Covey’s book, these are the seven habits that are key to our ways of learning.

Be proactive   Begin with the end in mind   First things first   Think win-win  
Seek first to understand, then to be understood   Synergize   Sharpen the Saw    

We need to understand the connection between these habits and our learning steps. As we explore them, let’s link the habits to a picture. We can use the Turn Into Picture (TIP) concept to do so. Let’s delve a little deeper.

Be proactive:

It all starts with us taking responsibility for our actions

Most effective learners are proactive. They know what they want and how to get it. In our case, we can be proactive by taking initiatives and finding ways to respond positively. Our emphasis shouldn’t be on being reactive and waiting for things to happen. Instead, we should be proactive and make things happen. It’s important for us to take hold of the situation and take action.

TIP: Think of a proactive person or an athlete

Begin with an end in mind

Think about future goals, create a plan, and work towards it

Doing something without a purpose or an end is meaningless. One of the learning steps that the most effective learners follow is that they chalk out a plan. They then follow the plan and work with a target in mind. An impactful tool that Jim Kwik suggests is to prepare a ‘to-learn’ list, and keep updating it every 30 days.

TIP: An archer who is focused on his/her target

Put first things first

Learn to prioritise and focus on what’s urgent at that time

The best learners include prioritising within their ways of learning. It might sound challenging at first, but it’s worth it. In order to put things into perspective, we can create a ‘not to-do’ list. This list highlights the things that aren’t urgent and don’t require our attention. When it comes to learning, we can do anything but not everything. So, let’s say no to the good things in order to say yes to bigger things.

TIP: Visualise a list and the #1 thing on that list

Think win-win

Cultivate a win-win attitude through interactions and collaboration

Having a win-win attitude is what makes good learners great. We form a community based on mutual love and respect when we start valuing each other. A true learner doesn’t always view winning as a short-term solution. They focus on building relationships with others and growing together.

TIP: A sprinter who’s reached the finish line

Seek first to understand, then to be understood

Listen to understand and listen with an open mind

A rare but effective habit that great learners possess is the ability to understand. It’s important for us to understand what others have to say, and be present for them. For once, let’s not think about what we have to say. How about we try to listen to what the other person wants to say?

TIP: ‘Understanding Understanding’ book by Richard Saul Wurman


Work towards growth by nurturing interpersonal relationships

Simply put, synergise means coming together. The best learners realise the importance of synergising. They don’t forget to include it in their crucial learning steps. As a learner, we need to play to our strengths. While doing so, we need to bring together our T.E.A.M—Together Everyone Achieves More. In this context, synergizing is not an additive property, it’s a multiplier.

TIP: Remember 1 + 1 = 11

Sharpen the Saw

Strive towards change and growth by learning new things

A secret that every learner knows is that the thirst for knowledge is endless. One of the most vital ways of learning is to never stop learning. Even when we’re good at something, it’s important to sharpen our skills. There’s always a new thing to learn; a new language, skill, facts, etc. But, it’s critical for us to remember that we must learn how to learn first.

As we include these seven effective habits within our learning steps, the list doesn’t end there.

Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs

Help others to become more self-aware

This step is included in a follow-up book—The 8th Habit—by Stephen Covey. The essence of a great leader lies in the fact that they have a voice of their own. With this voice, they can then inspire others to find their voice. The best learners influence and inspire others—that’s the true voice of leadership. In the end, ‘our mess can become our message’ when we rightly put it across to others.

Moreover, we need to always remember that success and fulfilment essentially comes down to two things:

  • Knowing who we are
  • Being who we are

In the quest to self-discovery, we tend to learn a lot about ourselves and the others around us. Hence, our lifelong learning lies in having the curiosity to know ourselves and the courage to be ourselves. 

How can we share this incredible knowledge?

Here’s what we can take back:

  • We should continue practicing and learning the techniques
  • Remember the five stages of learning
  • Memorise the seven habits of highly effective ‘learners’
  • The key learning here is to always be ourselves

Lastly, we must all know that if knowledge is power, then learning is a superpower.

As Jim Kwik rightly stated, “If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. But if it’s broken by an inside force, life begins.”

True learning is inside us, and it’s up to us on how we use it. The truth is that we will never know everything there is to know (we realise this more as we become adults). Our knowledge is never going to be fully complete. As generations pass, when it comes to learning, there will always be something new to learn. We need to keep asking ourselves, ‘Have I learned all there is to learn?’ When the answer is ‘not enough’, then it’s best to start from the beginning. It’s time to ask new questions and seek more answers.

learning steps

The secret to learning is to have an open mind, welcome new thoughts, ideas, and techniques. Also, to know that tomorrow is a new day and time for new learnings. You can also learn a few ways on How to Memorize a Speech which will help you make an impactful presence.

If you found this article interesting and want to go deeper into this topic, I would suggest you a great books from one of my favourite teachers and healer:

AC Life


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