“At Least You’re Aware of Your Incompetence” (4 Stages of Learning)


I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”   Winston Churchill

After I gave a talk recently I was pulled aside by a colleague. He pointed out that the way I expressed one topic had the potential to put off one of the groups present.  To my credit I was consciously aware of the problem during the talk but unfortunately I couldn’t stop myself.

My colleague’s response… “At  least you’re aware of your incompetence!

He didn’t mean I was generally incompetent.  Instead his point was that the first step in learning is to become aware of a limitation in your knowledge or capability.

This post tackles two questions about learning.  Beyond awareness of incompetence what are the stages of learning?  Why can learning or changing behavior be particularly difficult?

Read on…


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