Four Stages of Life - Context Training

The Four Stages of Mastery in Life

by Randy Revell and Peggie Merlin

It is said that "what we don't know won't hurt us," but what we don't know, especially about ourselves, can land us in a lot of places we'd rather not be! The process of knowing, learning or mastering any subject can be seen in four phases.

The first stage is the very ignorance sometimes mistaken for "bliss"! Stage one is Unconscious Incompetence. In this stage we may not even be aware that there is something more to be known. We know not, and know not that we know not!

The second stage advances the individual;s awareness to a place of Conscious Incompetence. Here, at least, we know that we do not know. Although I may not like the new discovery of my incompetence, the consciousness widens the range of choices now available to me. However uncomfortable, this stage enhances my personal empowerment.

I may of course, choose to remain incompetent. The area may or may not be important enough for me to invest myself in the learning that would produce stage three: Conscious Competence. The journey to stage three is one of purposeful apprenticeship: By setting out to do so, I learn the language or master the computer or discover ways to produce the results I desire, in whatever the chosen area. In all likelihood I will spend considerable time in stage three before I move on.

Stage four, Unconscious Competence, is the level which I identify as mastery. It is the point at which the information, skills, and reactions are so thoroughly integrated in my consciousness that they have become part of my ground of being, rather than something I actually think about. In essence, the subject per se has disappeared from my conscious life, since I no longer give thought to it. I am free to direct my energy toward new opportunities - to spend myself in new ways.

Another view of these same four stages:

1. Unconscious Destructive -

I am not aware of how destructive my strategies are.

2. Conscious Destructive -

I realize how destructive my strategies are.

3. Conscious Constructive -

I am conscious that I am making constructive choices

4. Unconscious Constructive

Ideally, all my actions are constructive and I am usually unaware of the process (just pleased with the result!).

Abstracted from Connection Context Newsletter, June 1994, by Randy Revell and Peggie Merlin (-Back to home page-)