Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill

Learning takes time—that’s why it takes 21 days to establish a belief or pattern of behavior. So remember that in order to learn something, it must be done over and over again before it becomes a habit.


In psychology, the four stages of competence, or the “conscious competence” learning model relates to the psychological states involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence when learning a new skill or task.

It was first known as “Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill”, the method was developed in the 1970s at Gordon Training International by Noel Burch. It is often mentioned in Network Marketing and in Your Wish is Your Command (a course on Law Of Attraction and Manifesting) taught by Kevin Trudeau.

The Four Stages of Learning suggests individuals are initially unaware of how little they know—how unconscious they are of their incompetence. Once they become aware of what they don’t know—they then knowingly gain the skill and consciously use it. Eventually, they acquire unconscious competence this is where the skill is mastered and has become “second nature”.

  1. Unconscious incompetence
    At stage one the individual is unaware of how to do something and does not know what they do not know. As a result, they may deny the benefit of the skill. The individual must first recognize their incompetence and see the need of the new skill before being able to move on to the next phase of learning.
  2. Conscious incompetence
    In this stage the individual may not understand or know how to do something but they are aware of what they don’t know and see value in addressing or learning the skill.
  3. Conscious competence
    At this stage the individual understands or knows how to do something—but the skill or knowledge requires some concentration to complete the new skill.  At this phase, you know what you know.
  4. Unconscious competence
    The individual has now mastered that skill, so much so, that it is easily performed and becomes “second nature”. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. Yeah! At this final stage, the student has become the master and may be able to pass it on to his students, depending upon how and when the skill was learned.

Question? Have you ever practiced this method before and or have you ever had to teach it? Leave a comment in the section below.

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