As teenagers, we knew everything.  We knew even more than our parents did when they were teenagers.  The world had “advanced” with new knowledge about medicine, technology, and science and we knew all about it.   

When I was a sales trainer, we attempted to draw the trainees through the four stages of achievement.  Although specific knowledge was involved, instruction focused on the assembling of all the facts into a colloid of wisdom.   

Stage One is just like the teenager; you are an Unconscious Incompetent.  At this stage, you don’t know much, and you don’t know that you don’t know.  Stage Two is Conscious Incompetent where you don’t know much, but at least you know you don’t know.  Stage Three is Conscious Competent where you know a lot and are aware that you know it.  The ultimate and final stage is Unconscious Competent when all the knowledge comes together, and you just naturally carry it out as a part of your being.  You no longer need to think about your actions because they reflect what you know and what to do with that knowledge.  

Stage One is the most natural state, and from time-to-time we meet someone who is a “fool.”  They babble on about the facts of a topic with no knowledge of it except what they have seen or heard in one article or internet post.  Stage Two is the maturing adult who realizes he or she doesn’t know very much; this person can now learn and will often seek to do so.  In Stage Three companies and individuals spend the greatest effort to teach facts and the techniques to manage them. Stage Four cannot be taught.  It either happens or it does not.  You cannot even talk yourself into it.  

Once you reach the final stage, there is a danger.  The learning part of your brain can go back to being a teenager. Because you know everything, it is no longer necessary to continue learning.  The technology behind cell phones shows us a rough example of how far off the mark this slippery slope is.   I know cell phones are important because we use them constantly, but this is not one of the big questions affecting our destiny.   

Not bragging, but in my reading through the Bible five or six times, I am often stunned at two things.  I will dismiss a passage because I have read this part of the story before, or a “wow” moment happens.  Wow, how did I not understand that passage the first five times?  Then comes new-found clarity.  The Bible is a complicated and deep book filled with people, stories, and lessons.  There are also direct messages from the Great Creative Writer, the Messenger to Mankind, and the Friend of Truth; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.   

We must continue to study on the complexity of the messages and constantly be reminded about the truth.  We should never say, “I have heard that story a million times” and shut down to a new revelation that the Writer is trying to help us see.  We may think we are Unconscious Competent, but in this realm, we need to stay at Conscious Competent by picking up one of the trillion printed copies of this fine book and reading it once again.

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