‘I guess I’m just not a visual person’

Many demons emerge when we step out of our comfort zone and learn something completely different.

It’ like our subconscious goes into overdrive telling us all the reasons we can’t or shouldn’t do something. ‘Don’t bother’,  it whispers, ‘Look, you gave it a go and it’s not you’, ‘Come back to what’s familiar and safe’.

When we learn something new we go through what’s known as the learning ladder. The learning ladder explains why we experience these moments of resistance, of pulling back, and offers us a new perspective.

What if we chose not to give voice to our negative mind chatter? What if we recognised it for what it is, a sign that we’re learning, a sign that it’s all part of the learning process.

  • The stage at the bottom of the ladder is known as Unconscious Incompetence – well before you learned how to drive for example, driving wasn’t even on your radar.
  • The next stage is Conscious Incompetence – you start learning and suddenly it feels quite difficult – think kangaroo hops. It’s the same when we start drawing for the first time in years – our star people have giant heads, we can’t quite get our lettering to fit on the page, our sheep look like clouds etc. But fear not…. we then reach the next stage.
  • Conscious Competence – Hey we can do it. Somehow the whole clutch/steering, braking, mirrors thing all comes together. Our drawings look less child like and more recognisable. We can do it but it takes a lot of concentration.
  • The final stage on the learning ladder is Unconscious Competence – we can do it without even thinking. It’s easy, it’s effortless, heck it’s even fun. You find yourself jotting down simple images quickly and easily. It’s become second nature. You’ve quietened the critical voice.

So the next time you hear those subconscious murmurings remember it’s not the case that you’re no good, it simply means you’re on a certain stage of the learning ladder and with a little practice and self compassion, you’ll soon reach the next stage.As my yoga teacher said recently, ‘If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.’ Oh hang on, I think she was quoting Wayne Dyer. Wise words at any rate!

To experience exciting learning opportunities for yourself why not book a place on the next Secrets of Simple Graphics open course. Book now >>