The stages of learning, and their problems

Friday, September 08, 2017

I strongly believe in my ability to learn, and that is my greatest asset. The times we live in mean that most of what we know now will soon be useless, and only those that can learn new things will remain useful.

The times we live in mean that most of what we know now will soon be useless, and only those that can learn new things will remain useful.

Most of the techniques I use to learn quickly are done intuitively, but if I am to improve my process, I must understand my process. So I draw up theories from my experience that I allow me to develop new methods.

This article is about one of my theories.

So, I present to you, Stephen’s stages of learning. I’ll be using Naruto references so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

1. Academy Student: Total Novice

i have no ideaI have no idea

At this point, you know almost nothing about this field. The greatest problem in this stage is not knowing where to start.

I bet we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. You know you want to know how to do something, but you have no idea where to start from.

The best way I’ve seen to overcome this is to ask someone where you should start from. They are in the best position to let you know.

Find someone to ask. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of time. Go to them like this.

teach meTeach me

2. Genin: Beginner

The easiest way to know them is that they think what they’re learning is so much easier than they thought it would be.

Too easyToo easy

They think this way because they don’t know what they don’t know.

The biggest problem of this learning stage is that it’s very easy to feel like you’ve learned all you need to when you haven’t even started. If you ever feel like what you’re doing is very easy, you’re most likely wrong.

What you need to do at this stage, is to research. Try and find out how big your field is, know how things are related. This will help you know when you’re likely to need something, and where to find it.



3. Chunin: Intermediate

If you’re really confused about what to learn next.

If you feel like the things you don’t know are too much.

If you feel like this

Too muchToo much

Then welcome to the next stage.

So you’ve done your research and you’ve come to realize that there is so much you don’t know. You now feel overwhelmed with all the things you’re expected to know.

It’s fine. You have advanced further and you are now facing the problem of this new level.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of stagnation. Where you spend more time worrying about what to learn than actual learning.

You see many niches and sub-paths in your single path. You’re now thinking about which “sub path” to follow on your grand journey.

My solution is this. Learn anything, follow any sub path and just move forward. Anything is better than nothing.

Most of what you learn are related, so whatever you learn helps you directly or indirectly. Also, no path is for life. You’ll change a lot so don’t spend too much time overthinking a decision that you’ll change soon.

Find something to doFind something to do

4. Jonin: Advanced

At this point, you’re a boss as what you do.

You're the bossYou’re the boss

You know your stuff, you know what you don’t yet know, and where to learn them if you need them.

It’s a good place to be.

The biggest problem with this stage, however, is that it’s extremely easy to stop growing.

Why? Because you don’t have to!

Most of the things you have to do, do not require any new skills, so you don’t haveto learn anything new.

You know all the general purpose stuff, and anything else you want to learn will only be needed in specific situations.

My recommendation is this.

Start over. Find a new (but related) field to go into. At most you should be at the intermediate level of this field.

No knowledge is lost, and what you learn in the new field will help you in your initial field.

Eventually, all your knowledge coalesces to give you a unique skill set.

Back to the beginningBack to the beginning

Don’t assume this will be easy. You’ll have to drop your pride and level as a boss to go back to being a beginner.

5. Kage: Elite

In this stage, your knowledge is extremely vast. You know a lot about a lot of things.

You are one of a kind and only a small percentage of those in your field are at your level.

I'm the bestI’m the best

The biggest problem with this level is that it’s unique. There is no general guide about how it works. You’ll have to figure it out.

You need to find out your own next steps. You own next path. You’re at a stage that no one knows enough to give direction. It’s up to you.


So this is what I’ve found out so far.

Do you agree?

Do you disagree?

What stage are you at right now?

Let me know in the comments.


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