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Learning, Creativity and Aha's

Ravi Resck 15 de March de 2023

The idea of the levels of competence is to offer a model of the different stages taken during the learning of anything.

The study was carried out by Noel Burch in the 1970s and was called the Competence Ladder and can be very useful in helping us understand our emotions during the learning process which, as everyone knows, can sometimes be frustrating .

The model highlights two factors that affect our thinking when we are learning: awareness (being aware) and skill level (competence).

We will analyze the learning process based on this model and relate this idea to the maximization of aha's through innovative methodologies such as Dragon Dreaming.

Ignorance of our incompetence

At the first level we areunaware of our incompetence. It is that state where we don't know that we don't know. We are completely ignorant about our own ignorance about that subject. To get out of this stage we have to feel the call of adventure. Tools such as analysis of personal strengths and weaknesses (swot) can be useful in helping to understand what are the skills we have to work with. It is very important to be honest with yourself to begin the process of self-knowledge. How are we going to develop if we don't know what needs to be improved? InDragon Dreaming, this stage precedes awareness.

Awareness raising

At the second level, we becomeaware of our incompetence. It happens when we find out that we don't know something or don't have the skills required for a task. This level can be demoralizing and will be one of the first thresholds that we will have to cross to achieve transformative results. This model in itself helps us to cross this threshold, since we realize that learning is a process divided into several phases. It is also important to remember that we can only learn something when we are confused. If we think we always know everything, we will hardly learn anything.The state of confusion indicates that we are going to learn something.And let's not forget that we are often surprised by interesting things when engaging in some tedious activity. Therefore, we can also say that interesting things can be found even when something bores us. InDragon Dreaming, this stage initiates awareness, which will bring great challenges to the traveler. To stay motivated, you will need to collect information.


At the third level we becomeaware of our skills. Here, you know you know but you still don't have a complete grasp on the subject. You put your skills into practice and feel more confident each time you use them. To go to the next stage, you need to make use of these skills every moment, whenever we have an opportunity. Sometimes a volunteer process where we can exercise our skills can be very helpful. InDragon Dreaming,this is the time to plan. Here we consider alternatives, design strategies and test our skills on a pilot project.

The implementation

And in the bedroom we becomeunconsciously competent.Here we no longer need to think about what we are doing. The classic example is driving a car. After a while it becomes so natural that we can talk and do multiple tasks at the same time. When this stage is reached, it is important to keep practicing to keep growing. Perhaps now is also the time to start teaching these skills. InDragon Dreaming, this is the time of realization. We implement our ideas and this generates an administrative process in which we have to monitor our progress constantly.


Noel Burch's model stops here. Richard Bandler proposed a next stage that would bemastery or virtuosity.It is different from the last stage described because when someone reaches that level we have the feeling that the person is playing with what they do. Masters make things look easy, they find a continuous rhythm that allows them to exercise their full potential. Achieving mastery in anything requires daily dedication and a severe process of self-criticism. InDragon Dreaming, mastery comes through new acquired skills that enable us to achieve transformative results. With this, we acquire wisdom and discernment and all this is encompassed by the archetype of the celebration.

Malcolm Gladwell was one of those responsible for spreading the myth that it takes 10,000 hours to master any subject and was certainly criticized for that. Daniel Goleman said that this statement is a "half truth". K. Anders Ericsson, the author of the research on which Gladwell was based, spoke out against overusing the 10,000-hour idea. Steven Kotler says that a person who is in a state of flow can cut this time in half. And Csikzentmihalyi, the author of the concept of the state of flow, says that the masters are always in a state of flow when putting their skills into practice.

The Aha's

Aha's are epiphanies, momentseureka, conclusions never thought. Aha's are an awareness of things that we didn't know that we didn't know. It comes directly from the top step of Noel Burch's ladder of competence.

The aha's inhabit the peak zone of the personal flow of each one of us. Every time we connect with our rhythm we can maximize the connections made by our unconscious and this is what generates a fertile field for ideas to flourish.

Below you will find the introduction to Aha's extracted from technical sheet #25 “Maximizing Creativity: research on happiness, play and creativity”, by John Croft.

"Edgar Mitchell, an Apollo 14 astronaut who went down to the Moon, had an 'A-ha!' for which nothing in his life had prepared him.

As he approached the planet we know as home, he was filled with an inner conviction as certain as any mathematical equation he had ever solved.

He knew that the beautiful blue world he was returning to is part of a living, harmonious and complete system - in which we all participate, as he later expressed himself, a "Universe of consciousness".

This he describes as the 'A-ha!' or “Big Picture Effect”, which happened when he first saw the Moon, Earth and Sun together.

The 'A-ha!', He suggests, is when we see something that we take for granted and certain in a completely new way, or when we discover something that we didn't know we didn't know.

That is, when we spontaneously cross the zone of unconsciousness of our abilities.

Like everything in Dragon Dreaming is Fractal, the 'A-ha!' goes through four stages:

1. The 'A-ha!' it appears suddenly, not necessarily directly connected with what happened before.

2. It is the solution to a problem that did not seem to exist or to represent difficulties, giving an insight into something that was previously immune or not understood.

3. There is an expression of great joy and satisfaction for the epiphany or insight that has occurred.

4. There is the vision expressed by the person who experiences the 'A-ha!' that the facts prove to be totally true.

Research shows that when you discover something that you “didn't know you didn't know”, there is often a feeling that this knowledge is correct and exact moments before you make the discovery. When creating Dragon Dreaming projects we must always seek to maximize the 'A-ha moments!'

Such liberation of creativity must always focus on a problem first and then let it go.

When do 'A-ha!' Moments occur?

People have different points of view, and they vary as follows:

• Unexpected interruptions.

• Night thoughts.

• After meditation.

• Taking notes.

• Listening to music.

• At worship meetings.

• Going for walks.

• In shamanic rituals.

• In the relationship with entheogenic psychotropics (nT: enteogenesis “inner manifestation of the divine” referring to altered states of consciousness or ecstasy), such as cannabis.

• Riding a bike

• Moving the realm of imagination.

• Maintaining the belief of being worthy.

• Walk.

• In the evening.

These moments need a certain amount of time to happen - they cannot be accelerated, which is why in Dragon Dreaming I often say that 'you cannot rush the
bloom of a rose '. I encourage people to explore their own processes for cultivating 'Aha!', And giving themselves an opportunity to try others. ”


Crof, John. (2013) #25 - Maximizing Creativity.

Dragon Dreaming: An Introduction to How to Make Your Dreams Come True Through Love in Action (2014)

Hall, L. and Bodenhamer, B. (2009).The user's manual for the brain.