As long as you’re green, you’re growing;
as soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.
—RAY KROC, founder of McDonald’s

Learning is a never-ending cyclical process of discovery. We uncover possibilities within ourselves, transform them into reality, and discover new possibilities again. Following are the four levels of the cycle, listed from lowest to highest.

Level 4: You don’t know you don’t know.
This is the lowest level in the Cycle of Discovery. You are unaware of anything but what you believe to be true. You can’t yet see possibilities. For you, possibility does not exist.

Level 3: You know you don’t know.
This level can be the stimulus to self-motivation or a mind-set for defeat. It depends on how you decide to think. Are you embarrassed and defensive when you discover your lack of knowledge, or are you intrigued and excited?

I inherited a family with my second marriage, and the opportunity of watching a child grow in his first opportunity of watching a child grow in his first three years of life. David’s curiosity is astonishing. There is no judgment. He dives in, fearless of the consequences of his investigations.

As a clinical hypnotist, my specialty is age regression, a process that places the subject in a deep hypnotic state, taking him or her back to that special time of nonjudgmental, fearless curiosity.

In demonstrations of age regression, people re-create childhood handwriting, draw childish pictures, and relive details of their lives with uncanny exactness. Some people speak languages they haven’t uttered in years and have long since forgotten. These demonstrations show that the ‘‘child’’ still exists within us, along with our ability to be childlike. The ‘‘child within’’ may have been injured, scarred, or suppressed en route to adulthood, but it’s still there.

It is natural to judge. Judgment is our way of making sense out of the information with which we are constantly bombarded. And that judgment comes out of the way we view reality, our paradigm of what we believe to be true. Making the choice to turn judgment into curiosity is the leap that moves us to the next level in the Cycle of Discovery.

Be humble, for the worst thing in the world is of the same stuff as you;
be confident, for the stars are of the same stuff as you.

Level 2: You know you know.
The danger in this level is trying too hard instead of letting go and trusting. You can assume a veneer of arrogance and pretense, like an actor who has memorized his or her lines but is still not believable because there is effort in his or her performance.

I have met many people who become instant preachers after some intensive workshop of self-exploration. They expound with their newly acquired vocabulary and wallow in their newly

discovered truths. They feel they have found the answer and they want to share it with everyone. There is nothing wrong with their enthusiasm, but what they have not yet discovered is that they are like the actor who hasn’t fully stepped into his or her role.

Level 1: You don’t know you know.
Through practice, an actor becomes his or her character. The actor doesn’t know he or she knows the lines, because he or she has become the character. After a child learns to walk, the child never needs to think about the process. And when you are living your vision, you become your vision. How would you know if you have become?

Success, however, can often be the kiss of death because it breeds complacency. Comfort can lead to stagnation. Then, suddenly, what had appeared as success becomes boring. Passion gives way to emptiness, and life seems to be without purpose. Avoid that at all costs! Keep the Cycle of Discovery in motion. Your creativity and passion will explode! IMAGINE THAT!

IMAGINE THAT! Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance is the first web-supported book with access to 21 video-coaching clips. Please go to the home page , read the description and you will find the direct link to Amazon.

“I just wanted to take a moment and tell you that I have finished reading the most brilliant book. From the time I received it in the mail until a few moments ago in reading the last words - "IMAGINE THAT!" is genius!” – Shard Drury, THE 360 Career Coach

Author's Bio: 

An extraordinary keynote speaker for the uncertainty of 2017, James Mapes defies categorization. When philanthropist/Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen quizzed Mapes as to how one person could do so much during his life, James’ answer was simple: “Because no one told me I couldn’t.”

A true Renaissance man, James is considered the world’s foremost authority on applied imagination, having studied human behavior for more than 30 years. Since childhood, James wanted to make the impossible into the possible. This has led to a life-long fascination with the subconscious and the power of the imagination.

Speaker, coach, best-selling author, clinical hypnotist and award-winning performer, Mapes is recognized for his ability to inspire, motivate, educate and guide others to develop and enhance the unlimited potential of their creative imagination and incalculable powers of the mind. His programs address creativity, motivation, leadership, change, wellness and peak performance.

As creator of Quantum Leap Thinking™ and the Transformational Coach™, James Mapes is one of the most sought-after international speakers in the corporate industry today. He has worked with hundreds of public and private companies in more than 70 countries.