Stages of competence

 17th Dec 2019 |  Owlo knows |  headbaker


When searching for change our lives it can sometimes be useful to recognise where we might be in terms of our awareness and conscious control.

Can't sing for toffee

Imagine a scenario where someone tells you that you can't sing. You might be a bit surprised by this as you thought you were good at singing.

With a bit of time and feedback you may realise that aren't actually that great at singing and that you either need to come to terms with it or do something about it.

Let's say you decide to do something about it and you practice, or get singing lessons and you learn how to be good at singing to the point where you can sing well when you make an effort.

After time, when you've put in hours of practice you might get so good that you can sing confidently without even thinking about it - at this point you are unconsciously good at singing.

Four stages of competence

The example above represents the four stages of competence:

  • Bad but you don't know it - unconscious incompetence
  • Bad but you know why - conscious incompetence
  • Good and you know why - conscious competence
  • Good without thinking about it - unconscious competence

This can be applied to anything we do, include the way we act or think!

The flipping point

Most people have a sense of the fact that they're not good at something - what they do at this point is the crux of the matter.

Many people repress or forget or pretend this isn't the case and so they continue to make the same mistake, often at great expense to themselves or others.

They may be completely aware of the fact that something is wrong in their life, but may be falsely attributing it to something that isn't even connected - or even blame their issues on someone else.

As a result many incompetencies in people's lives continue to exist and perpetuate much longer than they could.

The flipping point is the point at which the person accepts that they have something they want to solve but they don't know how and they commit themselves to learning how to correctly analyse and monitor themselves and what actions to take accordingly.

By then 'doing the work' they can move into conscious competence and ultimately into unconscious competence.

If you find you're stuck with one or more bad habits, this structure could help you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence

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