How to Become Competent

19 April 2014

DO YOU OFTEN FEEL that before attempting something new you need to somehow know how to do it? That it’s essential to get it right first time, and that making a mistake just isn’t an option? But how can that be possible, I wonder...  How can a person be certain they can do something before they even try?

Competence:

Having the skills or knowledge to do something well.

Anybody who ever learnt something new did so by following these four steps:

Step – 1
Unconscious incompetence

Take a moment to remember when you were a young child...

There was a time before the time you could ride a bike. A time when it didn’t even occur to you that you couldn’t ride one. You were blissfully unaware of the fact and it simply didn’t matter. You were ‘unconsciously incompetent’ as far as bicycles were concerned.

Step – 2
Conscious incompetence

One day you notice your best friend riding a bike, and you think, “Hey, that looks like fun! Wish I could do that.”

Do you remember how you tried in vain to stay balanced on that thing? How very difficult it seemed. You’re now ‘consciously’ aware of just how ‘incompetent’ you are at bike riding.

Step – 3
Conscious competence

But you persevere. You stick at it, and a few grazed knees later you find yourself riding (tentatively!) down the street with your friend. You’re now ‘competent’ although still very ‘conscious’ of what you’re doing. It still takes all your concentration to keep it together and avoid ending up in a big wobbly heap on the pavement.

Step – 4
Unconscious competence

Several months later...

A couple of mates call round. “Come on, let’s ride into town!” You hop on your bike, point it in the right direction, and hey-presto! It just seems to happen all by itself. You’re now oblivious to all that clever balancing and co-ordination that once demanded your full attention. You’re now ‘unconsciously competent’ at riding your bike.


Cartoon of a young boy confidently riding his bike

So remember...

A confident successful person fully understands and accepts that they have to follow these four steps from novice to expert with every new venture they undertake:

  1. Unconscious incompetence.

  2. Conscious incompetence.

  3. Conscious competence.

  4. Unconscious competence.

Next step

So the next step in building that rock solid determination that separates the winners from the quitters, and to encourage sticking with a plan until it succeeds, might be listening to this Develop Perseverance self hypnosis download.

Truly confident people aren’t the ones who know for sure they’ll succeed; they’re the ones who know they can handle failure if it happens. So start giving yourself permission to not get everything right first time, and allow yourself to more comfortably tolerate outcomes that weren’t the ones intended – i.e. failures!

It makes life so much more enjoyable


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Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

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