What You Don’t Know
This work on yourself is very much like learning to drive. You must learn the basics, because without the basics you think you can ‘drive’, but you can’t. When we start learning something – we think we will be able to do it very easily, and then we start doing it and we find out that we’re not as smart as we thought we were.
Why you think you know, but you don’t know
This stage is called unconscious incompetence, it’s where somebody does not understand or know how to do something and doesn’t necessarily recognize that they don’t know. I compare this to learning to drive. Before you learn to drive you see others driving on the road and it looks easy you just move the steering wheel and press a few levers and ‘Hey presto!’ driving is a simple magic.
Then you take your first driving lesson, and we all know how that goes! We must learn where all the levers are, what they do, which bits to touch and which bits to leave alone, not so easy is it? it’s a whole confusing mess.
Stay Asleep to your Ignorance
If you give up now you will never learn, you will stay in the unconscious incompetence but with the knowing that you cannot drive. Either that, or you have moved into the next stage which is conscious incompetence – because you know but you can’t drive and it’s not at all easy. This is not a good place to be because it is demoralizing and diminishing, so either you stay here feeling powerless or you continue to the next phase. This is where you realize that you cannot remain as you were but that the task ahead is daunting. Don’t stop here.
Conscious incompetence is the next level in learning a skill or doing this work, because you might not understand or know how to achieve the objective but you recognize that you don’t know and you recognize the value of learning the skills to enable you to realize your aspirations. You now realize that it isn’t an easy one second skill you’re learning, but a lifelong practice that’s worth the effort to achieve. You understand that that you will have to work on it. At this stage practice becomes increasingly important because only through practice will you be able to achieve the skills you need to be able to navigate life, as you would when driving a car around the streets.
Why Practice Matters
As you take time to practice and you learn the skills and techniques. Through this you can expand your understanding in the need for the work to achieve growth. Just as with driving, when we take a test and pass it, we are usually at our peak in observing our driving and paying attention to everything around us. We are now consciously competent to drive. Our actions can be broken down into steps for observation and all factual details are important to observe for any hints that might help our understanding. This work is very much the same as learning to drive. You need to be conscious of your practice and develop your competence before it can become almost habitual.
Success and Fulfillment is Freedom
You will eventually become unconscious to the effort required to do this practice as you enter the unconscious competence phase. This is when you have had so much practice learning the skill that it becomes second nature to you, and you use it without even thinking about it. This new self-aware behavior is your true nature and is now able to come to the fore as you become your true self, free of the fear and limitations that held you back and the self-sabotage habits that you learned before that prevented you from being your authentic self.
The aim of this work is to develop the skill of your ‘will to life’, to transform yourself into your own unique expression of life, free from the baggage that the past has put onto you.
Much like a confident driver is free to jump into a car and drive anywhere they please.
The Hierarchy of Competence
The four stages are:
1. Unconscious incompetence
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
2. Conscious incompetence
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, they recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
3. Conscious competence
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
4. Unconscious competence
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.