Then somewhere along the line, things changed. You became conscious of your incompetence. In other words, you began to know all of which you don’t know. At this point bliss begins to dissipate, and dispiritedness rears its ugly head. You see, so long as you are unconscious of your incompetence, then you just don’t care. How can you? You don’t even know what it is that you don’t know! Your confidence far exceeds your abilities and you proceed along your merry way, down the trail of delightful unawareness, until finally that trail comes to an end and you eventually recognize all there is that you suck at, and all there is that you don’t know. This is when the game of existence transforms dramatically.
But you see, in order to truly gain knowledge and expertise in any subject matter, consciousness of your incompetence must be the first critical step you take. How can you possibly learn about something that you don’t even know that you don’t know about? I rest my case.
Once consciousness is gained, there are then two paths’ you can take. You can recognize your incompetence, accept it, and choose to remain incompetent, or you can work on becoming consciously competent. A prime example of this is in the realm of health and wellness. And this is exactly why personal trainers have a job. Because there is an enormous market of consciously incompetent people out there that need to be told how to exercise. These people know that they don’t know how to train themselves, accept their incompetence, and hire someone else (who is hopefully competent… eh, er, um….) to do the job for them.
The problem most people face when they accept that they are incompetent is a sudden drop in confidence and a sudden surge of intimidation. Realizing for the first time that there are so many others who are more competent than you, and that your abilities are limited, can be quite detrimental to one’s ego and self-esteem. If they so choose to let it be…
Instead, I encourage you all to seek out your incompetence’s, and rather than allowing your discoveries to put a fender bender in your precious ego, let them fuel the fires of your enthusiasm and amplify your desire to learn. Once you develop this mind set, the desire to continue to learn more and more may become somewhat of an addiction. I assure you this is one habit you will not want to break, and that will pay substantially in the long term.
As you obtain new skills, familiarity, and knowledge of a certain subject matter, you begin to shift from the dominion of conscious incompetence toward conscious competence. This is the stage when you are able to implement these new skills and abilities effectively into practice. You’re confidence will soar and you’re performance becomes increasingly efficient.
With enough practice, one may eventually enter the elusive kingdom of unconscious competence, which is when you don’t even know what it is that you know! Hmm. So what does that mean? Well, it denotes that your skills are now habits and that you are able to perform certain tasks without conscious effort. Take for example a lifelong martial artist, who has spent years and years refining his self-defense techniques. Now let’s say one day he is confronted by a mugger with malicious intent. The mugger sneaks up behind this seemingly innocent kung fu master and puts a gun to his back, but before he is able to pull the hammer, the mugger finds himself disarmed with the weapon now turned on him. The martial artist has spent so much time refining his skills that he needed not even stop to think about the actions he needed to take in order to disarm the mugger, but rather they were simply second nature to him. This is an example of unconscious competence.
Recognizing these “ladders” of consciousness and competence will aid you in your own learning experience, as well as lending to your ability to teach others. Below is the ladder, or sometimes referred to as the matrix, of conscious competence. Until next time, practice your squatting and swinging competence with the workout below.
Unconsciously Competent (You don’t even know what you know)
Consciously Competent (You know what you know)
Consciously Incompetent (you know what you don’t know)
Unconsciously Incompetent (You Don’t even know what you don’t know)
Pick a heavy weight for strength endurance or hypertrophy effort and don’t even think about resting until you are done with the entire sequence or unless you think that you are going to pass out or poo yourself. Because passing out or pooing yourself is no way to demonstrate squatting competence.
5 front squat
5 two hand swings
4 front squat
3 front squats
2 front squats
1 front squat