How To Become Unconsciously Competent


  • Author Rishan Bo
  • Published November 25, 2010
  • Word count 539

We all start at the bottom in learning things. And when you’re learning information, you get to conscious competence. That’s when you know the information but you have to consciously apply that information. You have to think about applying it.

The only way you can get to unconscious competence is by using one of two methods.

Number one is by doing it over and over and over at the conscious competence level. The example is tying your shoelace. How did you get to the unconscious competence level when it comes to tying your shoelace? The answer is by doing it over and over and over again at the conscious competence level. You do it over and over again, and all of a sudden, you become unconsciously competent.

So what’s the mechanism in which to get to unconscious competence? When you do something over and over again, you are actually creating neural pathways in the brain. These are biological connections between dendrites that connect and actually grow in size. They are energy channels where information and energy is transmitted through the brain. They are actually patterns that develop in the brain. So to get to unconscious competence level, you do something over and over again, creating that neural pathway. Just like how you tie your shoelace right now. You did it over and over again until you no longer consciously apply the information that you’ve learned, when you first tied your shoelace.

There is a second method, which is really interesting. It’s by observing someone else do it. That’s one of the advantages of having a mentor and being an apprentice. You get to observe someone else. This is the reason why associating with people who have what you want is a good idea.

You know like monkey see, monkey do? That’s what I’m talking about. If you’re learning from somebody doing it wrong, you’re gonna do it wrong yourself. That’s why if you want to be a great chef, you’re gonna have to be an apprentice of a spectacular chef so that you have a good chance to be a spectacular chef yourself. If you wanna be a spectacular musician, and you’re an apprentice of a spectacular musician, then that’s your advantage. You have a big chance of becoming a spectacular musician yourself.

You see, when you associate with people who are adept at certain professions, you get to see what they do, see how they act, and you turn around and get that as well. Being able to witness them, watch them, observe them, does create neural pathways in the brain as well. But I would strongly suggest that, as long as you don’t observe these people on a regular basis, your level of proficiency is not going to be as good. You actually may become unconsciously competent in doing it wrong. So learning this information from those who have achieved and use it professionally and perfectly, and to a very high level, is something that you have to do. So, by observing those people who are doing it, modeling and mimicking after them is the way to get to unconscious competence level.

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