Conscious Competence. The Reason Everyone Should Be Bloggers.


A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand

I’ve noticed a trend lately where people are complaining on social media about what they call “So-called Specialists”. The implication being, that the person has just read a piece of online content that is somehow not up to scratch in their opinion, that the author of this content has no right to be publishing such material, or that have breached some kind of code that says only Elite level practitioners are allowed to produce any content, on any subject, ever.

Well I call, BullShit!

The four levels of competence

I read somewhere once that we fit into one of four competence levels when engaging in any passion, interest or enterprise. It is our responsibility to know where we are on this scale in any of our life endeavours and seek out those that can elevate us to the next. The problem is, that most people gravitate towards others at their level, in order to avoid discomfort and so inhibit their ability to move to the next stage at the pace they’re capable of.

  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence

1. Unconscious Incompetence

The stage where you’re trying something new. You’re so new, you don’t even know what you don’t know yet. The ooh look, there’s something shiny stage. This is quite often where passion develops and is seen through rose coloured glasses.

2. Conscious Incompetence

You’re starting to invest some time and effort into your new hobby, passion or career and quickly find that you’ve entered a very steep learning curve.

3. Conscious Competence

You’ve been engaged in your field of endeavour for some time and are building skills that have value. You may already be receiving payment for your efforts in this area. You can recall knowledge at will and use it where necessary to better your life and that of others. You’ve worked hard and enjoy the rewards that come with it.

4. Unconscious Competence

You are a recognised expert in your field. People seek you out for your counsel. You see solutions to problems that haven’t even been asked yet. You’ve forgotten how much you know but always have the right answer when someone asks a question in your field of knowledge. Your new reward is to share your knowledge with peers and other industry practitioners to serve a higher purpose.

No matter where you are in this scale, you should write about your passions. You never know who might find value in your contribution.

A scale of 1 to 10

Looking at it another way. On a knowledge scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is utter confusion and 10 is Super Specialist Savant, it would be easy for someone who is an 8 in a particular topic to judge a piece of content written by a 5 as a piece of trash. But what if a person with a level 3 knowledge found 2 books on the same subject.

One written by Mr 8 and the other written by Mr 5. Despite the greater knowledge of Mr 8, it’s incredibly likely that Mr 3 will relate more to the information written by Mr 5 and that knowledge is more likely to be enacted upon and in this case, therefore has more value. Even if the information is wrong, Mr 3 will have dragged himself up to a higher level of understanding by way of experience.

Hopefully Mr 3 isn’t your brain surgeon.

8 thoughts on “Conscious Competence. The Reason Everyone Should Be Bloggers.

  1. Di

    Fabulous post…using the 3 levels of competence makes so much sense and your final paragraph says it all. I too believe that we can learn from those a bit above us in the knowledge level.They are more likely to present it in a way that a novice can understand

    I know many people who are brilliant in their field yet can’t convey that information to newbies. When we climb a little higher…we see more of the view. Just as the 4 levels of competence says!

    Just my thoughts Cheers Di

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    1. rodneybukuya Post author

      Thanks Di

      being around brilliant people is great and you can sense their awesomeness, it’s just a shame if you don’t know how to tap into it.

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  2. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    Someone writing from passion gets me interested way more than text book talk. Great post.

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  3. Amanda Foy

    What a wonderful argument you put there Rod. Are you going to knock some egos down a peg and in the same sentence elevate a whole heap of worthy passionistas in the process. 🙂

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    1. rodneybukuya Post author

      thanks Amanda, I don’t mean to knock anyone down a peg, I just know there’s a shitload of knowledge and experience that will end up in a grave one day that shouldn’t be lost.

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  4. Jenni Parry

    I wrote a comment/essay in a group the other week as a reminder that everyones level of success is only relevant to where they are. My 10 in a particular moment is very different to Richard Branson’s 10, yet in each world they are very valid 10’s. It was a reminder to everyone to celebrate the success within its relative environment and see it truly for what it was for them.
    Maybe Mr 3 is a Brain surgeon student working his way up the knowledge tree, There is always room for growth and applying the knowledge we have so it become wisdom. Great post Rodney, You Rock

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