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The Process of Mastery


This tutorial is about the process behind the classic transition from Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence.


Legend: The vertical axis of the graph represents control (top) andabsence of control (bottom). The horizontal axis represents time.

Stage 1a: Unconscious Incompetence — we think we’re in control… until something happens to make us realise the truth about our delusions

Stage 1b: Unconscious Incompetence — this is where we really were, all along. Ignorant of our own ignorance and incompetence. (This is the default state of most teenagers, by the way, if you haven’t realised it by now.)

Stage 2: CONSCIOUS Incompetence — we step off (or are pushed off) the mirage cliff of ignorance/delusion (1a) which is typically terrifying. The only reason that fall doesn’t kill or harm us is that we were never in control in the first place… we were always at the base of the graph.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence — where, now that the instructor has our attention, we begin to learn, sometimes three steps forward/upward and two steps back. With time, practice and confidence — and lots of encouragement and reinforcement…

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence… Mastery! — We finally master the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to qualify. (Have you realised yet that this is the standard process for ALL learning in life?)

©1991-2019 John Counsel. All rights reserved.

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