Are you unconscious or conscious competent?

Have you ever ask yourself this question of how you develop competence? Are you more competent since your stroke? These are interesting questions. We often are aware of what we are doing. We are being very careful and aware of what we are doing when we are writing a note to a friend. When we are taking the reading of our blood pressure. When we are learning a new stretch for the first time. All these activities require your attention and your consciousness to act competently.

When you are becoming competent in some new action, you go through is a fascinating process. You experience the four phases of developing competence. First, the stage is called the unconscious incompetent.  You are unconscious of how incompetent you are. There is a skill that you are lacking and you don’t even realize it. You are unaware of fact that you are taking an excessive amount of energy walking and you are unconscious of this event. 

The next stage is called conscious incompetence. This is the phase where you know now that you need a new skill and you don’t know how to do it. Now you are aware of fact that you are taking an inordinate amount of energy walking with an unbalanced gait and you do not know how to correct it.

The third stage is called conscious competence. This is the phase where you are consciously aware of a new skill and you are beginning to learn it. You need to tap the skill over and over and grow from a novice to a capable person who uses the skill. You now know that you need to put your energy into correcting your gait. It is hard at first and requires a great deal of energy and attention. It may take weeks or months of concerted effort until you see the progress toward a more “normal” gait.

The final stage is called unconscious competence. In this phase, you have mastered the skill and drove it into your unconscious psyche. You don’t think about it. You don’t have to practice the skill anymore. You are capable and you do the skill without thinking about it. You now know how to walk with a more “normal” gait and it requires less energy than you needed to walk before the four-phase process started.

What are the biggest pain points that you can unleash this process? Maybe you can apply it to the minor effects from your stroke you want to change. It all starts with baby steps and grows when you make the four stages routine. Go for it!


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