They Make it Look So Easy!
How is it that some people just seem to make what they do look so easy? Is it natural-born talent? Is it luck, or some other intangible that you can’t seem to put your finger on? Actually it’s none of the above. Yes, having a natural inclination towards some skill plays a big part, but it is not why some can make what they do look easy. It looks easy to them because it is.
The 4 Stages to Learning
There are 4 stages to learning anything that everyone must go through, regardless. From acrobatics to working out, everyone starts with zero skill. Period. There are no known exceptions to this. We come into the world being able to breathe, sleep, eat and eliminate that which we have consumed. That’s it. Everything else must be learned. And there are 4 stages to learning that, once you understand them, will enable you to tackle any desire you have. Let’s look at a very brief overview.
1. Unconscious Incompetence
We all start here: you don’t know what you don’t know. You are completely unaware of something which, once learned, will allow you to do that thing you want so badly.
2. Conscious Incompetence
Now you have been shown something (a skill perhaps) but you still don’t know how to do it. But, you are aware of it. You are now conscious of the fact that in order to do “XYZ”, you’ll need to learn “ABC” first. Make sense?
3. Conscious Competence
Now you have learned “ABC” and can do it, but you have to really think about what you’re doing in order to do it.
4. Unconscious Competence
At this stage you have practiced “ABC” so many times that you no longer need to think about it in order to do it. It’s on autopilot. You know it like you know your name.
Any human on this earth who excels at something has gone through these four stages whether they are aware of the fact or not. But knowing these stages allows you to tackle any goal or objective with more confidence and certainty, because you are aware of the stages you must go through to excel. Knowing this from the get-go will save you stress and time!
Stressing because you still can’t play a barre chord on the guitar, something you just learned last week, will no longer be a thing, because you know that with practice, you’ll be able to do it easily at some point. And, because you’ve found something you really love to do, a very crucial step, you’ll not be at want for motivation.
Know What You Want
It’s not possible to dive into the topic of determining what you want in enough detail without turning this into a book. So, for now, I’ll just say this: if you want to be truly happy in this lifetime, do those things that bring you joy! That’s it. And if you’re not doing those things that make you happy, you should be diligently working towards the attainment of them.
In regards to the four stages listed above, know that whatever you set out to do, there will be a learning curve until you’ve reached the Unconscious Competence level. Consistent practice, perfect practice, will get you there over time. Nothing happens automatically. And once you’ve mastered something you really like doing, that is when true mastery begins: Mastery is not a destination but a continual journey of exploring the basics of what it is you do.
I am currently on that path of mastery when it comes to playing the guitar and integrating the basics of personal development (which have brought me to this point in my life). Some people have said, to my face, that I am a really good guitar player. From their perspective I have “mastered” the instrument. I feel like I’ve just begun to master the instrument.
So, when I sit down with a cup of coffee and my guitar each morning, I am starting fresh that day, working on basics and also writing music/songs. I never once think, “Oh, skip it, I’m good enough and don’t have to practice.” I play because it brings me joy and happiness and I know that there is still so much to learn about the instrument! I don’t know what I don’t know!
Go find your joy and happiness, study the 4 steps to learning above and soon you will experience a level of satisfaction and confidence that will carry over into every endeavor you choose to take on.