Knowing what you want, why you want, and taking massive action steps are the three fundamental steps in achieving goals. But sometimes, results don’t come even after doing these three steps. We all have the intention to succeed. We know what we want, why we want, and take action -whether it be our relationships, work, health, goals, or anything else. Why do we fail then? Where is the gap? What’s the missing step? The missing step that is needed to get the desired outcome is competence and skill in actions. Action steps are important in achieving goals, but if that action step is performed in an unskilled manner, it does not yield the desired outcome.
One of the most important elements of achieving success is skill. Intention on its own is not enough. It must be back with skilled action. On the path of achieving success, taking just action is not enough. Action must be infused with skill and competence. It is one thing to have the intention to do something right, and it is quite another thing to have the skill to do the right thing. This gap between intention and skill is why many of us don’t achieve our goals. We want to achieve our goals, be fit and healthy, build great relationships, and succeed in life but without appropriate skills, these desired outcomes cannot be achieved.
Most successful people in life, whom we call gifted, are disciplined and dedicated. They work hard and become masters in their fields through their effort. We might be tempted to think these successful people are lucky or born with talent or have some invisible support. But truth is their attitude of discipline, and hard work is what took them to the pinnacle of success. Their skill and mastery gave them incredible success in life.
Good news is skills can be learned, and it’s in our hands to build mastery. Building mastery in any field needs discipline, mindfulness, and patience. It is not done overnight or in a few days. It takes time and effort, and it’s a process. It’s worth investing the time and energy to build a skill because the returns are going to be massive. How to build the skill and competence?
Building competence has four stages. Let’s take the example of Rahul, who wants to become a successful guitarist and understand the different stages of competence.
4 stages of competence:
1. Stage 1 – Unconscious Incompetence: In this stage, the person does not know that he does not know. Rahul does not know that he is incompetent in playing guitar. He does not even feel the need to learn guitar because he does not recognize his incompetence, and he thinks he knows it all and has enough knowledge. He thinks because he loves guitar and has a strong intention to become a guitarist, he can easily become one, and it will not take him much time to become a successful guitarist. Only when Rahul recognizes his incompetence and the need to learn the skill will he move to the next stage.
2. Stage 2 – Conscious Incompetence: In this stage, the person knows that he does not know. Rahul understands that he lacks the skill and expertise in playing guitar and realizes the value of learning it. He also realizes that it takes a lot of time and effort to build the skill and become an expert guitarist. Most aspirants give up at this stage after this realization and think it’s not their cup of tea, or they procrastinate. Only a few people, who are willing to put the hard work and learn, move to the next stage.
3. Stage 3- Conscious Competence: In this stage, the person knows that he knows. Rahul gains some learning in playing guitar, and he can play the guitar, but it takes a lot of time and effort to play. It feels challenging to play guitar, and there is anxiety and uncertainty. It feels imperfect, taxing, and full of effort. Questions like – “can I ever play guitar properly?” might surface, and there are chances of feeling demotivated. Some people give up at this stage. Only someone with a strong mindset and who spends enough time with patience and discipline in this stage can move to the next stage.
4. Stage 4 – Unconscious Competence: In this stage, the person does not know that he knows. This is the stage of mastery. Rahul plays guitar effortlessly and like a pro. People think he is gifted and talented. Playing guitar becomes his second nature, and he becomes an inspiration to others. He becomes super successful because of the mastery he gained in playing guitar. He is called an expert guitarist.
These are the four stages of competence. All the great companies, super-achievers operate in the fourth stage of competence, and it takes them years of hard work, discipline, effort to reach stage 4. It does not happen by some stroke of luck or magic.
Below 4 principles are required while travelling on the path of competence.
1. Consistent and mindful action – Consistent action is needed to gain mastery. Dabbling now and then will not give the expertise.
2. Aligning your skills with your intention –Your intention and skills you are trying to build should match. If you intend to become a super successful author, you should work on building your writing and marketing skills rather than on something else.
3. Working through various stages of competence with patience – Patience is important on this journey of competence.
4. A positive mindset – This helps you to stay motivated when challenges are faced on the journey. Some days, it feels as if nothing is gained even after putting efforts, and it feels tempting to give up. A positive mindset will help you sail through such inner storms.
This is how masters are made. We all have in it us to become a master in our area of interest and great levels of achieving success. Nothing in the world can stop us from achieving success when we build our competence. Building competence is in your own hands.
Build your competence and build your success.