Incompetence feels uncomfortable


The model above is referred to as the “Competence Model”.

I wrote a long personal story about my father trying to teach me how to drive to illustrate this in depth. You can find it at: “Zen and teaching your son to drive“.

Today some thoughts on how it feels to be at stage two of the model, to be “consciously incompetent”, as Seth wrote about this week in “On feeling incompetent” on his site.

Incompetence feels uncomfortable

In my story post linked to above about my father teaching me to drive, I explain the competence model.

When we realise we are not competent in a new skill it does feel uncomfortable.

I’ve written about that feeling often, including: “Loss of control and growth” in which I linked to several other articles around, as I wrote in that article, the  “theme of stretching, pushing to the edge, being comfortable being uncomfortable”.

In Seth’s recent blog “On feeling incompetent” , he wrote along similar lines:

At some point, grown ups get tired of the feeling that accompanies growth and learning.

We start calling that feeling, “incompetence.”

We’re not good at the new software, we resist a brainstorming session for a new way to solve a problem, we never did bother to learn to juggle…Not because we don’t want the outcomes, but because the journey promises to be difficult. Difficult in the sense that we’ll feel incompetent.

Which accompanies all growth.

First we realize something can be done. Then we realize we can’t do it. And finally, we get better at it.

It’s the second step that messes with us.

If you care enough to make a difference, if you care enough to get better–you should care enough to experience incompetence again.

I’m passionate about always growing, so the trick is to be ‘comfortable being uncomfortable” to recognise that that feeling of incompetence means we ARE growing, to stay with it.







Also published on Medium.

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