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Ok – this post isn’t going to win any awards for revolutionary thinking. You’re not suddenly going to have a light-bulb moment when you realise this is the one thing nobody ever told you. The problem is, as with many things in life, that you already know it. You just don’t actually do anything about it.

There’s a business model based around learning which details four stages of ‘competence’. One of the four stages is ‘unconscious competence’. Basically speaking, you’re so damn good at something, you don’t even have to think about it. You just do it, and do it well. The flip side to that is ‘conscious competence’. You’re still damn good at it, but you have to try. It doesn’t come naturally.

Either one of those stages is a great place to be. Naturally talented or gifted athletes have the former; the rest of us that achieve anything halfway decent have the latter.

So where do the vast majority of people slot in to this model? I warn you, it’s not pleasant reading and I suspect many people reading this will wince as they recognise themselves…

We’ve got to the unconscious incompetence level. This sums up a lot of people – you’re well-intentioned, maybe you’ve gone out and bought all the new gym kit, joined a spanking new health club and signed up to a 10k for a couple of months time. But you’re just not getting anywhere, because you don’t have the first clue how to train properly. You’re doing stuff, but not the right stuff. You’re being incompetent, but you don’t realise it. That’s ok though – you are one of the curable people. There’s hope for you – you just need guidance from a decent PT (such as us at RWF perhaps?)

The people that are really going to struggle are the last bunch. Please tell me you’ve already recognised yourself in one of the last three categories. Because if not, this is going to sting a little…you’re consciously incompetent. Yep – you’re doing all the wrong stuff…and you KNOW you’re doing it. But guess what? You don’t care enough to do anything about it. Ever heard the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If this is you, if you’ve been plodding away at the same things to reach your goals…and never quite getting there…then I suspect you already know what you’re doing wrong. You’re deliberately being incompetent.

If anything in that last paragraph strikes a chord with you, change today, not tomorrow. Be any of the other three types of people, because all of them will eventually get results, and get to where they want to be. Stay consciously incompetent, however, and you’ll always be chasing a goal that gets further away from you…

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