The Competence Curve – From Don’t Know You Don’t Know to Mastery


If you’ve ever tried to master a new skill, I’m sure you’ve come across The Competence Curve.

It’s that journey from when you don’t know what you don’t know to finally mastering the thing – a lot like learning to drive a car.

There’s often excitement, frustration, disappointment and perseverance required to see it through.

There are four stages in the Competence Curve.

The first stage is when you’re Unconsciously Incompetent.

That’s when you’re blissfully ignorant and don’t know what you don’t know. You think things will be easy and within your grasp.

The second stage is when you know you don’t know and it’s the Consciously Incompetent, phase.

Here’s where you need all your resilience because you’re likely to feel uncomfortable and frustrated.  You’ll either seek more help or give up.

If you reach the third stage you’ll be Consciously Competent, meaning you know you know stuff and are probably much better than you realise.

Things become much easier, you’re less stressed and frustrated, but you still need to practice and refine a few things.

Finally, you become Unconsciously Competent.  That’s the final stage when you’ve mastered the skill and can do things automatically and easily.

You’re on your way!

The only way you can fail is to give up, BUT if you don’t and get through the Competence Curv , you’ll be able to pass on your skills to others.

Then you’ll have true Mastery and the journey will have been worth it.