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Deejo’s sticky at the top of The Men’s Clubhouse lists different ways of “being” in our marriage. For men that come here it may well be the first time they hear about Boundaries for Men, No More Mr Nice Guy, Fitness Tests, Relationship Temperature etc. etc. For many men these will be new life skills they learn to improve themselves as men and hopefully improve their relationship with their wives.

Learning and adopting a new life skill follows a well known model sometimes called “The Four Stages of Competence” outlined below.

Unconscious Incompetence
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognise their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage.[2] The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.[3]

Conscious Incompetence
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.[4]

Conscious Competence
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.[3]

Unconscious Competence
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

Many when they arrive at The Men’s Clubhouse are an “Unconscious Incompetent” in one or more of the life skills. And while you are learning them it may help to keep the above model in mind. Think back to when you first started learning to drive a car. Every thing you did from starting the engine, pulling away, travelling and stopping you had to be really conscious of. At that time you were a “Conscious Incompetent”. Then after a few hours learning you started to become a “Conscious Competent”. Now just how much do you do “consciously” when driving your car? Yes you are at the Conscious Competent stage.

Now when you drive your attention, your consciousness will be on the road signs, the traffic, what other drivers are doing etc. Very little of your attention will be on actually driving the car. Want to slow down? You’ll just slow the car down without even thinking about how you are slowing the car down.

Life skills are like that. Take personal boundaries as an example. Some come here and haven’t a clue just how poor their boundaries are, in fact they don’t even know of their existence and are at the Unconscious Incompetent stage. But when they start practicing their boundaries they’ll find in six to 12 months or so they’ll be at the Unconscious Competent stage and just like driving a car they will assert them without even thinking about it.
Four stages of competence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Conscious and Competence
The Four Stages of Learning
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