Develop Specialized Competences: Set Clear and Higher Level of Expectations for Yourself

When we start to learn and to develop new knowledge and skills, to set high, challenging but realistic expectations of performance is motivating to direct our focus, behaviors and habits toward the direction of your goals in order to experience optimal flow experiences during the learning and skills mastering process.

This attitude will consequently provide higher levels of fulfillment that results in true commitment, enjoyment, mindful behavior and performance enhancement during the work/activity that a person is executing overcoming more easily the cognitive obstacles during every phase of learning and improvement.

In fact learning is a process that involve ourselves to change, evolve and to cope different emotions (conscious and unconscious) during every phase (conscious or unconscious) of acquisition of new knowledge and/or a new competence/skills.

For example it could be happen that at the beginning, a person is not enough involved or interested in the area of competence that he/she needs to learn (in order to become an imaginative vision of himself/herself in the future. This happens overall during the adolescence when the person is looking for the “right” university and future) or the same or another person could discover that the amount of knowledge and skills to master are too much (according to his/her metaprograms and beliefs) to feel powerless or discouraged since the beginning of the process rather than to be enthusiast to learn something new, to “absorb” new knowledge and master new skills and to proceed developing a constructive behavior in order to become even more expert in a determined area of competence.

Simplifing, it is possible to define the negative and fearful approach a typical scenario of a fixed mindset and the constructive and enthusiastic one representative of a growth mindset.

Learning requires an active processing and integration of the acquired knowledge in order to become part of the lived of a person generating states of flow given by strong sense of commitment, concentration and control on the learning tasks such as that the individual becomes so immersed in an activity until almost to lose any sense of time or self-consciousness, because totally involved also in the daily life in the process of learning.

The Learning Journey

Along the journey of learning toward a superior skills management and performance we have to forget impatience and to develop and active listening in order to absorb even more knowledge and the intuitive messages of our unconscious about where to direct your focus in a determined period of learning. 

This is the “mystic” fact about lifelong learning.

At the same time it is fundamental to remember that the development of genuine expertise requires strong purposes, a goal setting activity updated along the path, commitment/motivation, struggle, sacrifice, and a honest self-assessment. according to many leaders, executive and cognitive coaches it will take at least a decade to achieve expertise, there are no shortcuts. genuine experts not only improve deliberately but also think deliberately trough intrinsic unconscious emotions transformed in even more conscious creative process generated by the learning activity.

Experts are always Made, not Born: the Learning Process

Learning anything takes us through four awarenesses:

Unconscious Incompetence

We don’t know what we don’t know. Knowing in this phase is just un unconscious or a peripheral awareness about the existence of a field of competence that could emerge or not in our conscious as generic interest or as subject of future expertise.

Conscious Incompetence

By this stage, usually a person discover that the path of learning in order to master a field of competence, is still long and he/she will look for even more new contents and skills to learn (Cognitive Domain of Learning/ Boom’s Taxonomy Model).

During this stage we become aware of the fact that we are at the beginning of a long learning curve or that we have not enough knowledge in order to consider ourselves expert in a determined area of knowledge or application. Many people prefer to avoid the feeling given by this awareness because it could them fell weak, inadequate and sometimes not enough motivated to proceed in the mastery of a new knowledge or competence. This is a moment of the choice to proceed identifying the needs and the leverages that move a choice, the purposes of the achievement of expertise and to set goals that keep hight the commitment along every step and improvement.

Conscious Competence

To reach this phase, it is necessary to have Become conscious of the uncomfortable feelings that characterize the individual conscious incompetence.

This is the first moment that we can consciously define our improvement: progress. In this phase confidence has grown and a person feels somewhat competent in a subject of competence or skill.

From this stage, usually, improvements are faster and observable.

Unconscious Competence

This is the final stage of a definable profound “alchemical transformation” during which a person is able to master a skill without to focus on every single phase that compose his/her field of competence. This phase is characterized by an automatic response that allows the individual to enter and to be absorbed in a thoughtless state (sometimes in a mindful way), often called “the zone” or “state of flow.”

For mastery and peak performance in a field of competence, the main goal is to realize an unconscious competence.

Author: Cristina Capucci 

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