Four stages of competence

I still remember when I started learning  guitar, I struggle a lot. Unlike my friends, they pick up the skill in a such an easy way, they just need to do some google+ing and youtube+ing and bingo, they just know how to play.

Due to my persistent temperament, I have this die die must master it mentality, in the end, I spend hundreds of dollars to went for guitar courses, to discover what I don’t know, I don’t know.

Then, I realized in the process to master a skill, there is this four stages of learning/competence.

According to Wikipedia,

The Four Stages of Learning provides a model for learning. It suggests that individuals are initially unaware of how little they know, or unconscious of their incompetence. As they recognize their incompetence, they consciously acquire a skill, then consciously use it. Eventually, the skill can be utilized without it being consciously thought through: the individual is said to have then acquired unconscious competence.

So what are the four stages?

The four stages of competence,

  1. 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 recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage.The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


When i started learning guitar, I don’t know what I don’t know. This is the key aspect that I never able to progress. Throughout guidance from proper teacher, they show me the light and let me realize those “blind spots”! That’s where I am able to move from stage 1, Unconscious incompetence to stage 2, Conscious incompetence. Where now I know what I don’t know.

Then I find a style of comfortable and suit me to play the guitar and I rinse and repeat the process, slowly I am able to enter conscious competence and one day I hope i can play to the standard like Ed-Sheeran Or Jay Chou where they are in stage 4, unconscious competence.


Here’s a photo of Ed-Sheeran
Here’s a photo of Jay Chou

Same with trading or investing, a lot of retail traders and investors burnt out their finite capital due to they don’t know what they don’t know. This is where they struggle and give up in the end as they cannot see any light when they stuck at a deep dark tunnel.

When you know what you don’t know you always can find a way and work hard to improve your weakness and the area that you are lacking. The greatest issue here is when you don’t know what you don’t know and you are in a loop of viscous cycle.

That is the time you should start to find someone that can show you some light and guide you to the next level.

During 7 April I am going to trade NFP live. The purpose of doing so is to help my readers and friends to witness how trader trade in their real life. I believe this is one of the best way to help aspire trader to clear their “blind spot” and accelerate their learning process.

If you think I can be the one to bring you to the next level, feel free to click here and sign up for the event.

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