Unconsciously Incompetent #SoCS

When I was in college studying applied psychology (it was really an orientation year to Bachelor’s of social work or related fields), my tutor had an interesting theory about how we learn by first being unconsciously incompetent. Then we move on to being consciously incompetent, by which she meant we are aware of our lack of knowledge and skill. Then, after years of college, we move on to being consciously competent. Once being experienced in the workforce, we then become unconsciously competent, which means we no longer need to be aware of our competence, since it’s become muscle memory.

I reached the stage of conscious incompetence when my tutor told me flat out that she was passing me for communication skills only if I promised never to enter the field of social work, psychology or any related field of study or work again. Thankfully, I was aware that my communication skills exam had really gone badly just before she told me, so I didn’t just need to be dragged into conscious incompetence.

I think I might need a similar experience with macrame. I started practising on Thursday and, though I managed the square knot, spiral knot and lark’s head knot quite easily eventually, I am pretty sure I’m still unconsciously incompetent. In other words, my work is horribly ugly but I think it will do.

The only thing is, because I sort of know I might never reach the stage of even conscious competence, I am too scared to show my work online for judgment. After all, as much as I am self-conscious about it, I also would really like this to work out!

Similarly, though I knew before that horribly messed-up communication skills exam at least on some subconscious level that I’m not suited to become a social worker or psychologist, I wanted to be one. That’s probably why I went into linguistics, which, though it isn’t necessarily within the helping profession, is still a communicative field of study. I only went into it to have a student psychologist tell a newspaper that “a blind autistic who wants to study something communicative” is going to have a pretty hard time of it, when they were promoting their autism buddy program. That pretty much sent me into conscious incompetence as soon as I read it, which thankfully was six weeks into the academic year. I guess that’s what happened the time the first person to comment on my question about macrame told me it would be really hard too. Only that’s before I’d started. I’m not sure that’s conscious incompetence though. It looks rather like low self-esteem.

This post was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, with the prompt of a word containing “Comp”.

10 thoughts on “Unconsciously Incompetent #SoCS

  1. It took me some years to become competent in macrame, but once my fingers knew the feeling of the knots and sequences, it was quite fun. A very tactile activity. (It doesn’t go well with transitions into living with either cats or dogs. ::sigh:: )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I am so relieved it took you some years to become competent at macrame! At least then I don’t need to worry about never being competent at it if I’m still very much incompetent after only two days of practice. Thanks for the reassurance!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My 7th grade science teacher taught us how to do macrame during our study hall break. I made several projects that year but never did it again. Such a waste because I remember loving it! I hope you have fun learning how to macrame, regardless of how your projects turn out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for encouraging me. I’m so glad you at least tried macrame. I remember learning large cross stitch in seventh grade textile arts class, but I kept telling my teacher she should fail me because I was so slow to learn. She eventually barely passed me.

      Like

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