Conscious Competence in Ageing?



Which stage are you at?

Just lately many of you have been wondering what I mean by Conscious Ageing.

Perhaps this useful model will help you to understand.

In psychology and other practices associated with the brain and the mind, there is a useful model, known as the “four stages of competence” or “four stages of consciousness.”

Briefly, they are Unconscious Incompetence

                             Conscious Incompetence

                            Conscious Competence

                            Unconscious Competence.


At the first stage if you are unconsciously incompetent, you are unaware that there is a problem or that you may need to change. Some people go right through their lives unaware that they could make changes to enhance their lives. They blame everyone else, and usually stay victims of their circumstances.

I see this in action every time I use a bus. There is a notice that says clearly “Please remain seated until the bus stops!” So what do people do? They ignore it and start their way down to the exit doors while the bus is hurtling along. Who will they blame if they fall because the bus had to stop suddenly in an emergency? Everyone but themselves usually.

Think about this in your own life. We all sometimes act with unconsciousness, but once you become aware of this model for life, it will make you think why you act in a certain way. This will then bring you forward to become Consciously Incompetent and realise that you can make changes in your thinking, your attitude and your choices.

Making these choices and changes then puts you into the Consciously Competent stage, and you are aware of what changes you can make, and how they affect your life, most times for the better. For a while it will be quite an effort, and may take some time to learn and find out with experience, which are the right choices and changes for you.

But when you come to the Unconscious Competent stage, then there will be hardly any effort because you will have developed new habits.

You would go through all these stages when you are giving up smoking for example. Or changing to a healthier lifestyle.

So what has this to do with ageing you might be asking?

Well, many people go through life ignoring the fact that they will get older. They fight it with cosmetics, fashion, exercise, plastic surgery, and doing away with the grey hair.

Please don’t think that I am not all for that! I have done it all myself. But there does come a time when you start looking false and ridiculous, as some famous celebrities do, and you can be so busy trying to look young, that you never get around to accepting your ageing body, so you are in the unconscious incompetence stage, because you have not become aware of the natural advances of ageing. Then one day something happens that forces you to become aware. It could be that you are in a changing room trying on clothes, and the lights enhance something that you had not noticed before.

When that happens it can be a total shock!!

You have not in any way prepared yourself for this. You have been so busy resisting it that you feel robbed, and a failure.

The body starts to age at 27 years old. Up until then it has been growing and developing.

The thirty year old woman will start to notice the grey hairs. The man often starts to find his hair is receding.

Why do you think that there is such a negative reaction? I will leave that one to you to figure out, because different people will have different reasons.

People usually start to panic at around the age of fifty. When they are sixty, there are usually some major life changes, like coming up to retirement, which sets them thinking about older age and wondering what they are going to do in the future.

A look at the four stages of competence in alignment with ageing can be a good thing.

Think about which stage you are in.

What choices are you not making now?

Are you even aware that there are choices you could make?

Are you just going to be “old” without taking part in life, and just let what happens happen?

Are you going to be a victim to your older body and blame everyone else for your discomfort?

(Something that many older people do and this is why we are afraid of old age!)

Or are you going to start to look at being conscious and preparing now, while you are still young enough to make choices and changes, and spend your third age as the best stage of all, Unconsciously Competent!


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