The Four Stages Of Competence & Your Growth

The Four Stages Of Competence & Your Growth by Charles Sledge

Without skills you aren’t going to get far in life. A large part of life is developing skills so that you can flourish and get the life of freedom we all desire but few will ever achieve. Acquiring important skills is what allows someone to truly live out their dreams without their dreams being taken away from them. A man who understands women, can make money on command, and can handle himself in a scrap is going to achieve a much higher quality of life than a man who can do none of those things.

However skills take time to develop even the greatest salesman ever at one time sucked at sales. Despite popular belief to the contrary, winners are made not born. Get rid of that weak thinking where people circumstances create them instead of vice versa. That is the thinking of the 99% and not of the winners. When learning a skill we go through four level of competency that will be described below as well as ways to accelerate through them.

Stage #1 – Unconscious Incompetence

This is where you don’t know what you don’t know. For example the nice guy who constantly tells women how much he believes in equality hoping that it will get him a date. He doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know how to attract women. He just keeps doing the same thing harder and harder expecting a different result. Then say one day the male trying to get dates through doing what society tells him to do discovers the red pill and how attraction really works. And let’s say after a period of fighting it he starts to see the light he has now gone on to stage #2.

Stage #2 – Conscious Incompetence

He now knows what he doesn’t know (I know that’s vague) yet doesn’t know how to go about accomplishing what he wants. In our example the guy knows he sucks with women but he doesn’t know how to go about not sucking with women. He finally realizes he lacks the skill (a stage most never get to) but doesn’t know how to acquire the skill at a proficient level. Generally at this stage (if he’s smart) he’ll throw himself into learning all the he can and taking action on that knowledge. Doing this for long enough will lead him to stage #3.

Stage #3 – Conscious Competence

This is the stage where someone can do the skill but only after thinking it through. In our example the guy can now attract women but only by constantly monitoring himself. What he says, how he says it, how he stands. He is fighting against old programming and has to keep it up or he slips back into old ways. He has to stay viligant to keep hammering in his new thought patterns. With time conscious competence gives way to the fourth and final stage.

Stage #4 – Unconscious Competence

Now he has become a “natural”. This is where others look at him and think he must have just been born that way. People fail to see all the hard work that went in behind getting to this level. Our guy from the example now attracts women without even having to think about it. He’ll just be going about his day and causing massive amounts of attraction in women around him simply because of who he is. The skill has now become a part of you. This is the goal.

Best Way To Remember

The best way to remember the competency levels is by associating them with a phrase.

Stage #1 – Unconscious Incompetence – “I don’t know that I don’t know” – Wrong Intuition

Stage #2 – Conscious Incompetence – “I know that I don’t know” – Wrong Analysis

Stage #3 – Conscious Competence – “I know, but I have to think about it” – Right Analysis

Stage #4 – Unconscious Competence – “I know something so well I don’t have to think about it” – Right Intuition

How To Accelerate Growth Through The Stages

Now that we know that framework on which growth occurs the next logical question is “Alright now how can I go from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence in the least amount of time?”. An intelligent question and one that can be life changing if applied properly. Learning skills can be in itself a skill.

First things first you will speed up your ascent through the levels tremendously by reading everything that you can on a subject. When I first dive into a subject I generally get the top three recommended books as well as look up the top websites and blogs. I dive into the knowledge trying to immerse myself in it to start. After a period of immersion I then begin to take action.

Not little bits of action but massive action. Trying out everything, sometimes even when I’m quite certain it will fail. I treat my growth of a skill as a scientific experiment. I take chances and expand. I experiment and gather the results trying to refine as I go. If I did this before gaining at least some semblance of knowledge about the subject I’d be a fool flailing about but that immersion gives me a path to go on, or at least a direction in which to head.


Because of this while others struggle about for years on end I can surpass the majority within a years time and get in the top 1% (or at least close) within three years time easily. Three years may sound like a lot but it really isn’t and you can learn more than one skill at a time. For example before high school a kid could learn sales, game, and how to defend himself and be ahead of 99% of his peers upon leaving there. Then in his early twenties he could master money and in late twenties master women (while remembering that he already had a head start in both by learning game and sales).

Then after 30 he could live whatever life he wanted. Explore the world, his mind, or both. He’d have freedom to do as he pleased, all because he learned how to learn skills.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.

-Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge

  • Johnny Grube

    Why would anyone want to master women? As a man that
    has had many relationships, mostly failed; 4 kids 3 different
    women living in a home with a wife and 3 daughters you learn
    about women fast.

    With all the technology people aren’t interacting face to face anymore everything is email or text so we are losing our ability
    to communicate, which means everything will suffer sales and finding a mate.

    Not enough people are interested in the right things, like being
    more self reliant like hunting and fishing, more people seem
    more interested, especially men to sit home drinking and
    watching sports while they get fatter and fatter, instead of
    playing a sport or getting outdoors and going for a hike.

    I never chose my life with thought, I chose it from unprotected
    sex. I learned a ton being a teenage father, It was either get
    stronger, or run like most men do, I stayed! I built a legacy
    with kids now grand kids and I still believe in studying
    sales, and face to face communication and other things
    that build a stronger life.

    As always good article.