How the Four Stages of Competence Will Help You Quit Playing Games

When you’re trying to learn something new in your life it’s easy to get frustrated at your lack of progress. And this frustration leads to discouragement and before you know it you’ve either given up on learning your new skill or gone back to old habits.

This is especially common when you go to move on from playing video games. Thankfully there’s a framework out there (which I will share with you today) that can help you understand the point that you’re at in your journey and what you need to do to continue moving forward.

The truth about moving on from games is that it’s a learning process, and the main thing you’re trying to learn is how to live a meaningful life. The benefit of this is that you can apply different learning models and techniques to improve your chance of success.

One of these is the Four Stages of Competence, and it was developed by Abraham Maslow. This model helps you understand the different stages that you’re at and how to move forward towards the next one.

Here are the four stages

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence

In this stage you don’t know how to do something, you might not even recognize the deficit you have in it and you might not even recognize the value in it either.

For example, when you were gaming a lot, you justified it because life outside of games wasn’t that much fun anyways, so you might as well be gaming. This is unconscious incompetence, you don’t know know what you don’t know.

To move forward: You have to recognize your deficit and recognize the value in learning your new skill. Your desire to learn is really all you need.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

In this stage you might not know how to do something, but you recognize the value in it and you recognize the deficit, and you’re beginning to take action and make mistakes to learn.

To move forward: If you’re taking action, whatever action you know you can take, and making mistakes along the way you’re on the right path. Keep going.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

In this stage you’re beginning to understand how to do your new skill, but it takes a lot of concentration and focus in order to do it.

This is the stage where we tend to get frustrated because we have to focus so much and it can make us feel like we aren’t really making progress. But that’s not true! It’s just we haven’t learned our new skill to stage four!

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

Now the skill is second nature and we have the ability to teach it to others. It doesn’t take too much effort for us to be consistent day after day.

What you should focus on

To move from one stage to the next there are three principles you want to focus on every day:

1. Desire

The only difference in any of these stages is your desire inside to learn and grow. Before doing anything else, reconnect with your desire to learn and grow.

2. Action

You have to take action if you want to get results. By taking action you are able to make mistakes and learn from them. Try one thing, see how it goes, try something else, see how it goes and compare the difference between the two.

3. Focus

The main difference between people who are more successful than others is that they focus. Without focus you can take all of the action you want but it may not lead anywhere. Focus, focus, focus. I can’t stress this enough.

Applying this to you

If you’re someone who’s just quit playing video games and you’ve chosen some new activities and you’re having to really focus on that and it’s hard for you to not feel bored all of the time, you’re most likely in between stages two and three.

Concentration is your path forward.

If you’re someone who’s quit gaming for awhile but you’re not necessarily feeling fulfilled, this is something you just need to continue to learn about. You need to continue to take action and fail forward.

What helped me was learning through contrast. Try something, see how it feels, try something else, see how it feels and understand what the difference is between the two. This can help you gain more clarity about what it is that you do like.

So I hope that helps and if it does, I’d love to hear what stage you’re at and what action you’re going to take moving forward in the comments below.

If you haven’t quit playing video games yet but you’re ready to get your life back on track, check out Respawn.

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