The unconscious incompetent is the person who does not know and does not know they do not know.

When a person assumes they know what they do not know they fall into what is called an intelligence trap and this makes it difficult for them to learn anything new and that is the reason why you hear the advice from time to time to keep an open mind.

If I got a dollar every time I hear a version of “youths are not just unemployed but rather they are unemployable” I’d have made well over a million in Naira by today’s standards—sadly. A rather shocking discovery I’ve made is that it is easier for (University) graduates to fall into the intelligence trap than those who are not as educated. One reason is that they have a syllabus and they “cover” the syllabus.

Over a decade ago, a friend of mine told me a story about his dad’s brand new big-screen TV that suddenly developed a fault. His dad got this massive 45 inches flat-screen television for his sitting room but just a few months in and the TV suddenly developed a fault. They wanted their dad to get an electrician to fix the TV but his dad insisted that only his cousin who was going to be home for the holidays will be allowed to fix the TV because he was educated and an Electrical Electronics Engineering final year student.

Long story short, his cousin came home, with his dad’s blessings dismantled the TV set and after trying to find the fault without succeeding he tried to put the TV back together and failed at it because he couldn’t find where some screws came out from.

In the end, the electrician tradesman was called in, he opened the tv set, fixed the fault and tidied things up within minutes. This taught everyone in the family a lesson about the application of knowledge and personal development.

What are your assumptions about the knowledge/skills you have do you put it to the test? Do you really know what they are or you just assume you do? Question what you already know. Take in new information as you learn new things.

Always remember that personal development is your springboard to high achievement. Take out every opportunity you get to master the skills essential to your growth.

Keep an open mind, learn from others, explore. Refuse to be an unconscious incompetent.

What interests you? Are you learning something new? What is your improvement plan? Need help? Share in the comments section below.


I help underrepresented people use emerging tech to build new businesses and careers by enabling them with technical & non-technical skills training and tools.

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