The curse of competence

Being good at something the instant we start doing it can lead to unrealistic expectations. From those around us, and from within our own mind. Managing these expectations can help us to maintain that level of competence throughout, and ensure we continue enjoying the challenge for as long as we can.

In my current job, I learned how to do it almost entirely remotely. The tasks required of me gelled with the way I learn and it was enjoyable to learn them. It took me less time than I thought to pick up how to do turn, and feel confident in the ways I fit into how the organisation works. Sometimes this has meant my colleagues expect I know more than I do about our processes. Thankfully these expectations are not followed by disappointment if I do not initially know the answer. To curb this expectation I have to speak up when I don’t know something nor how to work it out. The good thing about everyone I work with is they want to help find a solution together. This encourages me to speak up and continue improving the way we work as a team to benefit the people we serve.

Playing sport can provide extremely stark examples of this phenomenon. If the first time we kick a soccer ball it comes off our foot in a somewhat competent way in the general direction we intended people will offer assistance in a different way than if it looked uncoordinated. This is a consequence of perception. Sometimes helpful, but more often a hinderance. A healthy balance is needed, to ensure people who want to are able to learn at a difficulty which encourages progress for them, whether they have played the sport before or not.

On both sides of the teaching and learning environment we must be patient. It takes time to know whether something has been mastered as well as can be. As such we must also be ready to adapt as expertise is grown, to best suit the ability and pace of the particular teaching and learning environments we find ourselves in.

We are all different. We are all interested in different things and have different areas of strength. We will not be competent at everything we try our hand at. There are too many for us to try and not enough time to master them all. This can be temptation for us to stay firmly in our comfort zone.

Break out when you can. Find the excitement in trying new things when you can. Work hard both when you feel confident and comfortable doing something, and when you don’t.

Help others nurture their joys, to bring the best of themselves to the surface.

Dream big dear readers, and get closer to attaining them every day.


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