Section 6--Aspect 4: 

Tools to Help Develop Competence
15.  Overview

  • In Section 2, we covered the need to improve competency (Identifying Solutions).  In this section, we're digging a little deeper into the process of learning and developing.

  • This section is meant to help you become aware of your ability to grow to the place where you're actually implementing strategies to do what you want and be who you want to be.

  • The ideal method for learning is to expose yourself to knowledge or activities that are just outside your current ability level. (We'll discuss Zone of Proximal Development or Optimal Development in more detail in Lesson 18.)

  • I'll encourage you to take little steps rather than big steps.  (Yes, as noted previously, you can choose the pattern with which you take little steps and massive action, but for the Zone of Proximal Development I'll encourage little steps outside your comfort zone.)

  • I'll also encourage you to develop areas that are related to the primary area you want to improve, to ensure your strength and preparedness for what you need to do to make your dream a reality.  Break down what you want to do into smaller chunks.

    • For example, if you want to be a public speaker you can build up to it by doing videos, Facebook Live events, and webinars.  You can get used to speaking and all that goes into it. It gives you confidence.  You can then go on to speak to small groups, then larger groups.  Accomplishing these smaller tasks can give you more and more confidence to do the major thing you want to develop confidence in.​

16.  Confidence-Competency Loop

17.  Digging Deeper Into the Process of Learning and Developing

  • Step 1: Address the Growth Mindset: 

    • In order to get better at something, you need to believe that you can become more competent - that you can learn and grow and improve.

  • Step 2: Identify What You Need

    • Ask yourself, "What skills and abilities do I need to improve?"

    • Create a plan for improvement (Do your research.  Get the information you need, learn how to do something new, or practice a behavior.)

18.  Your Zone of Proximal (or Optimal) Development

  • To determine what areas you want to focus on developing, it can be helpful to understand your zone of proximal development.

    • The Zone of Optimal/Proximal Development is what helps you develop from where you are now to where you want to be in the most efficient and productive way.  This can help you build confidence within, as well as avoid unrealistic expectations that will lead to the lowering of your confidence level.

      • As you're building confidence, you have to be real.  You have to know where you are now - what you're good at and what you still need to develop​.  If you're a beginner at something you can't pretend you're an expert.

      • Yes, you can believe in yourself, but you also have to be realistic.

      • It's very important to know what zone you're in.  If you fail, try again. Maybe fail again, and try again. Improve.  Building the small successes is what's going to help you thrive.  The more you recognize where you are in your development, the easier it is not to take failure personally.  It'll be easier to learn from it and try again.

      • Whenever you're starting something new, you're in the learning phase.  You're still developing, learning, gathering information to build that foundation.  Take those baby steps toward the next level, and the next, etc.

      • You're always going to be in the growing phase, no matter how long you've been in a field or doing an activity.

  • The three main parts of the zone of proximal (or optimal) development:

    • Things that you can do on your own and that you're confident in.​

    • Things that you can do with guidance, help, or gaining minimal additional knowledge.

    • Things that you can't do because you don't have the foundation or haven't developed the right tools to do it.

      • In order to grow and develop more rapidly while developing confidence, focus on the second area.  If you know you're in this zone, search for that guidance and do things that will push you a bit further in your confidence development.​

      • As your ability expands, you'll be able to reach further into the third area.

        • If you go into the third area too soon you'll have no foundation, and that can be scary.  It's way too far outside your com​fort zone yet.  If you're not ready you might go backwards, shy away from it, doubt yourself, give up.

      • You do want to push, but it has to be within that zone where you're already good at something and you're building on it with baby steps.  You're building your risk tolerance.  You need that foundation in place first before taking bigger and bigger risks, so they aren't so risky that they sabotage your progress.

      • Zone of Optimal Development Exercise

19.  Implicit vs Explicit Memory and Repetition

  • Explicit memory:  You learn something new using this type of memory.  You have to consciously think about doing what you're doing.

  • Implicit memory:  When you do something enough times it becomes implicit.  You don't have to think about it anymore.  The more you do things, the more implicit that memory becomes.

  • Practice is the key to developing competency.

  • Repeat what you want to learn and eventually you'll become competent at it, and that will lead to confidence in that area.