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Success DIY Number 7: Learn how to master your competencies: Aubrey Mavhuli


By Aubrey Mavhuli


So finally, I got the question I was waiting for since I started writing for this column. “Does it mean to achieve your goals you can only do it if you don’t ask or get help from others?”

No not at all. It doesn’t mean you can’t get help, but you got to seek it and personally ask for it. I am the first one to admit it that I have been helped a lot by friends, family and even strangers in a lot of the times as I pursued my goals.

Where I meet a lot of people that tell you how untrustworthy people are, I have a slightly different confession. I have met more trustworthy and helpful people than those of the opposite mindset. I think I am truly blessed.

Success requires you to know your strengths and your limits

Knowing your weaknesses is not a sign of weakness but in fact, quite a strength. You know what you know, and you know what you don’t know. One of the most common interview questions at certain levels is to ask candidates what their strengths and weaknesses is.
Quite often a weakness that is really known and being dealt with often turns into a strength.

Success occurs at many levels
If the truth be told success has levels, it’s got stages. A grade one child who passes their end of year tests is successful to a certain level. A graduate who graduates with a diploma or degree is successful to a certain level.
This is not to say success is only when you are degreed or certificated. The simple definition of success is: “goal attainment or movement towards a goal”. Success can be as simple as simply being able to stop a terrible habit in a pre-set time.

Success requires a certain level of knowledge

Successful people are masters at their craft, they are simply more than competent.
There are four levels of knowledge or competency my colleague Veli Ndaba told me the other day.

Levels of knowledge

First level of knowledge: unconsciously incompetent

There are four levels of knowledge. The first stage is when you don’t know that you don’t know. In this stage you are unconsciously ignorant or unaware. This is a sad state to be in.

This often comes out as ignorance and sometimes arrogantly so. If you are in this state and you are arrogant you may not often be assisted. Your helpers shy away from administering help in your direction. You may be repulsing your own assistance and you may not even be aware of it.

The second level of competency: consciously incompetent

The second level is when some light falls on your brain and you realise that you don’t know certain things you ought to know. You are consciously unaware. You know that you don’t know. This is a very ripe stage for learning.

If you are aware of your short comings you can do something about it. You may seek help and be helped. It takes great humility to admit that you don’t know certain things. The paradox of life is the real strong ones are not shy to admit their weaknesses.

The third level of competency: consciously competent

The third level is when you have been coached, trained or practiced into things you were unaware of previously and you have learnt your lesson or two. This is when you become competent in doing certain things you previously couldn’t do. You are now categorised as consciously competent. At this stage you are a great student who can learn and apply knowledge for own use or help others.

Unconsciously competent

The fourth level of competency: unconsciously competent

Enough practice will make you into a master if you continue to practise and learn.

This really is the secret of success: practise and learn. Focus and practise will make you into a master. You become competent but unaware. Just think of the stages of driving a car.
After driving for a while, you drive without putting thought every time into what you are doing. The craft is now in you and you are in the craft. At this stage you are a master of your craft. You have worked hard, and you deserve a pat on the back, really?
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the learning curve. It’s just the beginning. To become a real true master according to Malcolm Gladwell of “The outliers” book fame you need ten thousand hours of practice in a craft.

Even as you become unconsciously competent never stop learning and never stop asking and questioning your presumptions and assumptions. True success requires you to never stop learning, never stop trying to be better one more time.
In my language they say, “Education doesn’t end” but the truth is true success never requires you to end your education. Keep on practising plus keep on learning.

Written by Aubrey Mavhuli Author of Marketing Sense: An entrepreneur’s marketing guide that brings results and Chief Copywriter and Marketing Consultant at He is a serial entrepreneur who runs a Copywriting & Marketing Consultancy, Solar installations company, an Eco cash shop and a mixed farm in Gauteng. He is a motivational speaker and trainer on Marketing, copy writing, sales, leadership and success. Email:


See Also

Success – on its own – is simply a Do-It-Yourself business


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