Levels of Consciousness and Competency

Today I want to talk a little bit about the levels of consciousness… or should I just say levels of competency? It is sometimes confusing when somebody talks about consciousness because it has different aspects like the spiritual aspect of it. Spiritual consciousness is about how you perceive everything around. However, here I will focus more on the competency side of it and cover the four levels of consciousness and levels of competency by merging these two concepts.

Level 1: Unconscious – Incompetent (UI)

If you write them going from bottom up, the first one is the level where you are both unconscious and incompetent. That’s the bottom of the ladder and the level where you don’t know that you don’t know. You don’t want to be here. Because UI level is a blind spot where you ignore everything.  You don’t even know that is a blind spot.

Let’s imagine Socrates in the old times. What would he do if he saw a plane in the air? Of course, he would ignore it. That’s a good example for UI level.

Level 2: Conscious – Incompetent (CI)

At this level, you are aware of the fact that you don’t know. Most of the time, we are at this level of consciousness or competency. We want to do something, we want to acquire some skills and we try to learn how to achieve these goals. That means we are students and we are hopeful about our success. This level is the beginning of freedom.

Level 3: Conscious – Competent (CC)

Knowing that you know must be the best level of consciousness to be at. People that are both conscious and competent are usually the teachers of a skill/area. They want to be good at something, they work hard and succeed in learning, they gain some level of experience, and lastly they proudly teach to other fellows who are willing to learn something from them.

However, there is a downside of this level and that is the risk of getting arrogant. If that happens, it blocks your way to mastery and you never reach to the inconscious-competent level, which is the top one.

Level 4: Unconscious – Competent (IC)

We can move our body unconsciously, but this is a competency. Or, we ride a bicycle unconsciously and this a competency, too. If you don’t know that you know, then you are at the unconscious – competent level of  consciousness. In other words, this is the level of mastery. If you are a master of a skill, you perform naturally. Because it comes naturally from your brain and body. Geniuses are also in this group of people, as well.

Although this is the top level of consciousness or competency, I think, being a CC (Level 3) is the best. Because you are conscious about what you are doing and you can enjoy teaching it. Whereas, geniuses can’t teach…


Other Levels of Consciousness

Of course, there are other approaches to the levels of consciousness. If you define these levels based on your current life situation, I suggest you read the the book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins. From low to high, the levels of consciousness are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, enlightenment.

I think you’ll find this model worthy of reflection. Not only people but also objects, events, and whole societies can be ranked at these levels. Within your own life, you’ll see that some parts of your life are at different levels than others, but you should be able to identify your current overall level.


Here I tried to summarize some of the approaches to the levels of consciousness. If you get the idea, you can figure out where you are and see if it leads you to new insights that may help you take the next leap in your own life.

Leave a Comment:


Popular posts