Are You Being Humble or Incompetent?
“No lah, I very cha (lousy) one”
“I tell you first arh, I am not a detail-oriented person, so I cannot do this meticulous task”
“I’m not as good as you, I cannot do public speaking one.”
Have you met someone like this in your life or in your workplace? Maybe this is a bit exaggerating (my Asian drama queen kicking in) but what we would like to infer here is that there are people who seem to take pride in saying they do not do a particular task very well.
Now you get the picture better? Oh worse, there is no mention of wanting to improve, just the fact that they do not do this task particularly well.
Some of us would want to jump in and say “hey, what’s wrong? Everyone has their own strength and weaknesses. They are being humble enough to admit to their weaknesses.”
Now let’s think about this “Being Humble vs Incompetent”.
Let’s go back to what we discussed earlier, these people know the deficiencies or the weakness that they have. In training industry, we sometimes called them “The Conscious Incompetent”. They are at better than “The Unconscious Incompetent”, where they think they know-it-all but the opposite is true. (We can write about the levels of trainee’s behaviour next time if you are interested).
What’s the danger of being in the level of “The Conscious Incompetent”? What happens when you preach about an idea for a long time? – it might turn into a belief, and then the impossibility of fixing it. Finally, this myth becomes a reality. They proudly remain consciously incompetent forever.
So, it’s quite different from what humble means right?
Humble, the definition from Cambridge Dictionary is “tending to consider yourself as having no special importance that makes you better than others; not proud” (source: Cambridge Dictionary). Being humble has little to do with saying I’m not good at something or admitting to their own weakness. It is the feeling that you give to others around you, and most of the time, these are the great people who has done great accomplishment in life and yet do not speak a word about it.
That is quite different with knowing the deficiencies and not doing anything about it, right?
What should we do? Let’s say we are in this level of “The Conscious Incompetent?”
Be Open to Change!
Start with one weakness that your close friends or family has nag you for decades. It could be flipping the toilet seats upwards every time you use it, wash the dish immediately after you eat it, keeping a calendar on your daily schedule, keeping your desk clean, and the list goes on.
What about a career-related improvement?
Have you always been afraid to speak in public? Sign up for public speaking workshop and beat that stage fright! Have you been struggling with writing a decent email? Sign up for a one-day course on email writing!
Another thing to keep in mind when you are trying out the “Change” challenge is to keep an open mind and open heart while doing it. That’s probably how you found a new talent! Good luck!