Self-awareness and Expert Performance

Expert performance is built through thousands of hours of practice in your area of expertise, in varying conditions, through which you accumulate a vast library of such mental models that enables you to correctly discern a given situation and instantaneously select and execute the correct response.

At the root of our effectiveness is our ability to grasp the world around us and to take the measure of our own performance. We are constantly making judgments about what we know and don't know whether we're capable of handling a task or solving a problem. As we work at something, we keep an eye on ourselves, adjusting our thinking or actions as we progress.

Monitoring your own thinking is what psychologists call metacognition (meta is Greek for "about".) Learning to be accurate self-observers helps us stay out of blind alleys, make good decisions, and reflect on how we might do better next time. An important part of this skill is being sensitive to the ways we can delude ourselves. One problem with poor judgment is that we usually don't know when we've got it. Another problem is the sheer scope of the ways our judgment can be led astray.

Peter C. Brown and Henry L. Roediger III, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning