Peter’s Principle

12 07 2012

A friend shared something that I found quite profound. He talked about Peter’s Principle.  The Peter Principle, founded by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, states that “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”, meaning that employees tend to be promoted until they reach a position at which they cannot work competently.  Then employees rise to their level of incompetence and stay there.

The Peter Principle is underlying factor why we plateau in our career and in life. We reach a level where we no longer are competent enough to function.  I started to reflect on my career positions and I realized why I wasn’t happy – I wasn’t competent. I’m not saying I’m dumb but I am retarded. By definition retard means to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.  I become incompetent because I mentally decided that I hated my job and wanted to leave, which delayed my progress to learn and grow in my current job position.

We become incompetent due two reasons: we are not trained properly or we choose to stop learning. I believe more than half of our incompetency is due to lack of interest to continue to learn. We mentally block ourselves from succeeding because we make a choice not to learn.

Here is what we can do to overcome our plateaus:

  1. Destroy our negative scripts – Stop mental barriers that keep you from succeeding
  2. Learn from anyone who is willing to teach you
  3. Learn to teach yourself
  4. Ask yourself where you want to end up – Think of the end in mind and start with the path to get there
  5. Ask others how you can reach your goals – Knowledge is learning from experience. Wisdom is learning from the experiences of others



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