When you are on autopilot, you are highly efficient. But when the rules change around you, this can lead to disaster….
I lived in London for several years. Before moving to England, I considered myself to be an excellent driver. But I quickly learned that some simple changes could make it difficult to operate a car.
I discovered that driving a car on the left side of the road in a right-hand drive car was nearly impossible. I felt incapacitated while behind the wheel. I never knew which way to look. I had a hard time judging the edge of the car and kept hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road. And attempting to drive a manual stick-shift vehicle proved to be even more comical.
After driving for two decades, my skills were on automatic without requiring conscious thought. This might be referred to as unconscious competence; a skill which is second nature.
Unfortunately, moving the steering wheel and driving on the “other” side of the road forced me to think. And thinking caused me to choke. What I had done so well for 20 years was now a complicated task.
What’s going on here?