Lada 🏡 Prkic

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Being a Victim of Illusory Superiority?

Being a Victim of Illusory Superiority?


 

I have a life motto that I put on my beBee profile page: The more I learn, the more I realise there's still so much more to learn. That is why I am a lifelong learner.

It is the same for many people who are aware of the gaps in their knowledge, and they want to fill in those gaps. 

But what about those who lack this awareness and whose ignorance makes it difficult to assess their own performance and knowledge?

Charles Darwin said it best: 

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

The world is full of unskilled and incompetent people who have a better opinion of themselves than they should. They lack knowledge and skills, but their confidence far exceeds their abilities resulting in inflated self-assessments.

Inability to recognise own ignorance/incompetence and the resulting overconfidence is a cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Some research also suggests that overconfidence is strongly linked with narcissism and feeling powerful. That combination can be pretty harmful, especially when action and words have consequences, as with events that happened recently in the USA. The soon-to-be-former President is called the Dunning-Kruger president.  

In essence, the less competent you are, the more confident you will be in your abilities. On the other hand, capable people who have experience and skills are often unduly modest or even feel inadequate when compared with others. 

DGk1a.jpeg
A graph made by Adi Jaffe, PhD

The above knowledge/confidence curve (*) nicely shows the boost of confidence after learning just a little about a particular subject. Reaching that peak, many assume they know quite enough, if not all, about a subject to have no reason to explore it further, and they remain stuck at the level of high confidence but little knowledge. Those who continue to increase knowledge, soon realise how little they know, and their confidence falls down. Then, as their knowledge and experience increase, their confidence grows again.

Being confident is considered to be one of the most important qualities we can have. We instil confidence in our kids, teaching them they can be anything they want. It is a key driver to success in life and work. A lack of confidence is usually seen as a problem and can affect our careers. Therefore, many compensate for the lack of knowledge and skills by looking overconfident. I have always admired people who are overly confident in their skills, even if they have little to show for it. I used to think it takes a great deal of courage to do that. Actually, it is not about courage, it is a cognitive bias. 

Humans, in general, tend to overestimate their abilities and knowledge. The truth is each one of us is ignorant in a whole range of areas of knowledge, but most of us have the capacity to learn and gain knowledge and skills over time to become more competent. The "only" problem is how to overcome the misleading assessment of our skills and intellect and have a more realistic view of ourselves. If it were easy, there would be no problem with most human biases.  

To have skills and knowledge in a particular area can create false confidence that we are good at everything else - like trying to swim across the English Channel after winning a 200 m swim race (**). Recognizing our areas of weakness and limitations of our abilities is the first step. 

OFUXH.png
 https://i.imgur.com/XcCe6qc.png

Incompetent, overconfident people are at all levels of governments, public institutions, and positions of responsibility in many companies. Not only in my part of the world but everywhere, and in all fields. Many of them are self-proclaimed experts whose failure to admit their knowledge gaps could easily lead to devastating consequences - in the field of medicine and pharma for example. 

I met unskilled and overconfident people on some of the construction projects I was involved in, even project managers. A little expertise (knowledge) combined with overconfidence and arrogance can be harmful when resulting in risky decisions. A little knowledge indeed can be a dangerous thing. 

In fact, all of us could fall victims to that illusory superiority and not be aware of it, no matter being an expert or beginner in any subject. To be humbled about ourselves is one of the hardest traits to develop. In finding a balance between confidence and humility, I sometimes slip toward the self-deprecation side.

Learning more beyond superficial understanding will give us a more realistic level of confidence. Continuous learning throughout life gives a feeling of fulfilment, which in turn boosts confidence in our own capabilities. Also, lifelong learning is necessary for improving critical thinking skills. In my opinion, when you have the knowledge and think critically, you think for yourself and don’t follow blindly. I've been told I question (almost) everything, but it is a necessity in today's data-driven world and information chaos.  

To become aware of your actual competence, always question what you know, stay curious, and consider well-intentioned criticism and constructive feedback. It is not easy to hear that you are not good at something, but from my experience, it really helps in lowering your ego. And above all, don't be afraid to admit your ignorance to yourself and take every opportunity to keep learning.

Nowadays, knowledge is at our fingertips. 

 Title image:  https://www.entefy.com">https://www.entefy.com

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Comments
Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #51

#53
In addition to my previous comment is my interpretation of your words 'to be aware of everyone'. I understood it as social awareness.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #50

#57
Thank you as always for your support, Debasish. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #49

#56
Good to see your comment again, Roberto. I always appreciate your thoughts. beBee is indeed a rare social media where we can make critical comments and expect a civil conversation. It is because of reasonable people on this platform who engage in dialogue and listen to understand. I consider you and me one of those people. :) Still, I refrain from greater argumentative debates based on text-only communication. Non-native English speakers like myself may sometimes misinterpret the meaning of what is written. For additional explanations, we still need face-to-face discussions. :)

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

8 months ago #48

lovely insightful share Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic! enjoyed read. and shared. thank you for the buzz.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #47

#49
Yes, it is an age of arrogance, but I think it has always been so. Technology and the internet only encourage arrogance and speed it up. Humans, in general, tend to overestimate their abilities and knowledge and the internet feeds that tendency.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #46

Milos Djukic, thank you for sharing. I'm so glad that you still visit beBee, my friend. 🤗

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #45

#45
Roberto De la Cruz Utria Your quotes are rich Roberto My favorite is: One should examine oneself a long time before thinking of condemning others. (Molière) I am almost finished with this post The "woke" who are asleep .. an IRONY .. your quote drives home very well a point .. about those who find it so easy to judge & condemn

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #44

#40
Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic Your comment to Myriam Salem "an age of information chaos" reminded me of lines in my poem "Breaking Free" Have you noticed this is an age of arrogance? It has given birth to a culture of IGNORANCE https://www.bebee.com/producer/@fay-vietmeier-pennsylvania/breaking-free

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #43

#47
John, thank you for continuing to foster the conversation. I would only add that we simply cannot worry about everything. To be socially aware, and care and worry about others, shouldn't mean to make their worries ours. Thanks for sharing also. :)

John Rylance

John Rylance

8 months ago #42

#46
Being aware of everyone, allows you to focus on your biggest worries. Its using a wide field of vision rather than tunnel vision.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #41

#45
You've presented an interesting selection of thoughts and quotes, Roberto. The last sentence made me think. :) I would rather reverse it: "It is better to be aware of everyone than worry about everything." Your thoughts?

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #40

#42
I've heard for this saying: "Every ass likes to hear himself bray." Your saying is more appropriate. 🤗

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

8 months ago #39

#36
Your meeting experience, Lada, prompted me to offer you another English saying: “Empty vessels make the most noise!” 🤗

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #38

#38
I don't visit LinkedIn lately, but I'm glad that your share created a good conversation. Myriam mentioned my article on Medium, "What Does the Future Hold for You, Homo Sapiens?", the same one I published on beBee.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #37

#37
Dear Myriam Salem,I am so glad to see you here on beBee. I'm your big fan too. :) Your comments are equally well-written and thoughtful as your posts. Couldn't agree more about the importance of developing critical skills. Being able to spot all kind of manipulators is a necessity in an age of information chaos. Running away from that chaos and becoming willfully ignorant, not wanting to know about problems, sometimes seems the best solution. But I'm not sure it is the way to happiness, at least in my case. :) Welcome to beBee, Myriam!

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #36

Myriam Salem Your comment brought to mind: Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the late Nobel prize-winner was once asked, “Doctor, what is wrong with men today?” The great doctor was silent a few moments, and then said: “Men simply do not think.” This condition seems to be spreading based on what I hear and read. “Noise” is everywhere…empty talk…multiplied words without knowledge or meaning.

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #35

Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic Warm welcome Lada .. it has created a good conversation on LI Thanks for sharing the catalyst to the story You are correct: Sadly people do not hear or see themselves as others do (this can be good-bad-or ugly) Our humanity is fraught by BIAS .. which blinds Ignorance .. does not know And arrogance does not care Also I was wondering if you might provide the link to the Medium article referenced by Myriam Salem

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #34

#30
Fay, thank you for sharing my post here and on LI. I was prompted to write this article after being at several meetings where I was once again convinced that the loudest and most arrogant persons, who largely overestimate their ability and knowledge in the relevant area are in positions of power and make important decisions. Sadly, the world works this way.

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #33

#35
John Rylance Learning is one of the treasures in our life journey. As I mentioned to Roberto below This thought on learning: "Discovery is it's own reward. ~ me "Knowledge is at our fingertips" ~ Lada Prkic But Truth is the quest .. that's my focus

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #32

Roberto De la Cruz Utria Your words: "For me the important thing is not to learn to prove anything, but to fill curiosity and to be competitive" show your attitude toward learning Which ties in with: I share a comment here by Rod King PhD .. made on LI - where I shared Lada's past ) Rod King PhD writes .. I see learning and problem solving as being on two sides of the same coin. Refusing to learn is refusing one's ability to solve problems. Mastering learning to learn (meta-learning) is mastering how to learn to solve problems while surviving, growing, and thriving.. My reply to Rod: The thought that came to mind reading your words is from Soren Kierkegaard "There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what is not true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true." I believe that heart-attitude has great influence in how we learn & what we learn. I used Kierkegaard's quote in this post: "Closed eyes & heard hearts" Heart-attitude is a matter of perspective and will. What is inherent in human nature that makes people unable to see? I mean to perceive. To understand. Which is deeper seeing. It requires discernment. https://www.bebee.com/producer/@fay-vietmeier-pennsylvania/closed-eyes-hard-hearts This thought on learning: "Discovery is it's own reward. ~ me

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #31

Learning is said to be the "Master-skill" in life. “He who learns but does not THINK is lost. He who thinks but does not LEARN is in great danger.” Confucius “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought with ardor & attended with diligence.” Abigail Adams “Try to learn something about everything. Try to learn everything about something.” Huxley “Wisdom is not the product of schooling, but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Einstein Learning is a God-given competency. The desire to learn is a gift. Life-Learners are givers AND receivers. Good students cultivate the ability to THINK .. to think critically .. to examine This will enable you to not "follow blindly" .. or follow blind guides Blessed is the person who knows they don't know or they have much to learn .. As Thoreau said: having arrived there .. now you can begin to learn Albert Einstein explained his genius when he famously said, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Blessed are the CURIOUS Blessed are the thirsty for wisdom & knowledge & truth Blessed are the humble: "those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted" Beware: Cognitive BIAS does BLIND and bind "Knowledge is at our fingertips" ~ Lada Prkic But Truth is the quest

John Rylance

John Rylance

8 months ago #30

#30
Learning is said to be the "Master-skill" in life. If the question asked is " Have you been learning all your life?" The answer we give should be "Not yet" Knowledge is the life blood of our existence.

Fay Vietmeier

Fay Vietmeier

8 months ago #29

Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic I LOVE the image you choose to convey "Illusory Superiority" .. it is PURR-fect ;~) I share your INSIGHT-FULL post on beBee & LI - Our differences do not divide .. we have many things in common I like the chart for: knowledge/competence curve (explains well your point) Learning is said to be the "Master-skill" in life. This is a God-given competency. Life-Learners are givers & receivers. The ability to THINK .. think critically .. examine for yourself (not "follow blindly" .. or follow a blind guide) Blessed is the person who knows they don't know or they have much to learn .. As Thoreau said: having arrived there .. now you can begin to learn Blessed are the CURIOUS Blessed are the thirsty for wisdom & knowledge & truth Blessed are the humble: "those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted" This is truth: Incompetent, overconfident people are at all levels of governments, public institutions, and positions of responsibility in many companies. Humans, in general, tend to overestimate their abilities and knowledge. The truth is each one of us is ignorant in a whole range of areas of knowledge, but most of us have the capacity to learn and gain knowledge and skills over time to become more competent. The "only" problem is how to overcome the misleading assessment of our skills and intellect and have a more realistic view of ourselves. Cognitive BIAS does BLIND and bind "knowledge is at our fingertips" But Truth is the quest

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

8 months ago #28

I published the same post on my blog site on Medium. Debesh Choudhury surprised and honoured me with his comment: "Excellent article Lada. While reading and "highlighting" the texts, I find it such an insightful piece that I have wanted to "highlight" almost the entire article. Thanks for your valuable time to write and share such an informative article." I never brag when someone praises me, but regarding the topic, I found his comment apt to share. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #27

#24
Harvey Lloyd - Enjoyed reading your comment, Harvey. Writing this post also helped me to recognize some of the mentioned biases in myself. It is easier to recognize cognitive biases in others. :) As I said in the post, I spot tendencies to fall toward the self-depreciation in myself sometimes. Many found DKE troubling. As far as I understand, it is not just one effect but a number of related effects that lead to misperception of one's own ability. Many cognitive biases affect our choices and decisions. As with many things in life, there's no clear distinction between right and wrong, good or bad, and not all cognitive biases are perceived as bad. Making choices about something we lack knowledge (or hoping we know something) is sometimes a necessity in getting ahead through life. I would say it happens when hope, intuition, and optimism bias overtake rational decision and risk assessment. Is that DK effect? Probably yes, but sometimes we need to act fast and do what cannot be done otherwise. :-)

Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee

#22
Whooa whoooooa whooooooooa I thought you already are a basket case...

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

9 months ago #25

Here is an idea on how to many beBee more popular among potential users Javier \ud83d\udc1d CR has participated (with his permission of course) and use them to show what a fun and witty place this platform is. Thoughts? :-)

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

9 months ago #24

Thank you for the post Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic it really helped me sort out my thoughts concerning DK effect. Having heard of this effect a few years back i always found it troubling. I dont disagree that some enter into challenging environments with an arrogant confidence. But i sense that DK is a limiting effect on thought. We all, with each passing day, find ourselves in unfamiliar environments. Whether health, financial or relational settings where we must make choices of action. Clearly i lack the knowledge of what to do, but nonetheless must move forward. An observer may see my choices from the DK effect. Although the hard sciences offer some structure to measure the DK effect there is still a lot of unknowns within science that require assumptions as we make forward thinking choices. Is this DK effect? I liked what Pascal Derrien stated in considering humility. This is the deciding factor in my observations of DK. Realizing a decision has to be made but living in an envelope of humility keeps DK away. In my thoughts of considering your post, i would venture to say that DK precludes vision, cutting edge and many other aspects of change and evolution of thought. I cant know everything within all choices. Some of the movement forward can always be labeled DK.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #23

#22
Ken, thank you for the opportunity to learn one more term "basket case". Posting on beBee would be much less enjoyable without your witty and educative comments. 🤗

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

9 months ago #22

#17
Sounds like a little but more knowledge about Pandora’s Box, Lada, could turn me into a ‘basket case’. 🤣

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

9 months ago #21

#3
#9 #5 you anatomically challenged myth-busters, John Rylance, need to know that Achilles eventually accepted on his deathbed that “Time wounds all heels”. 🤗

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #20

#10
Thank you, Paul. :) I send you greetings from Split. :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #19

#7
Thanks, Mohammed. As said, there's a fine line between ignorance and arrogance.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #18

#8
I am not much familiar with the usage of English idioms. I find the term "at your fingertips" appropriate related to the availability of knowledge nowadays. Internet is indeed a window into the world of information, but also I see pitfalls of gaining knowledge only on the Internet. Evaluating the reliability of contents on the web is not easy, and many failed in it. I started to view all websites critically. You cannot depend on the information Wikipedia has provided as being accurate, for example.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #17

#2
Ken, I accidentally removed my comment. As an excellent connoisseur of Greek mythology jokes, I am glad that you pulled that joke out of Pandora's wicker basket. :-)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #16

#6
Thank you for the share, Franci. :) An interesting quote by Molière made me think: An erudite fool is a greater fool than an ignorant fool.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #15

#6
Great quote, Franci. An interesting quote by Mollier made me think: An erudite fool is a greater fool than an ignorant fool.

Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee

#6
Yea, I have that one, too. Fran. I prefer the one I used. I have a graphic for the African one.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #13

#4
Joyce, thank you for commenting. I agree - you can never learn enough. There's no finish line, or as you said, there is no bottom of the rabbit hole of knowledge.

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #12

#2
As an excellent connoisseur of Greek mythology, I would like to quote the words of another Greek hero: "Don't open Pandora's wicker basket." :)

Lada 🏡 Prkic

Lada 🏡 Prkic

9 months ago #11

#1
Thank you, Pascal, for being first to comment and sharing. :) It seems to me sometimes that humility is a forgotten virtue. Being humble also means that you are worth no less than anyone else.

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

9 months ago #10

Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic As always wise words from Split. Also good to see Dunning -Kruger president heading for Florida

Paul Walters

Paul Walters

9 months ago #9

#2
Ken Boddie Dont you mean Achilles knee ?

John Rylance

John Rylance

9 months ago #8

Knowledge is at your fingertips. This is Bill Gates take on this. The term information at your fingerstips, is to remind people what broad role the personal computer will be playing. Its not the computation device, its not the word processing, or spreadsheet device. Its a window onto the world of information. Echoed in this Melinda Gates quote. Philanthropy is not about the money. Its about what resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world. As the British Telecom advert said Let your fingers do the walking. Keep safe.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

9 months ago #7

Insightful post. When ignorance fails to beget confidence, there's apparent arrogance!

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

“A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything.” – African Proverb

John Rylance

John Rylance

9 months ago #5

#2
As I always say to my dog heel boy heel.

Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee

"I have a life motto that I put on my beBee profile page: The more I learn, the more I realize there's still so much more to learn." You are absolutely correct. "It is a foolish man who says he knows it all." "Being a Victim of Illusory Superiority?" The above title is not the problem. The problem is that people no longer read, research, or study. I had stopped for decades before I took it back up. I researched child abuse laws and issues, but never quite went deep enough. Now I am so deep down into the rabbit hole, I can see there is no bottom.

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

Zacharias 🐝 Voulgaris

9 months ago #3

#2
Are you sure about that? I thought the correct term was Hector's elbow :-)

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

9 months ago #2

I’m confident you’ll agree, Lada, that my recently acquired but excellent knowledge of Greek mythology is my Achilles’ elbow.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

9 months ago #1

Humility as a skill.... I have a similar motto I dont know what I dont know ;-)

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