The Illusion of Confidence (Part One)

The more you know, the more you realize how little you know!

The Illusion of Confidence (Part One)

We, humans, have the tendency to overestimate our abilities. People who are incompetent, that is, who have a low ability at a particular task may overestimate their ability to do that task. For instance, if we ask a teacher with low expertise to rate his teaching skills, he will most likely rate it at a high number. This is called the Dunning-Kruger Effect and it makes people unable to recognize their mistakes.

cat looks lion in the mirror

Why does this happen? Well, incompetency in people steals from them the ability to recognize mistakes as this ability is similar to the incompetency of those people. In simpler words, if one lacks the ability for a task, then one also lacks the ability to recognize their lack in those tasks. This is called Illusory Superiority. You don’t even know so much to be able to realize how little you know! It may be that those people who call themselves experts may not be so. Sometimes, those who flaunt their skills do not actually have the skills. This can be because those who have the genuine knowledge or skills are more modest about those skills as compared to those who have a portion of that knowledge or skills. 

psychological message

Similarly, those people who are competent may feel the opposite of what incompetent people feel. If a teacher has the skills and expertise of teaching, she may underestimate her ability to teach as she may assume that if she can do it, everyone can do it. When people do have the skills for a task, they are under the illusion that everyone can do what they can do. This is called the Imposter Syndrome. See the picture below! Ironic, isn’t it?

psychological message

So how do we know when we are under an illusion of confidence in our abilities? And when is it okay to call ourselves an expert? Stay tuned for the next article to find out!

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