Dunning Kruger Effect
We have all met the "know it all" untrained and oblivious half wit that's so enamored with their mediocrity that they fail to see any potential shortcomings.
If you're unaware of the Dunning-Kruger effect what's the likelihood that you will actually watch the 6 minute long video I've so graciously linked above? That is of course if you're even present at this juncture of this post, you might have assumed from the title that it sounds like you're about to get lectured and that's not what you're here for..
Let's assume a few of you brave souls have made it this far and are thinking I'm aware of the effect and thus have no reason to continue reading now that you know, you know enough about this phenomenon. Fair enough, but being that I'm not even sure where this subject will lead me, I can only postulate that it's impossible for you to know what you think you will or will not know from having this experience with me.
Did you know that data suggests 88% of drivers think they are better drivers than everyone else? Furthermore, in the highly esteemed world of academia professors are not even immune to this effect. By assuming they know more than their colleagues a whopping 94% of these intelligent and highly educated individuals believe they're better at professing than the other doctorate having published person down the hall..
It doesn't take a math wizard to realise that these numbers don't add up.
I suppose I should drop a definition in case you're hanging around my post still so here you go.
In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.
I'll use myself as an example: I started seriously being serious about learning how to play the guitar at around age 14. I suppose it must have been my ego and or prideful nature that wouldn't entertain the practical notion of taking lessons from someone that was qualified. I had the internet after all and my ear was good enough to play most things I heard and if I was stupefied I'd look up a tab or chart to get me in the ballpark.. FYI 90% of all tab and guitar charts online are incorrect because, drumroll???? That's right they're made by other people and nobody is impervious to the principles of the Dunning Kruger effect.
So by age 17 I'm having moments where I'm convinced I'm hot shit, after all I'm aware most of the morons online suck and I'm better than everyone I've ever met personally up to this point. My arrogance peeked the interest of my older brother that was already an accomplished semi professional bass player at the age of 21. He invited me to come along to "jam" with the jazz school guys he ran around with and it took all of 10 seconds to realise I'm actually pretty average at guitar. Even more crushing the heroes that I had been emulating turned out to be what I now call specialists in their chosen field.. The power of practicing and studying with humbled professionals that knew full well they'd never master this one instrument was the greatest lesson I've ever received in music. Knowing that there will always be someone much better than you to learn from is perhaps more important than any theory or training one can pursue.
A common theme I've noticed among the elite is an awareness of their limitations and a desire to keep learning.. One of my most favourite guitarists and composers of all time, Frank Zappa was asked if he thought he was a great guitarist? He replied, that he had a knowledge of the mechanics of the instrument and had specialised in taking chances. His best skill was not being afraid to fall on his face while improvising..
I'm going to try to wrap this up by leaving you with a quote from one of the greatest minds ever to walk amongst mortals.. Michelangelo may not have actually said this, who can know for sure but the message is what's important.
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