Contemplating Dunning-Kruger.

December 13, 2022

I've been contemplating the Dunning-Kruger effect and it's caused a bit of anxiety.

I've been contemplating the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias whereby people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a certain type of task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge. Some researchers also include in their definition the opposite effect for high performers: their tendency to underestimate their skills.

This idea boils down to the fact that I'm knowledgeable in a very few specific niches and in many other silos prob not the best.

Furthermore, I think the more we loathe something the more likely we are to overestimate our ability and thus show more carelessness to that specific topic.

For instance, I bought a house for all the typical reasons but also as an investment. Later though I learned that I prefer a digital nomad lifestyle. And thus this investment has turned out a be a bit of a headache. I'm not a great home seller, more because I loath the home and thus want to think about it as little as possible.

Or in a common case engineers love to build a startup but may not know they should be validating it first and building it's brand.

An Analogy

An analogy for the feeling I was having while contemplating the Dunning Kurgger the effect is as follows.

Every person gets a view of the same stage but we are all viewing the performance with different lights on and off.

Thus each person has a specific view of a situation such as business or interpersonal relationships etc.

The anxiety I felt though is as successful as I've been, I've allowed myself to drift from my main goals (Successful Business/Financial Freedom/Art) which I now realize maybe because I lack the knowledge and insight to make these dreams and goals a success (although things like chance still play into this).

A solution in our analogy

The goal here would be increasing you're IQ/EQ/Knowledge resulting in more illuminated lights on stage, we could also think about each light or field of thought/knowledge to be brighter the higher percentile performer you are but never quite covering lesser lights.

On increasing the stage lights.

Now this contemplation in me lead to a bit of anxiety. Figuring out

Short Form Read and Writing

I'd have to say short-form learning through reading or media consumption (think Twitter or TikTok) does not lead to critical thought and is more passive consumption or regurgitation of ideas.

Long-Form Reading

One activity successful people have is reading. Getting into this mindset allows our brain to slow down and digest complex ideas in a way that doom scrolling and manic switching between social media apps doesn't allow for.

Long-Form Writing

Lastly, I think communication of ideas in the modern world such as tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram stories/posts and TikTok, etc do not serve in illuminating our stage.

Each idea is condensed to its most myopic form and then thrown into a blender for our consumption leading us to bounce between echo chamber rooms of thought without ever forming any novel ideas.