Do you ever have an idea that keeps popping up, like when someone mentions Popeyes and then ads for chicken sandwiches follow you around the internet?
Recently, the Dunning-Kruger effect has been popping up a lot for me.
Verywell Mind sums it up well:
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence.
Though this exact definition is new to me, the concept isn’t. Growing up, my father summed it up like this: you don’t know what you don’t know.
The message is clear–you have to know your limitations to improve upon them. And unfortunately, some people underestimate them.
If you ask anyone how good of a driver he is, he’ll tell you pretty good. Better than average. But then you remember that one time he gave you a ride and it was like Fast and Furious without the muscle cars and special effects.
So how can we combat the Dunning-Kruger effect? Not that you are affected by it, or me… well wait a minute…
Research shows that we are all susceptible at times–no one’s perfect.
But people can learn to see their own incompetence as they understand more about the topic in which they’re incompetent.
The kryptonite to the Dunning-Kruger effect is curiosity.
When you approach any topic or problem with curiosity, you avoid the assumptions that hold you back.
This is easy when you’re learning something new. You don’t claim to be fluent in Spanish after two Duolingo lessons.
It’s harder to remain curious in other areas–even though this is where we need it most.
But by taking a perspective of true curiosity, we come with questions instead of answers.
You might even be surprised at what you learn.
To being better without being a real-life Michael Scott,