Thursday, March 10, 2011

We're Over-Confident

Confidence about our knowledge is widespread, and often an indicator that we know what we're doing, but, mostly, we vastly over-estimate how much we know about the world around us and how things in that world work.  We distill a lot of information down into manageable stories and points that are necessary for us to operate without overtaxing our brains all of the time, but part of that deal is that we have a lot less of an idea of what's going on around us than we think we do. 

This can be a tremendously empowering point if taken in the right light.  Being confident signals expertise and knowledge to other people, and it can get us to higher status positions on sheer will alone, that's true.  I'm not saying we should forsake all confidence in an effort to be somehow more real.  What' I am saying, though, is that it is beneficial to try to step back from a situation and ask basic questions--that, since so many people are faking half of their knowledge (again, not out of some malicious intent, but because they honestly believe themselves regarding their own accuracy), asking basic questions might be frowned upon socially but might be able to yield higher levels of descriptive accuracy in the end, which might further allow better decision-making in the future.

No comments: