D-K Thoughts

Misfires and Light Strikes has a post up on expertise and the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  Some folks argue about the accuracy of the chart that’s at the top of Kevin’s page; that’s not what I’m rambling about today.  The chart’s useful for illustrating my point, regardless of the accuracy/ sourcing of the original chart.  Here’s a screenshot and my comment:


The chart’s been making the rounds on the internet lately, it’s mostly being used to call folks who don’t agree with you stupid.  The election’s turned the volume up to 11 re: its use since November.  Not terribly productive IMO, but it is what it is.  However, I’m using it now as an illustration of Impostor Syndrome.  I’ve seen 70% kicked around as the number of people who’ve experienced Impostor Syndrome.

As Admiral Ackbar said, “It’s a trap!”  This stuff’s truly dangerous, it can send you down an unrecoverable slide to rock bottom.  Don’t let it get you; if you’ve always felt like a complete fraud who just hasn’t been caught yet it’ll eventually bite you in the ass.   After I separated from my previous career I let myself fall into a frighteningly deep pit of despair.  I know I was been damn good at business functions, but I’d convinced myself that since I was a total failure at that job, I must not be capable of anything better than carrying stuff and following simple orders.

I’m coming out of that particular funk thanks to time, reading Scott Adams’ How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, and starting to read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.  Scott got me thinking about failing upward and building and recognizing your specific talent stack.  Mark’s third chapter pointed out that you can slip into an entitlement mentality by convincing yourself “I suck and the of you are all awesome, so I deserve special treatment.”  I’d always thought of an entitlement mentality as referring specifically and only to people who think their shit doesn’t stink and they deserve the best of the best without doing any work to get there.  The flip side (thinking your special and deserve the best of the best due to your suffering) is just as bad.

Everyone struggles and has 4:00am near-or-actual panic attacks from time to time when things go badly.  The trick’s to cowboy up and realize that you’re not a special snowflake.  You just have to overcome it, stop the movie in your head (another of Scott’s concepts) from going bad, and move the hell on.

(h/t to Robb Allen @ Sharp as a Marble)

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