Do I know as much as I think I know?
As humans we tend to overestimate our worth in terms of knowledge, poise, performance and in many other aspects; and we underestimate the value of our opponents who could be our competitors, our environment and other external factors. This is possibly one of the main reasons why we might get more offended by negative criticism.
In many instances, we use a heuristic approach to doing things, where we miscalculate processes, which eventually results in inaccurate subsequent outcomes. Last month I had applied for a scholarship at the university. I knew that there was only one other student who had applied for the same award. I took it for granted that the award was ‘made for me’ and I had all the credentials to receive it, so I gave little attention to the details of my application and submitted it, overflowing with optimism. The results came out 3 days ago, and it turned out that the other guy got the award. I had overestimated my potential and underestimated all the external factors that played a huge effect on the outcome. The most important takeaway I got from this was to identify what went wrong and how I could prevent this from happening again. I should’ve ensured that I accounted for all the extreme possibilities, rather than focussing only on my optimism and surety of my calculations. I should’ve also paid more heed to the process of applying and ensuring that it was up to standard, rather than assume the possible outcome. Eventually, I was the one who lost out in the process.
The effect of over-confidence could fall on people around us as well. Convincing people of something you think you are absolutely sure about could be risky because we might think we know, but little do we know of how much we know. People might stop believing us if we were to repeatedly make the wrong judgments. Therefore, it is always useful to take others’ comments with “a pinch of salt”, i.e. not to blindly believe what others have to say.