How To Know If You Are Suffering From Dunning-Kruger

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a plague that strangles the progress of humanity. It is the fact that those who suck overestimate their ability, while those who don’t underestimate their ability.

Dunning-Kruger is what keeps money flowing to the confident and inept, only for these funds to be set ablaze in a bonfire of incompetence. Once the fire is out, a new flame burns as the cycle repeats. Those who possess true skill often do not have the self confidence to start their own fire. Perhaps this is why we don’t have our flying car.

How do you know if you suffer from Dunning-Kruger? By definition, nobody really knows; both parties are oblivious. The key is in the second element of the hypothesis: those who lack skill fail to recognize it in others.

If you’ve been responsible for a direct hire, how did that person turn out? If you’ve recommended people for jobs, how have they performed? Perhaps the only way to recognize if you are a Dunning-Kruger sufferer is to use this test to see whether you can identify true skill in others.

How do I fare? After a cursory assessment of candidates I’ve interviewed and people I’ve recommended for positions, I think I’ve got a pretty good track record. The majority of the individuals and firms I’ve recommended to others have done exceedingly well at their jobs. Also, my reservations about those I’ve interviewed have been largely proven true–At least when dealing with my own area of expertise.

I like to say that I’m just smart enough to know I’m a complete idiot. But, when it comes to Dunning-Kruger, It’s not enough to be humble. You could be faking it.

8 thoughts on “How To Know If You Are Suffering From Dunning-Kruger

  1. Wow lol makes me wonder am i really inept and just bloating my self confidence like some sort of egocentric blowfish or am I more capable than I realize and just unaware of my degree of potential ? I’ll definitely have to go back and observe my talent evaluation skills!

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  4. Actually, by definition, EVERYBODY has Dunning-Kruger on some subjects. Nobody is really smart about every subject in the world. And if the theory is correct, we’ll never know which subjects we are doing the “Dunning-Kruger dance” to. (I have to credit This American Life episode 585, “In Defense of Ignorance” for the term Dunning-Kruger dance. In that episode they interviewed David Dunning.)

  5. You can not realise you were a sleep until you wake up…
    when ever you saw someone better than you in any case, however, your gratitude or denial will define, either you have Dunning-Kruger syndrome or not…

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