Bertrand Russell once said “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt”.
Interesting! What’s with this? We keep hearing all the time about how confidence is so treasured and valued. It’s the key to success, whatever that means
And here we have some of the wisest and the seriously accomplished people that have ever walked the planet talk of the doubt. Darwin said, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
In psychology, there’s a very interesting concept - The Dunning Kruger Effect which is a cognitive bias according to which people with low ability have an illusion about superiority. This technically means that “incompetent” people have no idea about what they lack and hence consider themselves to be one of the smartest. According to these two psychologists from Cornell (David Dunning & Justin Krugner), this occurs” where people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyze their performance, leading to a significant overestimation of themselves.”
Remember, exam time during school days when we asked people how the paper went. The laziest or the people who studied the least always said the paper was awesome and the bookworms always were disappointed. Filled with anxiety and doubt.
Result time: the lazy ones would look sheepishly and the bookworms, a long sigh, a relief but never jubilation!!!!
The Dunning Kruger effect is also called Mount Stupid, any guesses why?
On a more serious note, let’s not get anxious when we have days of self-doubting and a poignant sense of restless. It’s probably the beginning of a new journey. It’s also the birthing of the creative process. Go with it. It takes courage.
As for the people who are always “cocksure” . Good for them! They will probably never go through the pain of feeling lost but might never discover anything magical.
As Einstein said, “only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”