Ever wondered why a bunch of competent folks produce shoddy work or why a large population of educated and intelligent individuals elect or choose nincompoops as their representatives? No, religion and political views have nothing to do with this if we are to believe the research paper,
“Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” appeared in 1999 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
We Indians love to show how an average American on the street is not so bright or may not know enough of the world but have we tried to rectify why a nation of above average individuals have produced poor towns, cities and villages and are unable to find a lasting or appropriate solutions to our problems? Have we, from India, added dramatically to the world in terms of a product or idea? Indians who moved to the Silicon Valley or anywhere outside may have, but think of those who are karma yogis on Indian soil. Even the folks who were touting the trickle down effect, after making the moolah have scooted to pastures which have better infrastructure and quality of life, instead of staying behind and being the change agents one expected them to be.
Two psychologists from Cornell in 1999, had come up with a theory for this, named after themselves, Dunning – Kruger effect. They say that people have an inflated idea about their own capabilities and the lack of knowledge gets them to stay in that rut instead of doing something about it. How can I fix something that I don’t believe is broken?
The Dunning- Kruger effect further states that incompetent people also tend to choose others like them to hold office or position, perpetuating the situation further. Perhaps this is the phenomenon we observe in many parts of the world today or perhaps this has been prevalent for centuries past and only now a theory has been found for it, I can’t tell.
An Assocham study on quality of MBAs produced in India, found that only 7 percent of those passing out are fit for employment. The other 93 percent are not even aware what they lack as they are too enamored themselves with the useless certificate they hold. This effect says that if we are not even good at grammar and spellings and how to express our views how can we analyze why our writing/communication is bad? This requires certain amount of knowledge to identify where the problem lies. If I’m not self critical or don’t accept criticism with a desire to improve, how can I change for the better?
Is it surprising then that true achievers, find it easy to identify their failings and what needs improvement while the incompetent remain blissful in their own ignorance?