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  • Writer's pictureJay Ashcroft

The Dunning Kruger Effect: What it is, and How We Can Use It To our Benefit


a photo of philosophical thoughts for a blog written mindset hacker for small business and being an entrepreneur using your subconscious mind and trusting your gut, how to look back to move forward, being aware of the dunning kruger effect

Everyone is great at that one thing, when they first start. And I mean, great. It’s been measured time and time again across an infinite number of fields of play. But what is this called? And what does it mean?

 

It’s called the Dunning Kruger Effect, and it’s pretty cool, actually. It’s a cognitive bias, in which we can see individuals who lack knowledge or skill, so they overestimate their abilities. Now, the way I’d like to look at this is through the lens of someone who’s starting a new career, or building a new business.

 

Success tends to come quickly, especially if it’s one of those cases where it’s the individual’s life purpose. However – after the initial success and excitement of the endeavour wears off, the performance, quality and success quickly drops off. The individual then needs to actually learn what they’re doing and how to do it.

 

They then need to earn their right to remain in the game they’ve chosen for themselves. Case in point, it’s the concept of fake it ‘til you make it.

 

This is such a powerful argument for the importance of our mindset! We can literally trick ourselves into believing that we’re great at something, simply because we’re excited about it – until we inevitably catch on, realizing that we know nothing. We start to realize “Oh, wow. There’s actually a lot more to this than I thought… Maybe I can’t do it.”

 

It’s at this point in time where our performance drops, because we begin to question ourselves.

 

You see, at the start it’s nothing but wins. We start at zero and it’s up and up and up. But you can only climb so high before the summit runs out. We reach that plateau and have a moment to look around. We absorb our surroundings.

 

Now at this point in time, we have a decision to make. Am I going to continue on with the endeavour, or am I going to jump onto something new? This is a massive new age problem, as due to the internet, we can learn more and more about new things whenever we want to.

 

We commit, get excited, accomplish a fair bit, fall off because we realize it’s actually hard – and then start something new. This cycle repeats – if we let it.

 

Now, how can we use the Dunning Kruger Effect to our benefit? Well, we can simply use it as a metric to judge whether or not we should be doing something. You see, if we’re really excited about a new direction we’ve taken in our career, and we’re unstoppable – that’s awesome.

 

We’re climbing and succeeding every day, but then one day – we start to fall off. Well, we can simply remind ourselves that it’s only the Dunning Kruger Effect, and then begin the real work.

 

Real accomplishments come in the form of self-education. If we want to experience the lasting benefits of a job well done, then we need to educate ourselves on the things that we take interest in.

 

When I think about my own career, I see this all across the board. Every single time I would level up – this would happen, without fail.

 

It started when I was a wedding photographer for my mentor. I was the best of the best – no one could shoot better than me! And soon after, the reality of consistency reared its ugly head.

 

I learned videography and found success with it quickly. And then realized 6 short months later that “Oh wow, if I want to continue on here, I really need to be different – I need to offer something special to keep the clients coming in.”

 

So then I became obsessed with self-education.

 

You see, once you’ve chosen your path – your only goal should be to defeat these lulls in performance and growth. And how do we do this? We continue to learn more and more about what we do – and become an authority in our industry.

 

This means that to read books, take seminars, sign up for online courses, and have conversations with clients and associates is the clear path to growth and success.

 

The road to mental and financial freedom is not a simple one, and our accomplishments can easily be weighed against our commitments to the learning and growth required to rise to the top.

 

How will you use the Dunning Kruger Effect to your benefit?

 

To Your Success,

Jay Ashcroft

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