I read through the book. Cramming each and every page, my eyes laser-focused, and it seemed like I could understand and remember each of the topics being discussed. The clocks read 11:30 pm, tomorrow exactly at 09:00 am was my exam date, so I went immediately to sleep, thinking that I’m ready after only 5 days of book-cramming.
The next day, I arrived at the exam hall, full of confidence. The proctor gave me the exam sheet and shortly later, she rang the bell. The exam has already started.
So I looked at the questions, still holding to my confidence that I am going to make it perfect as I was able to understand the materials last night. So I carefully read the questions:
№1. Please Explain How did the Beauty Industry was affected by globalization, and how did it help the Western idea of democracy to transcend across multiple layers of cultures around the world?
Damnn, I thought I did understand that part? What did I miss?
Confidence, It Matters!
Confidence is a good sign that you believed in yourself, your own ability, and that you know your worth. Many would say that confidence is among the important building blocks toward success. Which successful people would doubt and ponder on their abilities before starting the task that will ultimately make them successful?
The importance of confidence is strongly ingrained among the minds of many people. So many emphasize its importance. Even in the romantic scene, lack of self-confidence can be a turn-off for some people.
However, one should know the true potential of confidence. The ultimate weapon we call “confidence” turned to be a double-edged sword that is ready to slash those who are delusional to it.
When Confidence Becomes an Illusion.
The double-edged sword has the potential to create chaos and stabs its owner if it came from the wrong way.
President Donald Trump was confident that the United States would endure the Covid-19 crisis in a few months, and that his administration was prepared for it. “This was unexpected. … And it hit the world. And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away,” tweet him early in March when Coronavirus case was reported in the US. He continuously blew the mind of people as he made excuses and excuses to his ill-prepped measures as the number of cases crept up rapidly, and mind-bogglingly continuing to hold the belief that he had managed the administration well.
There are just many example cases where seemingly incompetent individuals hold to the belief that they are capable, confidently asserting that their ability exceeds what the reality is. This is when the sense of confidence became a double-edged sword that instead of slashing through the enemy of fear and reluctance, stabs its own beholder.
The Mechanism Behind False Confidence
The culprit is pretty straightforward if you’ve already been reading a lot about psychology.
We as humans have a unique system to measure one’s own life. We continuously assess our life, by gauging our own capabilities or experiences with a benchmark, usually our previous capabilities, in order to measure one own progress in life and ensuring one’s ability to continuously upgrade and thrive.
This self-assessment also happens when we learned something new. The problem becomes apparent, as learning new knowledge meant that there are no benchmarks, nor information regarding how to effectively assess the new capabilities. This can distort the extent to which one self-reflect, and create an illusion of mastery at the very beginning of the learning process.
Hence, this shock of new knowledge can create a false sense of confidence, one that bites oneself, considering the very little amount of actual knowledge harnessed.
This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect, and this explains why so many who seem to hold little knowledge are too confident to boast it.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
As previously mentioned, the first time you garner knowledge, the non-existence of benchmarks to evaluate your own new knowledge and capabilities led to overconfidence. This will dissipate as you gain more and more information relevant to it, and as you know more, you will realize the how much you don’t actually know, hence the drop in confidence as you enter this stage.
However, as you continuously learn and learn, you will regain your sense of confidence as you now truly have full information regarding the subject. Now you enter the phase of “true confidence”, where you really do know and master the subject, and also realizing your limitations to it if any.
Hence, your confidence can serve as a warning to you. You can either be on the “true confidence” stage where you actually understand the matter, but on the other hand, there’s also a chance that you are in the “false confidence” stage, full of ignorance and not knowing it.
Therefore, it is a matter of understanding who you truly are, how you master the subject, and how you project your confidence. A truly effective weapon against any life’s odds can also backfire at any certain time. Knowing when confidence is a false one, is crucial.
If you’re new to certain knowledge or expertise, expand yours first before you can argue or judge. Better, listen to your peers with full respect. No need to argue or to disparage others, even at the latter stage of the Dunning-Kruger curve. Respect is the key, and only with respect will your confidence can actually become a weapon to enhance your life.