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Unskilled and Unaware

Posted on 9 April 2012

What have we done to improve ourselves lately ?

Some years ago, Cornell University published a somewhat technical paper, titled

“ Unskilled and Unaware of it :

How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated Self-Assessment - “.

They say -

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.

It is one of the essential features of such incompetence that the person so afflicted is incapable of knowing that he is incompetent. To have such knowledge would already be to remedy a good portion of the offense.

What this research shows is simply that we don’t know what we don’t know, but we often assume that we do know.

More importantly, that once we recognise that we are lacking knowledge or skills in a particular area, we have already started doing something about it.

We have to stay mindful of acknowledging to ourselves that we do not have all the answers and have open minds about our own skills and abilities.

Socrates claimed that the only knowledge he had, was that of his own ignorance, we should maybe examine what we claim for ourselves.


Click below for a view on

Where we pitch our expections of ourselves and others ?






Tags: Getting What You Want -


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