The Dun­ning-Krueger ef­fect is one of the most paralysing ef­fects on a per­son’s life. And it can af­fect any­one. This ef­fect is a bias that comes as a form of an il­lu­sion, where the per­son af­fected by it tends to think that he is su­pe­rior in a cer­tain abil­ity when in ac­tual fact, he is be­low par. It be­comes even more dan­ger­ous when some­one op­er­at­ing un­der this bias acts in a man­age­ment or lead­er­ship ca­pac­ity that af­fects the lives of many oth­ers, es­pe­cially when we think of reper­cus­sions in domino/rip­ple ef­fect terms, un­in­tended con­se­quences, and so forth. Therein lies the ques­tion of how we can ef­fec­tively rid our­selves of this bias be­fore it be­comes too pro­nounced, and the weight of the con­se­quences too heavy to bear. Some have sur­rounded them­selves with com­pe­tent, smart peo­ple in the hope of can­celling their weak­nesses through them. While this is an ex­cel­lent ap­proach, it might just work only if we know what we don’t know. How­ever, this bias lies also in un­con­scious in­com­pe­tence – we don’t know what we don’t know, and think we do know it well enough. Per­haps it would be apt at this junc­ture to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. that “noth­ing in all the world is more dan­ger­ous than sin­cere ig­no­rance and con­sci­en­tious stu­pid­ity”. In­deed, the con­se­quences of un­con­scious stu­pid­ity can be far more dam­ag­ing. It all boils down to hu­mil­ity and honor, two fun­da­men­tal traits that we com­monly ig­nore. In a world that cel­e­brates the self-made man and idol­izes the he­roes of stel­lar suc­cesses, we may just be miss­ing out on the sub­tleties that made them all hap­pen. When we think Ap­ple, we im­me­di­ately at­tribute suc­cess to Steve Jobs and al­most im­me­di­ately, for­get the hun­dreds of peo­ple on his team who made it all pos­si­ble. Ditto Alibaba-Jack Ma. Ditto Tesla-Elon Musk. It is only when we be­gin to look at our­selves and re­al­ize the finite­ness of our be­ings, our cog­ni­tive lim­i­ta­tions, the in­suf­fi­ciency of our per­sonal abil­i­ties that we now de­velop an em­pa­thetic hu­mil­ity. This crit­i­cal abil­ity places us on a bet­ter tra­jec­tory be­cause we now look to hon­our­ing oth­ers be­cause each per­son rep­re­sents pos­si­bly com­ple­ment­ing gifts and abil­i­ties, the very ones that we solely lack and could not pos­si­bly know our­selves un­til we con­nect with them. We live in a hy­per­con­nected world, and it is the tech­nolo­gies in this dig­i­tal age that flat­ten out how we con­nect with one another. This dou­ble-edged sword would mean that our in­com­pe­tence and com­pe­tence alike get mag­ni­fied and most def­i­nitely pub­li­cized in a rapid man­ner. Per­haps we can be­gin with, firstly, defin­ing the scope of our ob­jec­tives, what we hope to ac­com­plish. Then tap on our pri­mary and se­condary net­works, and even be­yond, to bring in those who know bet­ter about what we don’t. As they bring their knowl­edge and ex­per­tise to bear, we need to humbly ar­tic­u­late our lim­i­ta­tions and honor what they bring to the ta­ble. This places us as stu­dents at the feet of one who is greater at what he does than what we can do. Then ask. Ask away in a So­cratic fash­ion. In this safe plat­form, ig­no­rance can be dis­played and shifted from the un­con­scious to the con­scious. An ac­tive learn­ing takes place, and you leave the ex­change em­pow­ered. To deal with our Dun­ning-Kruegers, we need the twin en­gines of hu­mil­ity and honor. No man is an is­land, and the self-made per­son of suc­cess is a myth. We all need a par­a­digm shift in per­spec­tive.

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