In a classic study, 80 percent of surveyed drivers ranked their driving skills as “above average.” The tendency to over-estimate our own skills is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
In essence, this effect means the less skilled we are at something, the less likely we are to recognize how unskilled we truly are. (Tweet it!) We overestimate our abilities, and, worse still, our blind spot assures that we never know what we need to correct.
On the flip side is the Imposter Syndrome: Those who are exceptionally skilled at something can sometimes assume everyone else is at their level, making them unaware of their exceptional abilities. And the better we get at something, the more likely we are to see how much we can improve, which can lead us to underestimate ourselves.
How can we gain a realistic view of our capabilities? Writing in the The New York Times, editor Tim Herrara suggests two strategies:
Can you think of an instance where you overestimated or underestimated yourself? How did you do a reality check? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion