Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Nathan Bransford posted a blog on this, so if you want to read my opinion on it, I suggest reading this first:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=5334836757176538347&postID=5175352585904180120

In any case, for the most part, I can see how the Dunning-Kruger Effect would hold some truth to it. However, it's my belief that those who think they TRULY suck wouldn't be getting better at all. In fact, I don't think they'd be doing it at all. I suck/hate drawing (realism drawing); therefore, why would I want to improve? Deep down, people who keep writing don't actually believe they suck, but keep telling themselves that because they are embarassed to think otherwise, to think they can actually improve and are improving. People who keep trying are just putting on this illusion that they think they suck. I'm certain, deep down, they are just uncertain and would rather not say whether or not they suck.

That's how I am. I know I'm good, but when I do a piece of writing, I put my mindset on neutral so I can become open to criticism. I do not think that the piece sucks, but I also do not think the piece is good. I let my beta readers decide all that for me.

Does this mean I don't have my self-doubt moments? No, but it's rare that I do doubt myself. I've had them before, about once last year, but it quickly passed. I can say from experience, though, that during that self-doubt moment, I didn't want to write at all. I just didn't believe I could do it well.

I suppose it differs for everyone, though. If I believe I suck, I'm not going to bother getting better at it. But if I go in with confidence and a neutral mindset about my abilities, I do get better at it. I also think I just have to love what I'm doing. I suck at realism drawing, and I hate it. I think there's a common connection there. Yet, I love writing, and I'm getting better at it, and I know I don't suck.

There is a difference between confidence and arrogance, which Dunning-Kruger fails to mention. I think if you want to get good, you absolutely need to have confidence. Of course, if you think you're great and don't need to improve, you probably aren't that good.

I'm confident, not arrogant. Don't be afraid to have confidence in what you do. Just realize that you can keep improving and getting better. I'm certain Stephen King doesn't think he sucks, but I also believe he's aware he can keep improving.

10 comments:

Emilia Plater said...

Love this post. I remember reading something about how the key to having a "passion" is really just... being good at something. You might dislike x, but once you get insanely good at x, well, you're going to start liking it a lot more, aren't you? Anyway, awesome thoughts. :)

notadoor said...

Well, that's not quite what the Dunning-Kruger effect is. The Dunning-Kruger effect is the idea that beginners (or non-experts) have an inflated idea of their own ability and knowledge, whereas people with more experience have a more realistic understanding of their ability and knowledge.

Basically, experienced writers are considerably more modest than beginning writers, because they're more tuned into the nuances of writing; their standards are higher. A beginning artist may be excited and pleased because they managed to draw a 3-d box and shade it; an experienced artist is not only taking on much more complex material, but is much more critical of their efforts.

In a nutshell: Dunning-Kruger suggests that amateurs tend to assume they're better than they really are.

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