Between Stupidity and Wisdom

There’s a name for people who are too stupid to know they are stupid. The Dunning–Kruger effect. Incompetent people are blind to their own incompetence. People who haven’t led think leading is easy. (David Dunning and Justin Kruger were smart enough to research this in 1999.)

You haven’t learned anything unless you’re a fool. Wisdom is always learning. We live between stupidity and wisdom, always.

You haven't learned anything unless you're a fool. Wisdom is always learning. Image of a child in wonder.

Wise practices:

#1. Repeat stupidity.

Don’t correct people when they say stupid things. Repeat it. If they see how dumb they sound, there is hope. Try saying, “Maybe I’m missing something. (Repeat their suggestion.) Ask, “How does what you said solve the issue we’re working to resolve?”

#2. Patience isn’t endorsement.

Believe people can be better. Don’t affirm incompetence. Try saying…

  1. You have more in you.
  2. That’s good, you can do better.
  3. What else might solve this?
  4. If you couldn’t do that, what might you try?

#3. Wisdom speaks with confidence not bravado.

Experience never pretends hard things are easy. Braggarts lead people into disaster.

Confidence is quiet. The voice of experience knows we rise after stumbling.

The voice of experience instructs, protects, affirms, challenges, and smacks you in the face (sometimes all at once).

#4. Folly obsesses.

Wisdom sees its own warts and moves on. We waste away cowering to a loud inner critic.

It’s easier to honor others when you accept your own warts.

#5. It’s about you.

Your responses are about you, not others.

Things that delight you reveal you. Things that irritate you expose your values.

Connect your attitudes and behaviors to the quality of your life. Don’t blame others for the misery you carry. People influence the quality of your life; you determine the final outcome.

Which of the above principles seem most applicable to you today?

Still curious:

How Fools and Novices Gain Wisdom

How to Stumble Toward Wisdom and Find Success

Techniques To Develop Wisdom Over Time