Sunday 3 April 2022

Knowing not to be confident in your incompetence

So, you think you are good?

When you think about it and discretion prevents you from speaking the truth just to spare their blushes or a feeling of despondency, many people are not as good at what they think they are good at. Aspects of expression or demonstration that they deploy can be so bad that if you do not have the form of words of a gentle let down, you endure the spectacle and move on.

Talk about dancing and everyone has a way they believe they can move to the music and too many of us do think we are good dancers with dare I say, a sense of rhythm, but when observed by someone else that has an idea of what dancing is about, they probably would not shove you off the dancefloor, even if what they are observing might haunt them thereafter.

In confidence, we perform

This kind of thinking comes with a sense of bravado or even confidence, but confidence is not expertise even as expertise might well exude confidence. Like when a colleague demonstrated a scenario to Microsoft to refocus our minds on what we were trying to resolve, I was more than impressed by the clarity of expression, the detail of the process, and the explanation of the issue that no one could be in any doubt about what we wanted doing. This man is good, I thought, he knows what he is doing, and he is doing it well.

Then I think of certain other situations like when someone was approached in a sauna by a quite self-assured masseuse, or so they thought, then whatever informed the person to take the offer I cannot tell, but from the first touch, as was narrated to me, there was nothing in the realm of all possible massage techniques in what they did, the hands were rough and might well have been attuned to masonry or at a smithery, but not on any human body, a polite and abrupt stop was called for.

If I were in that situation and that person could read my mind, and I am glad my mind is not such an open book when it should be, the person would have sought therapy at the ready excoriation that could have proceeded from my lips, and that would have been tempered with structure and consideration because my sobriety to a large extent bridles my tongue.

The conceit of stupid

It leads me to another aspect of confidence which is in fact, folly, and this is of people who use their phones whilst in control of a vehicle or when walking in a crowded area. Too many think they can concentrate on one thing while doing another.

Whether it is writing or reading messages on a phone, or listening to and participating in a conversation, these are serious distractions from driving and walking through a crowd that requires high levels of concentration and spatial awareness these other activities divide your concentration and might consequentially make you bad at all the activities, even if excellence could be demonstrated in your doing one activity at any one time.

I prefer to concentrate

Maybe people are good at multitasking, or they believe they are, I would rather time slice, apportioning time to one activity and then the next, frequently reviewing what I am doing and gauging the progress, keeping tabs on how much is accomplished for each of the things being done. I prefer to concentrate and that is why when I am out and about, I would only take calls on my phone if I have found a place to sit down.

On my walks too, I see a lot of people with their headphones or earbuds on, music going into their ears at volumes that exclude externalities they will encounter whilst jogging. As I have seen too many inconsiderate road users, drivers, cyclists, those on e-scooters and even plain pedestrians totally unaware of who is around them or what is happening around them, accidents happen.

I stopped wearing headphones and listening to music whilst out walking a long time ago, because I needed to know, see, and hear what was going on around me for my own safety and in consideration of others.

In a world of the world

Even when riding bicycles in The Netherlands, I only had an earpiece in one ear, for the same reason that I wanted to know what was happening around me. You cannot just feel you are in a world of your own when you are out in the world.

We all have mutual public space responsibilities to prevent walking into each other along with preventing other mishaps. I commend those who have amazing abilities, but I would err on the side of caution, when I see overconfidence, that person is probably prone to error and invariably puts us all at risk. 

We should get better at what we claim to be able to do, but also understand the limits of our abilities, however, more pertinently, seeking to impress when what you do is hardly impressive, neither helps you nor the others you are trying to impress. In jocular or informal and private settings, maybe, but otherwise, in public, formal, professional, or serious situations where lives and much else could be impacted, curtail and curb your enthusiasm.

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