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Both, the Dunning-Kruger Effect and Odo Marquard’s term truly inspire to personal reflection.


Over the last few months, an effect and a term have come to mind through my reading, listening, watching, observing.


People with limited knowledge or competence have a tendency to overestimate their own knowledge or competence. They often i) overestimate themselves, ii) misunderstand the competence of others, and iii) fail to recognize their own gaps and a need to educate themselves and acquire knowledge.

Dunning-Kruger Effect. David Dunning/Justin Kruger. Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments" (2000, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)


The term “Incompetence Compensation Competence” has been characterized by the German philosopher Odo Marquard in a keynote in 1973. He describes self-ironically the situation of philosophy in the present. You don’t have to know everything; you don’t need to be able to do everything yourself. What is critical is that you understand what you don’t understand and what tasks you are not able to do yourself.

Both, the Dunning-Kruger Effect and Odo Marquard’s term truly inspire to personal refection. As long you strive to understand what you know and what you don’t know, you will always have the opportunity to acquire knowledge; to learn and practice new skills; to adjust or change behaviors etc. When you understand in what areas you are not competent you create an immediate opportunity to consider how you might develop this competence. And always remember: if in doubt you can always ask someone to support you.

The key is that self-reflection is an essential starting point to personal development.


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