Confidence vs Competence

Confidence Vs Competence Cartoon

As promised here is the cartoon inspired by the book The Invisible Gorilla by Dan Simon and Chris Chabris.  What does this cartoon have to do with the video I posted on Wednesday.  Nothing.  haha  I took my inspiration from a different part of the book.

Charles Darwin observed that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” In face, those who are the least skilled are the most likely to think better of themselves than they should – they disproportionately experience the illusion of confidence. (page 86)

It is because of this behavioral trait that the Friggin Loon is able to constantly post a stream of stories on stupid criminals.  Their confidence in their ability outweighs their knowledge on how to actually pull off the crime.

In group dynamics, especially at work, most of us have heard the cream will rise to the top.  But it doesn’t.  How many times have you walked away from a meeting knowing that the direction the group decided to take is the wrong way but you felt you didn’t have the power or the influence to change it.  Next time, you might need to jump out there and respond first.  In one experiment the authors did they found that a group trying to solve a hard math problem went with the first answer offered up 94% of the time.

…group leadership wsa determined largely by confidence.  People with dominant personalities tend to exhibit greater self-confidence, and due to the illusion of confidence, others tend to trust and follow people who speak with confidence.  If you offer your opinion early and often, people will take your confidence as an indicator of ability, even if you are no better than your peers. (page 98)

So how many of you “know” of superiors who are only in their position because of their own self confidence versus their skill?  How many of you think YOU should be in that position?  And then, of course, is your confidence in being able to do that job equal to your own competence?

*** Side note:  I was so underconfident that I was spelling “competent” correctly, that I looked it up at least 3 times in writing this post.

*** Side note 2:  I got rid of the Digg button below and added a Google +1 button for those using it.  For those who are not and need an invite, let me know.



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65 Responses to “Confidence vs Competence”

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  1. MJ says:

    It’s an opportunity for an Air Horn. Ha,ha,ha!

  2. Mark Stokes says:

    Ain’t it the ever-lovin’ truth, Bearman! Great toon, great message.

  3. Comedy Plus says:

    Oh this explains so many things. Washington DC and the California state government. I get it now. Bwahahahahahahahaha. Oh wait! Why am I laughing.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

  4. Duncanr says:

    Many years ago I worked with a guy who’s opinion of his own abilities was not shared by his co-workers.

    It was a small engineering company servicing the oil and gas industry. He was Sales Manager for a time. He was very full of himself, and could talk a good talk but he was a total wally who’s success was based in part on claiming credit for the work of others. He left our company to take on a similar role with a bigger company for more money. It was a pattern that repeated itself many times. His rise was a source of astonishment to all who had the misfortune to work with him.

    My own theory as to why he was so successful despite his lack of ability was that his ability to sell himself at an interview got him many job offers coupled with his sheer bloody incompetence. It was hard for those who gave him a job to acknowledge they had been so taken in by his bullshit (to do so would reflect badly on their own judgement) so when he applied for a better paid job with another company they jumped at the chance to get rid of the duffer and wrote him a glowing reference to make sure he got the job

    • Bearman says:

      The thing is that these guys know how to manage up. The people above them can’t see the people they shit on below them. The have the ear of the boss and like described above, the boss believes the first thing he hears and not necessarily the truth.

      Wally. Need to pull out my English to English dictionary on that one.

  5. So so true.

    It’s the Dunning Kruger effect. Seen most easily in our more outspoken politians.

    • Bearman says:

      Don’t throw out those big name scientific stuff without some explanation.

      From Wikipedia

      The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to appreciate their mistakes.

  6. Tony McGurk says:

    This is so true. I guess that explains why the Politicians running our country are so incompetent & keep making stupid decisions that all us nobodies/nobodys/nobody’s (I’m too lazy to look up the correct spelling) think are dumb & wonder why they can’t see how stupid & illogical their decisions are. I didn’t see the gorilla in this one. I can’t even see the curtain let alone see it change colour

    • Bearman says:

      See at least you aren’t overconfident in your inability to correctly spell Nobodies.

      The guy in the drawing is the gorilla in the ape suit minus the ape suit.

  7. Midtoon says:

    The known phylosopher Scott Adams has been known to said that there are many inept people in the workplace and that the tendency is to place where they can do the least damage: management.

    I am in management…

    If only I had an office with a door…

  8. jynksie says:

    I behave this way with my comic. I lack competence, but I’m full of naive confidence. *smirk* …. and at work, I have THAT boss!

  9. Friggin Loon says:

    Hey, you calling my crims dumb?

    Snooki is a classic example.

  10. DadaHyena says:

    Yup. This is why I eagerly await the day when the lowly, Morlock-type folks overthrow these bigsh_t bigshots.

    But in the meantime, at least we cartoonists get our say!

    • Bearman says:

      Trust me I get my say. People say that I can say the things everyone else wants to say and not get in trouble because I know just how to phrase it.

  11. Binky says:

    “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” Hadn’t heard that quote before, but I’m confident it’s true.

  12. G says:

    I think what we have here is one ginormous epic failure to communicate.

    This kind of crap goes on ad nauseum with my employer and in fact, is the main reason why my employer became the number one most e-mailed story from the New York Times website last week.

  13. I have seen this happen all too much while working and it is the truth for most jobs I have had. There is always someone above that is not good at their job and have everyone else do their job for them, while they take the credit. When it is brought to light they are normally fired, but this isn’t always the case.

  14. Nate Fakes says:

    Very true. Like some of the previous comments, just look at the government!

  15. Bo Lumpkin says:

    Anybody that thinks only cream rises to the top ain’t never opened the top of a septic tank. ( I really should have saved that one for my quotes.)

  16. I really like your 2 post and cartoon. This book sounds like a great read. These are ideas I have felt myself but I have rarely heard it put into words so well. I knew one guy who tried the “give your opinion early and often” a lot but it was so clear he had no idea what he was talking about and was just trying to sound confident and in charge of this project it was hilarious. Great cartoon.

  17. Scholar Mel says:

    I had a boss in one city who was really good at her job in every way. I transferred to another city and that dude sucked but he had annoying confidence.

    He met my former boss and couldn’t stand her because he said she was cocky. Oh brother!

  18. lisleman says:

    wow so deep for a cartoon. Your A-few-clowns-short-of-a-circus theories and ideas remind of a few phrases or sayings.
    Often in error, never in doubt
    He advanced his career by staying one step ahead of the disaster that followed him.

  19. Jillsy Girl says:

    Unfortunately, our government is filled with them!

  20. George says:

    I’ve held down a few jobs where I’ve tried to utilize confidence to offset the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about the position. 🙂 It works for a little while, but you’d better start learning so you can back yourself up with something quick!

  21. Dr. Cynicism says:

    Reminds me of the old saying, “Fake it till you make it!” Great toon!

  22. I’ve gotten pretty far in life based on confidence alone–don’t go telling people they should start being suspicious of my competence.

    • Bearman says:

      We all knew that given that you scored well in the wife department. We didn’t think it was competence that got you there.

  23. alecho says:

    There is so much truth to this comic. Cleverly done 😉

  24. Unknown Mami says:

    I’m not confident that I’m competent, but I’m pretty confident that I’m not always incompetent. Except for spelling, that is why I use a browser with spell check. I am confident in my ability to choose a browser with spell check, but that makes me the boss of no one.

    • Bearman says:

      Which is better to be confident that you are not always incompetent or confident that you are not always incontinent?

  25. Hahaha…
    kinda’ reminds me of that phrase about stuff that floats.

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