• Woody

Something to Consider about Confidence

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

Day 326


Before you declare how much you think you know about a situation for which you don't have all the facts, consider this excerpt from Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman:

"Subjective confidence in a judgement is not a reasoned evaluation of the probability that this judgement is correct. Confidence is a feeling, which reflects the coherence of the information and the cognitive ease of processing it. It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true."

So before you get on your soapbox and start telling it how it's going to be, remember that hindsight is 20/20, and foresight is, at best, an educated guess. Even experts that have been proven wrong often refuse to admit their shortcomings.

Nobody knows it all. The best we can hope for is to keep seeking opportunities to learn more. When you think you know what you're talking about, or when you think your judgement are sound, don't seek validation. Seek out the other side of the argument.

Try to prove yourself wrong. Until you exhaust those avenues, the only thing that you can be truly confident in knowing is that you don't know it all.

Kahneman also writes, "Considering how little we know, the confidence we have in our beliefs is preposterous - and it is also essential."



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