After I read this article, I find it is absolutely fascinated me. I want to share it with you here and hope that you get the same “ah-ha!” moment from the results of the study as I did.
It is written by Jon (7 Minutes Muscle), hope you enjoy it as well, following is his entire message.
“Have you ever met someone who thought they were … well, “more special” than they really are?
Perhaps they believe themselves to be fantastic musicians when in reality they stink. Or maybe they think they know something about XYZ when in reality they are hopelessly lost.
When I was on the debate team in college I ran across a lot of these types of folks. Debaters who, even after being thoroughly trounced maintained victory. I also saw this while dabbling in boxing (I never really boxed, but my father was into it.) Fighters would almost always claim victory when they were clearly beaten.
But never is this self-blindness more evident than in the fitness world… especially bodybuilding. Man, ‘everyone’ seems to think they are in better shape than they really are in these shows.
There’s a minority – perhaps you are a part of that minority – that can actually see themselves as they really are.
But this minority, according to the Kruger/Dunning Study, also have a handicap: The overestimate the talent of others and undervalue their own.
Let me paraphrase the results of the KD study before letting you know why I think it’s vital for us all to understand it.
1. The study look at self-perception and competency and how they relate.
2. The study showed a striking result between those who literally ‘were’ competent at something versus those who merely “thought” they were competent but were actually incompetent.
3. Those who were incompetent even after being showed the results of the test, still perceived their competence to be far greater than it actually was.
4. After being showed the results, the truly “competent” adjusted their perceptions to be more accurate in the positive direction (aka a release of false modesty or over-expectation of the general
5. In short: Incompetence breeds an inability to “recognize” incompetence, while being competent allows you to recognize the skill more accurately in your self but yet overshoot the mark when it comes to recognizing it in others.
Whew! That’s a mouthful… and you’re probably still wondering what this has to do with anything, despite being really kinda cool.
This is the fundamental link between mastery of a dietary and/or fitness solution and those who “dabble” at it and proclaim success.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve met the dabblers — folks who genuinely believed themselves to be “healthy eaters”, “in terrific condition”, and “so lean they can eat anything.”
The irony: Almost all of them were fat…I mean F-doubleA T — F A T.
One woman in particular stands out. She was lecturing a group of professional fitness buddies and myself over dinner about how to eat “in alignment with your body’s natural energy.”
Blah, blah, blah… All I saw was the roles of bodyfat hanging over her belt and the “wing effect” — the flapping underarm bodyfat — waving at me as she raised her arms. (Wow, that sounded…)
Harsh? Perhaps…. but it’s necessary to the story.
Now, all of us “knew” that she was hopelessly lost, even if some of her points had validity. Why? Because we are all competent in the art/skill/science of body-shaping.
It wasn’t until she said, “Look at me… I mean, I can barely keep my weight on! I literally have to eat dessert every night just to keep from being too skinny!” that I hit the breaking point.
“What do you consider to be too skinny?” I asked.
“Anything under 12% bodyfat for a woman,” she said. Technically, a pretty good answer. That’s very lean for a woman.
But she wasn’t anywhere NEAR 12% bodyfat. 22%… perhaps. 32%… more like it.
“Okay, what’s your bodyfat right now?” (I know, this is getting heated… : )
“Oh, I think it’s too low… under 12%.” Wow.
“Well, I happen to have calipers in my room if you want to check to make sure (as I try to maintain my composure) you’re not getting too lean.”
Here’s the shocker: She agreed.
“Oh, that’s great! Sure, let’s go…”
Now here was an otherwise very intelligent gal who was completely blind to her own competency when it came to her own body and what worked for her nutritionally.
And frankly, it shocked me when she said “yes” as I NEVER expected it. I really wanted out, as I didn’t want to embarrass her. That was not my intention. I was just curious as to why she was thinking the way she was.
Well, up to the room we go and I measured her bodyfat. My latter guess was pretty close: 29.7%.
What to do…. what to do….
Well folks, I’ll let you guess what I did. All I will say is that I handled myself as a gentlemen — meaning “gentle” man. And it turned out to be a positive experience for her.
But this led me to wonder why I have just the opposite reaction with myself. I usually see myself in far ‘worse’ shape than I really am.
Herein lies the value of the KD Study:
1. If you see yourself worse than you are, you may be quite competent but really over-estimate the results and competency of others. The harm in this is if you are like me you can turn to “anti-depressing” tools like food from being bummed out! (More on that in my Fit365Online article on my “drug addiction.”)
2. If you are not competent, you may overestimate your health and fitness levels. This can lead to ‘serious’ health and social issues.
3. The more open-minded and intelligent a person is, the more apt they are toward learning competency and learning how to evaluate their self. This is crucial in knowing what to do, how to eat, and how to exercise to meet your own specific goals.
If you want to read the study, it was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; 1999, vol.77, no.6, pp1121-1134.”