people in front clear glass desk with lights

Disclaimer: this article is inspired by April Fool's Day, and it turns out that being a fool might work surprisingly well. Read on to know the foolish way to become more productive and in the long run, more successful!

Everybody came across the phenomenon that 'guaranteed' a switch to going-ballistic-mode: I am talking about the case when out of all people in your surrounding the most ignorant ones suddenly express their opinions with astounding self-confidence.

Socrates is believed to coin a phrase “I know that I do not know anything,” but ironically, it became a motto for those who know a lot.

People whose ignorance shocks you actually believe that they are intelligent enough to make their opinion audible to the world.

This phenomenon has a scientific name along with the explanations well-worth kept in mind.  

Known as Dunning Kruger effect , it embraces two distinguished tendencies:

  • the unskilled persons do not have doubts about the level of their expertise, and thus, evaluate their talents however small they are as worth recognizing
  • highly intelligent persons are prone to reflecting and overthinking, and thus, evaluate their talents in most cases as not worth much of recognition.

Bertrand Russel expressed it in a quote:

...in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

However shocking it might sound but it translates into more success for less intelligent people as they:

  • allocate time for doing while smarter people take too much time thinking
  • criticize themselves less than smarter people who dwell on possible consequences of their actions much longer
  • build more extensive portfolios of projects (as they stake on being practical, they perform more tasks)
  • take more risks while smart people hold themselves back, which results in inaction and zero practical achievements
  • market their skills in a better way: while highly intelligent people try to expand their expertise and sometimes acquire the skills absolutely inapplicable in their work, less intelligent people just work on polishing that minimum of the skills that they  have.  
  • dive in various activities taking things in flow while highly intelligent people concentrate on rules cutting themselves off the 'play'.
  • perceive fear as an emotion that blocks moving forward to obtain the objectives
  • willingly take managerial positions driven by confidence about their skills
  • produce outcomes being 'blissfully ignorant' of challenges while highly intelligent people see the surrounding under the magnifying glass and perceive it as harsh cut-throat competition
  • measure everything because they expect the tangible results for themselves, and they do not ignore easy-to-monitor work components of time on tasks and revenues generated.

Additionally, zero self-doubts optimize the speech models people use: while more intelligent people might add qualifiers to every sentence they say, less intelligent people love to express their opinions without any timidity, which makes them sound convincing, which makes a positive impact on the audience.

You can probably recall someone whose public speaking is lame with introductions like, “I am not absolutely sure if what I claim is right, but I assume we could…” Neglecting their opinion however valuable it might be, roots from doubts you hear. Even before they finish the sentence, you irrevocably make the impression of a person who likes undermining themselves.

Less intelligent people operate in the other system of self-beliefs: they say it loud and proud. And surprise, surprise, this way they avoid falling behind. They surely get noticed, which might work well for their self-promotion.

People firmly believing in their competence have a high sense of self-esteem and might achieve more in the end comparing to highly intelligent people consumed by doubts and inner self-resistance.

Self-analysis might pressure you for reaching a new level in self-development but when you pursue a career in the competitive environment it will create a bottleneck that you can get stuck in because if the brilliant idea is just buzzing in your mind, no value is generated.

The chance to realize your goals then is only by removing every single doubt off your mind so that you transferred your ideas into completed projects.

Concluding thought

Overall, the lack of self-awareness work for less intelligent people because excluding self-doubts from your mindset removes limitations that smart people impose on themselves by analyzing everything in detail and searching for the best possible scenario while there is probably none of such after all.  

Apparently, while it is good to give yourself some benefit of a doubt, assuming that in most cases you are more right than wrong will bring you better results in terms of your success and productivity.

And remember what Napoleon Bonaparte (a perfect example of rocketing self-confidence) once said:

One must change one's tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one's superiority.

So maybe it is a great time right now to reconsider your tactics and sprinkle it with bit of that dead sure self-confidence that will push the self-approval process in the direction of achieving more.