Think you are smart?  Think again.  Think you are dumb?  Think again.

David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University researched people’s ideas about how smart or stupid they were. Their results were named for them. This is what they found:

The Dunning-Kruger effect (also known as Mount Stupid or Smug Snake) occurs when people fail to correctly assess their level of incompetence. Most tend to think they are more competent when completing a task than others completing the same task. Eventually, they consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. Watch the auditions for American Idol or America’s Got Talent to see the Dunning-Kruger Effect at work.

The reverse known as the Impostor Syndrome happens when very competent people underestimate their ability compared to others and live in fear of being found to be a fraud.

Emotional Fitness Tips

One: Assume your assessment of your smarts is probably biased and sometimes in one direction, sometimes in the opposite direction.

Two: Understand the many kinds of smarts: Here are the nine Howard Gardiner, Harvard Researcher, thought most important: 

  1. Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
  2. Existential (life smart)
  3. Interpersonal(people smart)
  4. Intra-personal (self smart)
  5. Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
  6. Linguistic (word smart)
  7. Musical (sound smart)
  8. Naturalist (nature smart)
  9. Spatial (picture smart)

Three: Add Emotional Intelligence, the ability to manage emotions and feelings, to Gardiner’s list.

Four: Remember what matters most: Not marks on a test or the letters after your name. These have value, but what matters more is behavior. The behavior that matters to most remains kindness and working to make the world a better place for all. 

Some Final Words

Practice kindness by reading, liking, commenting or sharing this post. 


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

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