Self Delusion

This fascinating article in the NYTimes recently caught my eye. “The better we get at something, the likelier we are to see how much more we can improve, which can sometimes lead us to underestimate ourselves” and conversely, “the less skilled you are at something, the less likely you are to recognize how unskilled you truly are, and thus you overestimate your abilities.”

This struck me as so many people in our group are exceptionally skilled from decades of learning and working. It’s hard for us to understand how good we are. I have had a camera in my hand for the last 45 years, and although I see myself as competent, I still see so much that I need to learn. However, when I was 24 and doing my first ads in Vogue, I had no idea what I was doing; totally made it up as I went, convinced I was the new Picasso with a camera.

There are certain self-delusions that we all have, and it is why when we are out there looking for a career pivot, or perhaps a meaningful contribution we can make, we really need to listen to someone else. My wife has told me for years I should be a speaker, to which I laughed, thinking there are so many more compelling people out there. Having 3 high-profile stage bookings in the next 6 weeks, with more coming in the fall, she saw in me what I could not see in myself.

Lesson learned, although I suspect there will be more of these anti-delusional lessons in the future.

David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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