#1KWAD - 01 - Overestimating!

Overestimating. (#1KWAD - 01)

Hello! Lemme start this one by saying thank you!
For telling me that you want to receive all 7 letters.

Your yes means that I have my task cut out - write every day.

You know, when I made that decision to send letters in different mailing lists, I promised to myself that even if I get one subscriber, I will take the challenge. I got three. Thank you, AA, AS and SS. Yes, I will be a little less discreet in these mailers. I don't send these to the world after all. And if I do publish these on my blog, I will redact the names and personally identifiable information. This one IS going on the blog and I will remove your names and this line when I publish it.

So, thing for the day is an overestimation of (my) abilities.

What it means is that a lot of people I know (including me), tend to overestimate their abilities. For example, I decided about 15 days ago that from June 1 I will make drastic changes in my life. I will get onto Keto + OMAD, I will start with Uke, I will restart SoG, I will try and make more money and reach some sort of financial stability and a million other such things. A long list is here.

Guess how many of those did I do?
One. SoG.
Could not do any of the others.
Ok, not self-loathing - that's another change that I am making in my life from Jun 1. See I am getting better ;)

Brings me to the point of this letter. Overestimating. You could read the following two Wikipedia pieces (Illusory Superiority and Dunning Kruger Effect - I did mention this briefly in ) and get over with things. But in my experience "human to human" conversations work better :D

So, the "human to human" description would start with a quick question.
If I asked you how good are you at driving, apparently more than 80% of you would say that you are above average! Even the drivers that are certified bad and have their driving licenses revoked say the same! See this link for example.

Why does this overestimation happen?
I am not a scientist but I can talk from personal experience.
When I estimate that I can do a certain thing, there are two things at play - my intent and my ability.

Intent / Want - I want to do it. There could be 100 reasons for me wanting to do it - get better, make money, get validation etc.
Ability / Means - Do I have what it takes to do it? Could be on the physical, emotional, mental scale.

Example. I want to run 5 KMs every day. My intent is in place. I know it will make healthy. But my ability may be missing. I partied till late in the night and thus could not wake up to go for a run. I don't have the stamina. I don't have the will. My shoe broke. The alarm did not fire. You get the drift.

So, once you realise that you have missed something and you probably overestimated your ability to do that, rather than looking at the reasons (or being harsh on yourself), try and spot a pattern - that's where all the answers are. Maybe you don't have the "want" for it. You know why most people struggle with bad jobs and not seek promotion? Because they think they want to be rich but they do not do what it takes to get higher paying jobs (aka daydreamers)!

In my case, where I want to learn the Guitar (or the Uke), I have been wanting to get onto it since I was in 10th standard, which was in 1997. I have been wanting to play the guitar for 21 years and I am yet to make any inroads. Despite making promises to friends and family and losing bets and all that. Maybe I am overestimating my want for music. PS I really want to learn musical instruments because science says that learning music instruments helps you keep your brain active. Read this piece.

Another example. I was to do OMAD since Jun 1. I could not. I realised that I could not because it's inherently tough to move to it at one day's notice. Plus apparently its tougher in summers. So, I will transition into OMAD - will start with 18-6 IF and then move to 20-4 IF and then 24-0 aka OMAD.

Got the drift?

Now, assuming you do want things bad enough and yet you are unable to do things, break down the cause into smaller pieces. Coming back to the example of running 5 KMs a day, one or more of the following could be a deterrent...

  • No stamina. I can practise and get better with time and grow it.

  • No motivation to run. I can put a HUGE carrot at the end of it (everyday post the 5 KM run, I will get myself chocolate or whatever) and after the end of 30 such days, I will buy myself a phone.

  • Did not get up on time. if I missed because I did not sleep on time, then I need to fix that and maybe stop going to parties. You know, things that Atomic Habits does a great job at explaining!

Once you break things down, you would spot the reasons why you couldn't do things. And then you start fixing those. Simple. So, in one line, for everything that you overestimate, there IS an antidote. You need to just figure it out.

Oh, and if you're still missing things despite fixing all the issues, then you don't want it in the first place. You just thought you wanted it. Go back to my 21-year "want" for guitar.

The Lesson?
The lesson? Every time you get confident, cocky, brash about your ability to get something done, take a pause and talk to yourself and check if you are really good at it. Or you're just overestimating your ability. Like, for these letters, I am estimating that I will be able to carve out an hour to write every day. Let's see if its an overestimation of my intent and abilities.

That's it for the day.

Wish me luck :)

Thank you for your time!
With gratitude,

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TAGS: 1KWAD, Personal, Rant, Blog, Human Fallacy, Thinking, Cognitive Ability, Dunning Kruger Effect.


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