April 15

“Over your wine do not talk much to display your learning; for you will utter bilious stuff.” – Epictetus

It happens to all of us, we learn something new and for some reason we assume that because we knew nothing about the subject before hand, no one else knows anything about it either. We assume a level of expertise we have not earned. We also assume everyone else was as much of a novice on the subject as we were/are. Neither of these assumptions is appropriate.

While this is most commonly a condition that occurs over drinks, it can happen to us whenever we find ourselves in a social situation where lively discussion is taking place.

It is a natural occurrence. So natural in fact that it has a name, it’s called the Dunning-Kreuger Effect and we are all susceptible to it to a certain degree.

Being susceptible to a natural occurrence is not something we can really control. What we can control is how we respond to this sudden expertise we have acquired. We can choose to keep our moths shut more and listen to other’s point of view during these discussions. We can choose to listen and see if other people in fact have something interesting to add to the conversation. It is very likely that they will.

We can choose not to come across as a know it all. And we should.

virtus fortis vocat

 

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