Why you feel less confident the better you get

When I was in high school, I used to think that I could become one of the best pianists ever, and that I could even potentially write the best songs ever and sing them better than everyone else. By my masters degree, I thought that I was doing quite well, and that I was good enough to be better than some people, but not necessarily the best anymore.

Now, only one exam away from getting my doctorate, I feel that I am just one pianists among many other pianists, that any few songs I've ever written don't mean a thing, and that I don't make much a difference anywhere.

I blamed that progression from being confident to lacking confidence on an education based on competition rather than on real life experience. Then I blamed it on the people I worked with. I also blamed it on my age because the older I become the more scared I get. I blamed it on my teachers, my friends and finally myself. Now I know better than to blame all the wrong people and all the wrong things. I should blame the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is this "cognitive bias where unskilled people suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority."

So the less you know the better you think you are, and the better you are the less good you think you are.

So next time you think you suck, remember that it's the sign that you are actually good!



  1. I DEFINITELY had/have this exact thing. I think it's very common!

  2. I'm sure it is very common as well. Putting a name on it makes for tricky but good reassurance though!


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