It feels good to be confident, to believe and know you’re accurate in your assessments, to feel “I’m right.” It’s worthwhile to remember when you think of critics and especially when those same critics are acting as enemies.
Humans crave the psychological reward of confidence so much that they can, at times, manipulate themselves into that state of mind. Other times, they genuinely do feel incredibly intelligent and perceptive even while unknowingly moving into a state of overconfidence.
Regardless, whenever anyone — us or other people — do this, it’s an illusion being interpreted as reality and a compromised state of thinking. That doesn’t change what is transpiring however. Facts and truth get boxed out in favor of perception, inaccuracy and emotional reasoning.
This brings us to a quote:
“People are drastically overconfident about their judgments of others.”
Please, if you will, read that quote again and think on it for a moment.
“Drastically.” “Overconfident.” “…judgments of others.”
What’s that mean if “people are drastically overconfident about their judgments of others,” when you might be engaged in a dispute, ongoing conflict or crisis?
Could there be elevated risk of negativity and possibly, painful consequences and punishments when people assume they know how you think, what you believe, what you did and didn’t do and whether you are a trustworthy and quality person or not?
If we are to believe Gilbert’s belief and comment, then I’d say logically we can expect problems when we’re embroiled in difficulty and adversity and our name and reputation, whether that be as an individual — personally or professionally — or as an organization, is being unfavorably experienced.
Going on the presumption then that this is true — and as a specialist, I say that it is factual, true and common — it is wise to consider how we think, communicate and otherwise conduct ourselves, consistently.
If we dislike or detest harsh judgment and criticism, especially that which is derived from inaccurate and false beliefs or that which is overkill, it seems wise to know, as reality, that “People are drastically overconfident about their judgments of others.”
We can never please one hundred percent of people about one hundred percent of what matters to them and that doesn’t need to be the goal and commitment. We can however consider risk, elevate the standards for ourselves and be thoughtful and sensitive, if not cautious, in how we think, who we are, how humble and kind we are in character, how we interact and don’t interact and how prompt, skilled and thorough we are at correcting hurts and more extensive harm.
Think of it as insurance: the less exposure to risk and the smaller the type of risk, the better and the lesser the costs.
Our future selves will thank us for it, maybe even with tremendous gratitude and profuse praise.
Michael Toebe is a specialist for communications, reputation and crisis at Reputation Quality. He has written analysis and advisory for Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, Physicians Practice, the New York Law Journal, Corporate Compliance Insights and Training Industry. He also writes and produces Reputation Specialist Essays and Red Diamonds Essays.