The curse of Overconfidence

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26th May, 2023

The youth are always high on confidence, like the motorist who has just learned to drive and starts speed racing the car only to increase the chance of an accident, be vary of ‘The curse of Overconfidence.’

I remember an old saying from my college days, “Confidence is I can kiss my girlfriend, but believing that only I can kiss my girlfriend is overconfidence”.

They say, “Confidence is good but overconfidence always sinks the ship” and the first thought that comes into our mind is the sinking of the Titanic.

Titanic was called the “unsinkable” ship. An unknown Titanic crew member is reported to have once said to the embarking passenger, Mrs. Sylvia Caldwell, “God himself could not sink this ship!”.

That was overconfidence and we all know what happened to the Titanic on its maiden voyage.

Overconfidence has been blamed for, among many other things, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the loss of Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia, the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 and the great recession that followed it, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Overconfidence gives us the courage to act on our misguided convictions and this leads to suboptimal behaviour.

Why do we fall prey to the narrative of overconfidence?

Because we don’t want to be proved wrong. Because we are innately averse to uncertainty. Because we have an extremely high opinion of our intuition and knowledge.

The overconfidence effect is a well-established bias in which a person’s subjective confidence in his or her

judgment is reliably greater than the objective accuracy of those judgments.

This curse also leads us to believe that something bad cannot happen to me thereby exposing our vulnerabilities.

Be vary of overconfidence and stay blessed forever.