Ashton Kutcher on Steve Jobs at Teen Choice Awards – Why People Dumber Than You Are Making More Money Than You

by John Cummings on August 13, 2013

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Sometimes inspiration comes from odd places and Ashton Kutcher’s oddly inspiring speech at this week’s 2013 Teen Choice Awards was no exception, including a passionate reference to Steve Jobs, who Ashton is playing in the movie of the same name this week. I have to thank my daughter Nicole for bringing this to my attention. (Thanks Nicole :) )

Oddly enough, I had been planning an article about why so many smart people are making less money than people around them, who appear to be less smart. Yes. It’s true. It’s called the Dunning Kruger effect and when you realize that you’ve been a victim of this phenomenon, it will change your life. But first, give a quick listen to Ashton and then let’s dive in. Ashton Kutcher’s channeling of Steve Jobs completely underscores the point that most of suffer from the misconception that others are smarter than us . . .

Did you ever wonder why some people that you think are not that bright, are doing so much better than you would give them credit for?  As it turns out, there is a really cool explanation for this and I want you to bear with me for a moment because I’m going to explain how understanding this is going to help you get more business, more clients and more sales.

The explanation is found within something known as the Dunning–Kruger effect. Quite simply, this is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding. David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University conclude, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others”.

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been outsmarting yourself for a long time trying to figure out the perfect way to start marketing your business, your self, your product, etc. while your “dumber” competitors are out there just DOING it because they THINK they are skilled and don’t waste any time in doubtful thought like the smart ones among us. Ironically, the smart people sit and think, and plan and outsmart themselves while the not so smart are driving back and forth to the bank with their earnings.

So, what to do? Well, the Dunning Kruger effect has a companion that can be your worst enemy or your best friend, and its called the confidence / competence conundrum. Simply put, your lack of confidence in your abilities (in your competence, because you’re too darn smart to realize that you think people are smarter than you and that you’re wrong in thinking that way), causes you to not seek to become more competent. And because you fail to achieve more competence, you lose (or don’t gain any) confidence.

The good news is that if you realize this is a problem, you can get out of the confidence / competence conundrum by taking small actions that prove (trick) your cognitive mind into believing, in spite of the smarts holding you back, that you actually ARE competent. You need to take small risks (make that sales call, put that product out there, ask for that connection or favor) until one of them leads to a small victory (competence!) that gives you the confidence to take another small step. Do this every day, and keep telling yourself that you are (and you probably are by the way) actually a lot smarter than those around you and therefore, have the ability to do whatever you want.

I’ve actually created a training series that is built completely around this theory and it’s called the Product Rocket Launcher. It’s a bit of a cheesy name but it’s purposefully named to suggest that sometimes you have to just launch, like a rocket. Light the fuse already!

A great number of very skilled professionals and entrepreneurs never launch their marketing or their product or solicit more clients using the internet, because they are waiting until they get “IT” just right. But the problem is that you’ll never know if it’s just right until you show it to someone and ask them to take some action (join, hire, buy). The reason you act this way is actually based in fear, which in turn is based on that misconception that you’re not good enough or smart enough. It’s not because you’re not ready. You are ready. Right this minute.

So get over it, get over yourself and get your product or your message (or you) OUT there, repeatedly and consistently. And begin to gain the confidence that allows you to keep proving over and over, that you are competent. People who are much less intelligent than you are not reading this article. They’re out there selling and creating and enjoying. Get out there and join them. And if you don’t know where to start, start anyway.

Check out the Product Rocket Launcher if you’ve been sitting on your own brains for too long! :)

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