Although intuition has a good influence in our decision making aspects of our lives, it is also important to acknowledge its limitations. These can come through the overconfident phenomenon, which is mainly the ability to be more confident than right when making a comment, affirmation or promise. In a study performed last decade it was found that 30% of people were overconfident when asked to tell the air distance between New Delhi and Beijing. This study is not surprising, instead it reassures what we commonly do in our day-to-day lives.
Just recently I caught myself making this same mistake. When on the phone with my brother I was asked how long would it take for me to get to his place. I promptly responded “In half an hour”. But the reality was that I was still in Provo (He lives in SLC) and had just left my apartment. That meant I assumed traffic was going to be clear, road conditions wouldn’t be a problem, construction was stopped for that day. In summary, I consciously didn’t take into consideration these factors and confidently assumed I could make it by the promised time. Truth is, I was wrong. I actually arrived in 50 minutes because of traffic.
Another example comes from the sitcom “The Office” when Michael Scott promises third graders 10 years earlier that he would pay for everyone’s college tuition if they graduate from High School. That day finally came and he had to faced these kids with a broken promise and no reward.
These two examples are perfect to illustrate the lack of thinking ahead by me and Mr. Michael. No executive function of our brains were fully activated when we made those assumptions. We truly thought we knew exactly what the outcome would be simply based on our confidence and current ambition to meet that goal. Willingness is not the only characteristic that will take us where we would like to get in life. Knowledge and competence are two different things that have to be worked on separately to be applied in concert with another.
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kzn7HAuP_aw&feature=related