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Too Much Self Esteem

Never before have so many been so proud of so little:

The findings, published in the November issue of Psychological Science, support the idea that the "self-esteem" movement popular among today's parents and teachers may have gone too far, the study's co-author said.

"What this shows is that confidence has crossed over into overconfidence," said Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University.

She believes that decades of relentless, uncritical boosterism by parents and school systems may be producing a generation of kids with expectations that are out of sync with the challenges of the real world.

"High school students' responses have crossed over into a really unrealistic realm, with three-fourths of them expecting performance that's effectively in the top 20 percent," Twenge said.

Don't they realize that half of them are below median intelligence? Probably not, because they got an "A" in math, even though they didn't understand it.

One of the perverse and tragic problems with incompetence is that it generally includes an inability to recognize it.


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Steve wrote:

Does this mean that when Pres.-elect BOHICA makes college available to everyone, some of them won't "really" be smart enough to go?

I'm shocked!!!

Mike Puckett wrote:

Theres is nothing more dangerous than someone who is incompetent and possesses high self-esteem.

Their idiocy knows no bounds. They will seek to impose it on everyone else.

I guess I have just described those who believe in Global Warming.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Von Moltke warned about the energetic fools.

Doug Jones wrote:

Most people have more than the average number of legs. This should be in chapter one of "How to lie with statistics."

Hell, I *am* a rocket engineer, and I work daily at maintaining humility and exercise paranoia in all my designs. Self esteem is for people who can't really do sh*t.

II wrote:

Theres is nothing more dangerous than someone who is incompetent and possesses high self-esteem.

Theres is true.

Mike Puckett wrote:


I thought 'it' was banned?

Rand Simberg wrote:

It must have come up with a new IP.

Anonymous wrote:

If there are different kinds of intelligence (and this is the view of most cognitive scientists) then many more than half could be above average in at least one of the ways to measure intelligence. And if there are two kinds of intelligence which are inversely proportional to each other, almost everyone could be said to have "above average intelligence". So, identify the way that you are smart, and pat yourself on the back. You're smart!

Carl Pham wrote:

If there are different kinds of intelligence (and this is the view of most cognitive scientists)

Yes, but most cognitive scientists are only of average intelligence, and a full half of them are dumber
than average. Smart cognitive scientists think "multiple intelligences" is a load of horse shit.

Sheesh, when will we dispense with this stupid "consensus" argument twaddle about measurable fact? Is this part of the standard liberal-arts college curriculum now or what?

ken anthony wrote:

Competence is more than intelligence. I perceive an 80/20 rule rather than 50/50. I only expect about 1 in 5 to know what there doing beyond the basics.

As far as self esteem, the biblical rule not to think more of yourself than necessary is my guide. I take heart by the fact that it is necessary to have some self esteem.

I think our schools have proved their incompetence. Didn't somebody once say imposition of our school system should be considered an act of war?

I think that's literally true and we aught to stand and be counted in the fight. Actually, I think this blog is part of that fight.

Ryan E wrote:

I'm 34, and remember first seeing the self esteem movement in some ridiculous program that was introducted in, I believe, 4th grade... "Project Rainbow", as I recall. It was the most idiotic thing you could imagine - these adults would come in and use various little games or exercises to tell us how "special" we are and how we needed to have self esteem because... well, because they said we needed to have self esteem.

Now, as a manager, I see the wholly unrealistic expectations and overconfidence in the twentysomethings coming to work in my organization. Some are very difficult to train because they really believe they already know it all. We have had 25 year olds whose parents call to complain about a poor performance appraisal! I've also noticed a much higher need for constant reinforcement and feedback about their performance.

memomachine wrote:


"I perceive an 80/20 rule rather than 50/50."

Yeah as a professional software developer that's what I see all the time. 20% of developers in a team do 80% of the value in an application. The other 80% you keep around and involved in the vain hope they'll evolve into one of the 20%.

Personally I bless the gods that my Dad raised me in the traditional New Hampshire manner: "Don't f--k it up like the last dozen times!".


Rand Simberg wrote:

20% of developers in a team do 80% of the value in an application.

That's just a particular example of the Pareto Principle.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on November 13, 2008 10:16 AM.

Household Safety Tip was the previous entry in this blog.

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