People who overestimate their performance tend to be the ones who are worse than average

People who overestimate their performance tend to be the ones who are worse than average.

"We are all above average!" Said the Monty Pythons . But they were right. At least it is what we believe, in general, that we do things better than most. For example, more than 90% of people believe they drive better than the average car, which is statistically impossible.

However, this trend is not always the case. Among the people who give the most, ironically, there are those who do the worst. People who don’t overestimate their skills that much ultimately do better, perhaps driven by the so-called imposter syndrome, which encourages them to try harder (precisely to erase the impostor syndrome) .

Overestimation and underestimation

These are the conclusions reached by researchers Gerald Häubl, professor of marketing at the Alberta School of Business and the Ronald K. Banister Chair in Business, and Isabelle Engeler, from the University of Navarra in Spain. To do this, they carried out a study in which a hard test was chosen: a mountain race, with uphill distances ranging from 10 to 78 kilometers .

Controlling for age, gender, and running experience, the researchers found that runners who wrongly predicted their finish times to be better than average, those who were overconfident, were primarily driven by overestimating their own performances. . Meanwhile, the runners who predicted they would perform worse than average (those who were unsure of their abilities) had a strong understanding of their own performance, but expected more from their competitors .

Furthermore, the group that lacked self-confidence was not only fairly accurate in predicting their own performance, but also tended to be the one that was better than average.

Häubl said that a lack of confidence, which can manifest itself in the workplace as imposter syndrome, is often beneficial, especially if it motivates people to work harder .

"The problem with a lack of confidence, however, is that it can prevent people who really have the potential to excel at something (a particular job or career) from trying, because they falsely believe that there are many others who are better than them".

Likewise, the people who overestimate their performance tend to be the ones who are worse than average . "This latest result parallels previous research showing that unskilled people tend to overestimate their performance," said Häubl. This overconfidence, he said, can be good or bad, depending on whether it translates into more or less motivation and therefore a desired outcome.