The Dunning-Kruger Effect

17 Sep

I suffer from a condition.  Actually everyone does.  It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect.  You have most probably suffered from it before.  This psychological fallacy occurs in almost all people.  Basically what happens is that people who don’t know a lot about something consider that topic really easy.  They think that because they know something about the subject that they must know a lot more than what they really do.

David Dunning

David Dunning

Justin Kruger

Justin Kruger

So, imagine you’re watching a football game.  It’s fourth quarter and the score is tied.  There’s only one second left on the clock.  A field goal by the place kicker could win the game. It’s fourth down and the kicker comes onto the field.  They are in the center of the field and it is an easy peasy 20 yard field goal.  But the kicker botches it.  You say, “IF I WAS THE KICKER, I COULD HAVE MADE THAT FIELD GOAL.  I KNOW HOW TO KICK.  IT’S SO EASY.  PUT ME IN COACH!”  Bam, you’re a sufferer of Dunning-Kruger.  You are oversimplifying things and making it sound way easier than it is.  Just because you made that kick once, you think that you could have done it in that circumstance.  Everyone does this. “Why did Hitler lose the war?  It was so easy taking over invading Poland, Czechoslovakia and France.  It would be easy to take on Russia in the wintertime, right?”  That, my friends, is the Dunning-Kruger effect.  And I was a sufferer.

So when you come to Korea, you know about 200 words in the language.  (That’s a guess.  So please don’t quote me.)  While you KNOW those 200 words, that doesn’t mean you can recognize them in a conversation.  I’d say when get off the plane you are actually able to hear and recognize about 30 of those 200 words.  That’s not that many. Korean has about 300,000 unique words.  So you are sitting at a solid knowledge of .0001% of the vocabulary.  So, good for you!

But since you only know those 30 words, you hear them all the time.  That causes you to think you understand way more than you actually do. That was my plight.  As I have learn more and more Korean, I have found that I understand less and less. It’s kinda disappointing to be getting over this Dunning-Kruger effect.  I guess the only solution is to work hard right?  Hard work fixes everything.

Other than that things are going well.  This coming week is Korea’s version of thanksgiving.  They call it Chuseok.  It’s a day to pay respects to your ancestors, get together with your family and eat too much great food that I like a lot.  I’m hyped.  Plus, we are going to Seoul for a mission conference.  It will be super great to see everyone.



There’s just one exciting thing to report from this week.  Taebaek is becoming a six missionary area again.  Remember I told you about the History of the Church in Taebaek.  I mentioned Taebaek’s mining heyday?  Back in the golden years when there were a lot of people living here, there were six missionaries assigned to this town.  But when the coal mining stopped, most of the members left and with fewer missionaries the number of missionaries has dwindled down to one companionship.  But no longer!  In two weeks at transfers, we’ll get two more elders.  Sometime after that, a pair of Sisters will be joining us in the Taebaek!  Things are gonna be great!

Sorry for the short post this week.  Things are in fact awesome.  I love you all. Send me letters when you can!


Elder Mills!!


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