Training to Fail

In our instruction we often refer to the level of learning/training of people we train as Consciously Incompetent, they know they don’t know and come to us to learn. Most have been to ranges or have seen others shooting and observing the Unconsciously Incompetent in those venues often prompts them to take training. As a student of shooting and armed self-defense I seem to live in a constant state of Conscious Incompetence but striving for progress always keeps me moving forward to learn something I don’t know.

If your target resembles this . . . get some training.

Where are you on the scale with your shooting?

Unfortunately those we see at the range who are not taking classes suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect.

“The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias manifesting in two principal ways: unskilled individuals tend to suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate, while highly skilled individuals tend to rate their ability lower than is accurate. In unskilled individuals, this bias is attributed to their meta-cognitive inability to recognize their ineptitude. Skilled individuals tend to underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for others.”

Dunning had read an article about a bank robber who scrubbed his face with lemon juice BELIEVING it would make him invisible to surveillance cameras.

“When psychologist David Dunning read about Wheeler’s story, he was intrigued by one facet: Wheeler was so confident in his abilities, despite his stupidity. Could other people have similar blind spots about their incompetence? Dunning and his colleague Justin Kruger conducted some experiments: they tested their students on humour, grammar and logic, then asked them to estimate how well they had done. The pair found that, like Wheeler, the poorest of performers were also the worst at judging their own abilities accurately.

This became known as the Dunning-Kruger effect: in short, incompetence shields our self-knowledge of incompetence. Or more bluntly, the stupidest person in the room doesn’t feel that stupid, because their ignorance also dampens their awareness.” – Stupidity for Dummies

Often in firearms training we observe unconscious incompetence and when you talk with these people you realize they seem to actively practice the Dunning-Kruger effect, and most likely live their lives oblivious in many areas yet believe they are on top of their game.

Do you know what you don’t know? Are you actively seeking training to learn what you don’t know? Or are you of the belief that you are a great shooter even though it is never tested? If you come into a situation such as crossing the path of the Methed-out Samoan will you perform at the level needed to survive this monster or will you perform at the level you falsely believe you have?

Failing to train IS training to fail.


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