Joe's Kitchen (±x)
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“My personality is designed by me – my attitude is defined by you!” – JSRDS
Gordon Ramsay OBE is a world-class British chef, restauranteur, and television personality. His restaurants have been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total, which is phenomenal. Many of the issues that I face when working with human resources can be attributed to psychology, and in this post I will touch upon why successful people ‘drown in stupidity‘.
Fiery Temper, Criticism and Swearing
As a reality television personality, Ramsay is known for his fiery temper, strict demeanour, harsh critiques, and use of expletives that have contributed to his media appeal as a celebrity chef. He often makes blunt and controversial comments, including insults and wisecracks about contestants and their cooking abilities. However when he praises someone he praises them in a similarly fervent manner. Sound familiar?
So why does Ramsay get angry? It is because high-ability individuals often underestimate their relative competence, and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.
It then causes a massive amount of frustration when others fail, and often Ramsay is annoyed because he cannot understand why they have failed. It is clear he is getting more annoyed about the ‘why’ than the original failure itself when some scallops have been burnt!
One thing that Ramsay continually exhibits is an interesting corollary of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
Named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University, it occurs when people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else.
This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyse their performance, leading to a significant overestimation of themselves.
In simple words it’s “people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are”.
The inverse also applies: competent people tend to underestimate their ability compared to others; this is known as Impostor Syndrome. Albert Einstein suffered from this during the last month of his life and I have been suffering from this after the 1217 incident. I was forced to question myself because of the lesser-minds around me and their hostility towards me if I did not comply – so I did, to keep the peace, and I took the path of least resistance.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is a slightly more specific case of the bias known as illusory superiority, where people tend to overestimate their good points in comparison to others around them, while concurrently underestimating their negative points.
The effect has been shown by experiment in several ways, but in this case Dunning and Kruger tested students on a series of criteria such as humour, grammar and logic, and compared the actual test results with each student’s own estimation of their performance.
Those who scored well on these tests were shown, consistently, to underestimate their performance. This is not terribly surprising and can be explained as a form of psychological projection: those who found the tasks easy (and thus scored highly) mistakenly thought that they would also be easy for others. This is similar to the aforementioned “impostor syndrome” — found notably in graduate students and high-achieving women — whereby high achievers fail to recognise their talents as they think that others must be equally good. But they are not and we get ‘pissed off’ 🙂
Dunning and Kruger properly proved its existence in their seminal, 2001 Ig Nobel Prize winning paper “Unskilled and Unaware of It,” doubtless at great risk to personal sanity. Interestingly enough the current investigations against me ALSO exhibit this phenomenon – it is just laughable in fact!
They were famously inspired by McArthur Wheeler, a Pittsburgh man who attempted to rob a bank while his face was covered in lemon juice. Wheeler had learned that lemon juice could be used as “invisible ink” (that is, the old childhood experiment of making the juice appear when heated); he therefore got the idea that unheated lemon juice would render his facial features unrecognisable or “invisible.”
After he was effortlessly caught (as he made no other attempts to conceal himself during the robberies), he was presented with video surveillance footage of him robbing the banks in question, fully recognisable. At this, he expressed apparently sincere surprise and lack of understanding as to why his plan did not work – he was not competent enough to see the logical gaps in his thinking and strategy.
The idea that people who don’t know that they don’t know (“Dunning-Kruger effect” is so much less confusing than any “know-know” phrase) isn’t particularly new. The Bertrand Russell quote is from the mid 1930s, and even earlier, Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man in 1871 stated “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” Even back in ancient Greece, Plato’s Apology attributed to Socrates the quote at the top, which today is often summed up as, roughly, “the wisest people know that they know nothing.”
In his 1996 book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, Al Franken described the phenomenon of “pseudo-certainty” which was rampantly being displayed by pundits and politicians such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, who would use “common sense” as the basis for their confidently-made assertions, but without actually backing them up with time-consuming research or pesky facts. Franken prefers the term “being a fucking moron.”
When I was getting over the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the issues of being rubbished by journalists in 2000 (as opposed to the issues of Rhodium PLC which have never bothered me), I was down, and not functioning at my normal level.
When I was living in Western Australia I initially thought that people were competent and it was a good lifestyle. My confidence was down and being in that environment was akin to playing a weaker opposition in soccer to get a couple of wins under the belt.
When I began to feel better I realised that the same people were not that bright, so I moved to Melbourne in 2009. As I was then feeling even stronger, I restarted with my US clients and lived in Bahamas in 2010 before returning to Melbourne.
After that boost I ended up living in Singapore from 2011 onwards – the efficiency and money being things I liked and became accustomed to. All the previous bases are currently still in existence, so it is not a case of moving from country to country – various assets are immovable!
After a data loss in 2012, which once again caused cognitive issues, and then a heart attack that Edward de Saram caused in May 2013, I became down again.
I ended up in Sri Lanka in July 2013 and once again found the initial set of new people cheap and cheerful. However when my mind rebooted in 2015, I suddenly found myself with exactly the same issues that I was having in Western Australia.
But it was a lot worse because Sri Lanka is a corrupt country and I do not speak the language. Many bluff their way through everything and only have superficial knowledge of complex matters, and were subserviently destroying data materials and harassing me!
So when people are told that they have to get involved in some operation against me, they simply follow:-
“Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.”
This is how my Impostor Syndrome then started, in which I was questioning myself and having long calls to try and reassure people for issues that they were having. I should have simply told them to ‘shape up or ship out’. My current Australian lawyers are another set of people who are messing things up because of their incorrect analysis of the actual situation, and listening to unchallenged lies.
I will upload the conversations with them in due course for a research perspective as it is fascinating to see the flawed logic as well as negligence of the lawyers concerned!
Rhodium Human Resources in 2016
Having identified the issue, the solution is simple. I have decided to interact with no-one except Tania, who is in charge of Rhodium entities.
Tania’s additional role is to ‘chew the cud’ and work with human resources. She is also introducing Psychometric Testing and regularising the positions with all contractors almost immediately.
My Role in Rhodium
I will do nothing apart from get new business and work with clients, period. The Legal and Accounting function is being completely outsourced and I will simply focus on Information Security and Human Rights.
Having isolated myself from the Groupthink, things are spectacularly on the up once more.
As I have always told my workers ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of my kitchen’ 🙂
Joseph S R de Saram (JSRDS)