The other day I found myself in a discussion about the difference between an expert and non-expert. I gave it some thought over the past couple days.

The difference between an expert and a pseudo-expert is that experts are self-evident. They are simply expert because they treat everything like it’s their job where pseudo-experts simply mimic experts like a parrot without putting in the effort.

Pseudo-experts lack the “real-world” progressive process engagement disciplines an expert goes through. It is not a pragmatic “hands-on” experience of deeper knowledge like an expert. The pseudo-experts’ process is to simply copy and repeat which often comes through their inauthentic persona because they lack the heuristics.

Experts are operationally defined as those who have been recognized within their profession as having the necessary skills and abilities to perform at the highest level.
— James Shanteau Ph.D., Psychologist

Think of pseudo-experts as social media actors lacking experience although they believe they are. They fail to recognize their limited experience, false sense of reality, and illusion of validity comes from copying experts. Which is why they seem disconnected and fall apart when questioned on the work they copy.

And finally, copycats are followers, not leaders, yet you’ll find them in positions as leaders. I suppose that would make them pseudo-leaders or something. I’m not sure, I would need to think about it more.

Does that make sense? Surely there is more to it than a surface perspective.

Quote Source: Shanteau, James. (1992). Competence in experts: The role of task characteristics. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 53, 252–262.

Did you know? The male African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the most accomplished user of human speech in the animal world; this rain forest-dweller is an uncanny mimic. – National Geographic

This is Broke

The short version for how it works for me is this… There appears to be an ability to look at something and know with certainty it’s missing something. It doesn’t matter what it is. In other words, to achieve <this> then these <things> need to occur, which was the case discovering a flaw in the management software (performance evaluations and benchmarking algorithms). If any of the <things> are missing, the result is flawed. The flaw is noticed first, then worked backwards to discover the cause.

The cause of a mistake matters.
— Daniel Kahneman Ph.D., Psychology

The only problem is not understanding this magical ability, how it occurs, and the source of its accuracy because there is no clear way to know where intuition comes from. Intuition takes precedence followed by rational thought. In other words, both sides of the brain are working towards the accuracy of the outcome.

Some people process information quite different from others. Which is why I wondered why no one in the company (the 4th largest employer in the world) spotted the software flaw and they work with it every day. We’re talking thousands of employees. I come along and sit in front of it for a minute and say, “This is broke.” I find that odd. How did the software developers miss it?

It’s really the epitome of when they say INTJ’s see things others can’t see, which is why it is difficult to win an argument against an INTJ. People often fail to take into account what they are unable to see (what they don’t know) which lends to a shallow opposing position for their argument. They are not seeing the big picture, but somehow these strong intuitives are jerks for exposing a flaw in their argument. It would be like going to court and arguing with half the evidence and getting angry at the judge because you failed to build a solid case.

I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.
— Charlie Munger

If intuition is considered a magical phenomenon of hunches based on past experiences and knowledge, then how do we explain when we sense danger if the moment leading to the sense of danger never occurred before or how do we know when someone is staring at us from across the room when we’ve never seen the person before? I think both scenarios are different from how I identified a flaw in the management software.

*This post will be updated to include the other missing half.  This portion represents the basis of an ongoing discussion elsewhere on and offline.

Frugal Illusion

Jim always looks for good deals. He is all about saving money. Jim spends many hours looking for cheap help.

Anything to save a buck, Jim says.

Jim was outraged by the bids he received for a project he was working on. He thought it would be a good idea to save money by doing some of the work himself.

So Jim spends $2,400 on rental equipment and the next 30 days doing some of the work to save $700 off the bid.

Jim is smart. Be like Jim.

Half Full Half Empty

Optimism is a mental attitude. A common idiom used to illustrate optimism versus pessimism is a glass with water at the halfway point, where the optimist is said to see the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty.

Being optimistic, in the typical sense of the word, is defined as expecting the best possible outcome from any given situation. This is usually referred to in psychology as depositional optimism. It thus reflects a belief that future conditions will work out for the best.

Only the facts please, says the INTJ.

Speaking of optimism… “They have an illusion of control, they seriously underestimate the obstacles, they seem to suffer from an acute case of competitor neglect. This is a case of overconfidence. They seem to believe they know more than they actually do know.” — Daniel Kahneman Ph.D., Psychology

It was nice to see much needed awareness on the topic of optimism, delusion, illusion, wishful thinking, and positive thinking discussed in the book Thinking, Fast and Slow. As an INTJ, I view being overly optimistic as dangerous and unhealthy and the book provides many examples explaining why. One of the more significant examples mentioned in the book was the 2008 financial crisis.

There are overly optimistic wishful thinkers and there are actually people who take control of things and go great lengths to make sure things happen in the future instead of hoping things work out for the best. I know it sounds crazy, but its true.

Are you considered overly optimistic? Learn how to take control of optimism to help you make smarter decisions. The book is a great place to start. It’s important we know things instead of thinking or believing we know, because a glass half full or half empty is an opinion.

Can I Be Wrong

One of the things I find most interesting about what I do is discovering the insignificance in what others do or teach. It’s not an intentional endeavor, rather the result of a natural process. Elon Musk also touched on this area in an interview with Khan Academy.

You can sit through countless seminars, read books, studies and academic papers all you want, but if what you’re consuming doesn’t matter, you’re wasting your time. We need to be able to trace back to the root of things to get a clearer picture and better understanding of what is important, what is not, and where our focus should be.

People act on their priorities. Observe closely.
Paul Carrick Brunson

We tend to go through a process in our mind called confirmation bias where we search for things that support what we believe rather than searching for things to disprove what we believe. If all we ever do is search for things to support our beliefs, we ignore all of the things to validate their significance. We ignore the inconvenient truth. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning.

By definition, its wrong.

We need to be able to look at our presuppositions then probe our presuppositions for coherence. Once we impose a systematic treatment of our beliefs with a specific eye, we take-away a different parsing of how we look at things. There is nothing so useless as wasting time on meaningless things.