OTF: DIY & Dunning-Kruger

Other Things Friday is our blandly named series for non-how-to content that we publish on Fridays. You probably figured that out from the name.

Most people might think that I support the DIY movement, perhaps because answering “Hey, where’d you get that?” with “I made it myself!” seems impressive.

Before I address that misconception, let me tell you about something called the Dunning-Kruger effect. For those of you who have never heard of this psychological phenomenon before, the gist of it is this: highly skilled people think they are less skilled than they actually are, and unskilled people delusionally think they are exceptionally badass. This is because highly skilled people assume that tasks that are easy for them must be easy for others, and because unskilled people have no context for how to gauge their own abilities, since they are unskilled. They are also unable to recognize high levels of skill in others. Basically, they don’t know stuff and are dumb.

How does this apply to DIY? My opinion is this: don’t DIY unless you think you suck at something. If you think you’re really good at something, unless you’re some sort of prodigy or master craftsman, you’re probably kind of bad at it. And the best way to totally kill your impressiveness game is to think you’re better at something than you actually are. Honesty moment: I see a lot of stuff on Pinterest that makes me insanely judgmental.

Now, I’ll caveat all of that with this: depending on who you hang out with, maybe none of your friends will actually recognize your inaptitude either. Theoretically, you might be in the clear even if you suck. And on the flip side, if you took Angelo’s advice to pick up a new hobby and have become somewhat competent, then yes. It is impressive to say “Oh gosh golly no, it’s not Gucci - I made this dress myself!” or “Do you like my new dog statue? I made him in my Advanced Sculpture adult learning class. His name is Pat!”

I don’t ONLY watch singing shows. (   img src   )

I don’t ONLY watch singing shows. (img src)

On a scale of 1-10, how flamingly insecure have I made you through this post? Let us know! Comments and emails to info@howtoseemimpressive.com both work.