Jennifer’s Bowl of Rice and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

Jennifer Abena Ocloo is my friend at, where we blog about Tertiary Education stuff. She does most of the interviews for as at now and one of the great members of the team. We have been friends for quite a while and she keeps improving upon her writing skills. I cannot say same for her cooking skills. I don’t mean to say they are bad; I just cannot say if she is improving (well everyone should improve right?) because I have only eaten her meal once – “the bowl of rice”.

I was all famished that Monday morning at Valco Hall, University of Cape Coast and I decided to just have a sociable chat with Jennifer. She is an enthusiastic Catholic and I wanted her to shed light on the Canonization of Mother Teresa. It was during the conversation Jennifer mentioned she was boiling rice. My hunger took the better part of me and I kindly bade that she brought me some of the rice she was preparing. She graciously agreed, and an hour later, we met in front of Valco Hall. I took the bowl of rice from her and before she said bye, she said: “Me, I don’t know how to cook oo, so I know it is not nice”. When I heard her say those words, I just laughed it off. I proceeded to eat the bowl of rice and palava sauce, finishing the meal in just under 5 minutes. I thought about her earlier proclamation about not knowing how to cook and this brought me to the subject of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

My Whatsapp Chat with Jennifer

The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where the highly skilled assume that things they find easy are also easy for others, and the unskilled are so incompetent that they can’t recognize their own stupidity. In short, Smart people underestimate themselves; ignorant people think they’re brilliant.

The effect can also be summarized by the phrase “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” A small amount of knowledge can mislead a person into thinking that they’re an expert because this small amount of knowledge isn’t a well-known fact.
Excerpt from

I experience the first part the Dunning Kruger effect (smart people underestimating themselves) a lot in my everyday life. Sometimes, I meet amazing singers who say they do not know how to sing too well; good writers who simply will not attempt to write because they feel they lack creativity; great orators who will not attempt to MC an event because they feel there are “better” people around; and even people who would like to do this or that but never do because of excuses they form in their head.

Honestly, I think the DK effect got me too.

I was at Tech Camp Ashesi earlier this year, where I met other young minds, that helped me to believe in myself.
I was at Tech Camp Ashesi earlier this year, where I met other young minds. The experience gained there helped me to further believe in myself.

I feel I cannot do this or that but find myself doing them almost as well as the professionals. Sometimes, it is just the lack of motivation, the; lack of self-awareness or simply not trusting myself. After eating the delicious bowl of rice, I wanted to get more but she was long gone. The food was superb but she sadly didn’t believe so.

We should avoid the negative thinking and look at what we can accomplish. Self believe is very important and we should all attempt to dream big and work hard to achieve them. Wherever we have the chance to do something, let us not shun away from it; rather, let us do it to the best of our capabilities. We would be amazed at the results.

Don’t forget the other aspect of the DK effect – Ignorant People Thinking they are Brilliant. Avoid over-confidence, gain more skills, explore, engage and learn. Seek opinion and feedback and always try to be better. No one has got it all, but we can improve.

It’s time to send Jennifer a WhatsApp message for another bowl of rice. See you!

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