Unskilled and Unaware.

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    I can easily identify this as the number one factor which stands in the way of me being able to truly help shooters advance. The vast majority of shooters are still climbing "mount stupid." While this effect can be applied to all disciplines, I deal with it every single day among my customer base. The amount of effort I expend trying to convince people to let me help them is 100x greater than the effort I expend actually helping them once they've decided to let me.

    Mount Stupid is a real thing. Despite what you may think, mount stupid is not inhabited exclusively by stupid people. There are a lot of smart people up there too. This is evidenced every day by full time plumbers claiming to be long range rifle experts.

    Many of you have heard me say that we are presently witnessing the death of the expert. As "mount stupid" grows in height, so too must the effort expended by the experts to convince people to come down off it. As mount stupid grows, so too do the risks experts take when trying to talk people down from it. Large numbers of people atop mount stupid get together to fight those that are on either side of the peak.

    The Dunning-Kruger effect describes this pattern of behavior with beautiful precision. For years I've struggled to understand exactly why people with next to no experience would ignore my advice. People quite simply, do not know what they do not know, and have a vastly higher opinion of themselves on the topic at hand than they should. The one common theme among these people is the absolute inability to show their work. They cannot prove they have done the thing in question with sufficient sample size and success rate to demonstrate their experience is great enough to have formed an opinion worthy of merit.

    If this isn't damning enough, they also refuse to listen to true experts because they assume everyone else is faking it, just as they are. The risk to their ego is too great to allow the possibility that someone else has spent significantly more time and effort than they on a specific topic. So they would rather maintain their false position they've created for themselves than realize their true position. Other than Gunhive, I've just described the mode of operation which exists by the majority of users on every other precision rifle forum in existence. Over the last 15 years of participating on forums, I've come to the conclusion that the amount of effort required to get the majority of people to accept help is far greater than the effort I'm willing to expend. The more experience I get and the more profound my advancements in this sport, the more people resist what I have to say. I wish that were the worst of it, but it's not.

    There is a psychological sickness affecting the majority of Americans in which they want to own everything. Worse than people not following my advice, is seeing them follow it, blindly... and then proclaiming themselves an expert the very instant they adopt the philosophy I handed them. This is why it's seemingly nearly impossible to get students of our training to share their experiences and write testimonials. On average, roughly 1-3 students out of a class of 10 people will give a public testimonial of their experiences with the training, despite roughly 100% of students in attendance will claim a life-changing revelation during the course of training. They immediately claim ownership of the material they are given, and regurgitate it to others in their circle to advance their false position of authority. It's a truly sad thing to witness, but something I see over and over again.

    The only mechanism we have against this onslaught of misinformation and false positioning is truth. We must demand of ourselves to be truthful about who we are. Truthful to others, but most importantly, truthful to ourselves. At first glance, this can seem very easy... but I warn you it is fraught with peril. The simplest path to truth is to stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, embrace your position in relation to your goals. Set your own level and work within your bounds as you expand your experience. Your true capabilities will come from experience, so the goal should be to get more experience. While gaining experience, competence and confidence will come at the rate they should, rather than be artificially created. This is the only way I envision people can avoid "mount stupid" on the Dunning-Kruger effect graph.

  • Thank you for writing this up. I often wonder about the concept of the “blind leading blind”. Seems that religion and shooting sports have that and many others in common. I find myself one who wants to be a student and learn as much as I can from those I can trust. Problem is, with someone like me, who doesn’t have the gift of discernment as well as others, how does one find the truth?

    There are many, so many, gunslingers out there that just want to push products for money regardless if the product is worth it or not. They “sell” themselves for worldly gains. Either recognition or monitary gains, it deceives the people.

    Now, I know Greg speaks the truth because unfortunately I have spent too much money and time getting substandard products from those so called people saying it is top stuff. I had to compare them to find out for myself. That could have been avoided if the so called experts would have shut their mouths up from the beginning.

  • I have found that I can trust Greg. He has given me advice that cost him a sale because it was the correct advice. If you notice...he doesn't carry very many products either. I have seen Greg drop products he could have made money on because they proved to be sub par products. I would not be here if I hadn't learned (the hard way) to trust Greg's recommendations regarding shooting.

  • Very good write up, Very good.. I also deal with this very thing on a different subject and I get pissed and almost can't hold back from throwing it in the face of the ass-hole know-it-all repeating what I just showed/told them just to make him look smarter then they are on the given subject. I have been tempted to give the wrong info to that person just to see them look like the dumb-ass they are but for some reason just can't bring myself to do it.

    How do you deal with it? I'm finding it harder everyday.

    I already humiliated that person in-front of others on another false claim he tells people, with his repeated claim of how he's been farming all his life. He only says that because of my family's farming back ground. I, in-front of everyone standing there listening to him, said "the Fuck you have", I only hear him say now he has a 20ac hobby farm which he round bales hay, that much would be would be true, would I consider it a farm? No, but at least he is not comparing himself to a real farmer.

    This person claims to have done everything all his life no matter the subject.

  • @alfmoonspace said in Unskilled and Unaware.:

    how does one find the truth?

    You discover truth by performing the work. Experience. Just as the phrase I coined many years ago, which is displayed on our website: Experience is the fire in which theory burns and truth emerges.

    What you are speaking of is something different, and that is figuring out how to decide who to listen to. That is significantly harder, because there are many people in the precision rifle world who simply do not adhere to a moral code or value set. They are smooth talkers, have all the right connections, and may even have a lot of experience. Long on buzz words and long resumes that will seem extremely impressive. Maybe they are. Maybe it's just the kind of person you're looking for. Only you can decide.

    Time tends to reveal the truth of things. I have mentored many shooters in the past. I'm presently mentoring several. While I have a huge number of customers that ask advice, I'm not able to "mentor" them because the flow of information from me to them is still encumbered with trust issues. Among those shooters I'm mentoring that trust my word, I tend to take great lengths to show them my work. I prove to them that I've done my diligence and I'm not offering my advice lightly or without proof. Yet even those shooters are not ready to hear the answers from time to time. Often it isn't until much after I've given them the answer that they realize the gravity of what I said or demonstrated.

    That's a long winded way of telling you that I do not have an answer for you as it pertains to trying to decide who to listen to. It takes a keen intellect and a significant portion of instinct to avoid the snake oil salesmen among us. ... and there are as many snake oil salesmen as there are trees in the world. I pay the price for those shameful people every single day. Were it not for them, people would be much quicker to accept what I was telling them. If not at first, certainly after evidence of my experience were provided. Just as with all other relationships, there's a certain amount of risk involved in listening to someone else. Time will show you who truly cares for your interests. So manage your risk as best you can. True experts are not afraid of showing their work.

    The friday before all of our training classes, I make it a point to shoot a few rounds for those in attendance. My talents, or lack of them, is laid bare for all to see. This is why I quite possibly have more documented and photographed shots posted online than any person living. I can't be certain that it's true, but it certainly may be. Those here on gunhive, and other forums before it, have witnessed a massive number of my shots in the last decade. I'm not shy about my true performance and capabilities. If you find a person in authority on a subject that is willing to show-and-tell, show their work in that way... you'll likely find someone you can trust. There are not many.