How can we thrive? I think there's hope

Hi, my name is Jason and I’m an egoholic.

It’s an interesting exercise saying this out loud. I will preface this post by saying I’m posting it as a user; not as staff. My hope is that readers might see it as food for thought.

Human beings, myself included, tend to have an inherent need to be right, rather than correct. This becomes especially destructive at a time in history when there is so much divisiveness, exasperated by a deadly pandemic. After seeing some topics surface on this forum, and user avatars being changed to depict a need for forum social justice, it got me thinking more about how a healthy community thrives. Or more importantly, heals.

It’s not lost on me that this is a forum for a flight simulator. We’re not changing the world. But we are a community. Life-long friendships are formed and solidified here, and some of our members will inevitably go on to make a lasting impact in their communities and the world. This can be for good or bad.

The flight sim community can be a tumultuous place. Inherently, it’s a group of people who’s aim is to know as much as possible about a topic so as to simulate it well. Disagreements arise out of a desire to provide the perfect response, and to scrutinize even the finest of details.

Mount Stupid

What social psychologists find is that some of the people who are the most ignorant on a topic are the same people that are most blind to their ignorance on that topic. This makes it extremely difficult to confront someone on this, and it also makes it quite difficult to realize it in ourselves. Our ability to over-estimate our own knowledge on a specific topic is so prevalent, that’s psychologists have given it a name. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect (named after the two psychologists who did the initial research).

The graphic above depicts what Dunning and Kruger found in their research. When you’re completely ignorant on a topic, you know it. It’s easy for me to stumble upon two friends talking about the latest trends in Chemical Engineering and say I know nothing about that topic. I have no opinion other than, “wow, you seem to know a lot about that!” But as soon as a person starts learning about a topic, their estimation of how much they know about that topic climbs much faster than their actual knowledge. As shown in the graphic, your confidence on the topic skyrockets to that of an expert based on what little you know.

At the top of the ignorance curve (or the peak of Mount Stupid) is where we are our most judgemental selves, and where we are the most dangerous. It’s where a person has very little knowledge and an extreme amount of confidence. It’s where some people choose to stay.

It’s very difficult to be in a learning posture at the peak of Mount Stupid because a person always feels as though they have something to teach others. Pride is this person’s most dangerous trait.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to stop there! If we continue to learn, our confidence will inevitably decrease to a level that’s in tune with reality. As we can see from the graph, a constant posture of learning (and I will add, humility) will take us into the area of wisdom (do I know this, or do I need to keep learning?), and eventually, expertise. It’s no surprise then, that the expert will often have an attitude of wanting to teach and continue to learn.

So what do we do with this on the IFC? One more anecdote first. As many readers will already know, I’m in the process of working on my PPL in Canada. I started knowing a lot of pilots, and what I considered to be a lot of knowledge about aviation. I went into my training at the peak of Mount Stupid and I stayed there until about my third lesson in the airplane. I landed the airplane myself on my discovery flight. Attitudes and movements; no problem. But as I progressed, and did so without having caught up with ground school, I began to realize that the principles I needed to know as a foundation to my training were not there. Not even close. Why couldn’t I remember when and why to lean? It wasn’t because my instructor didn’t tell me; it was because I hadn’t learned the fundamentals of engines, fuel systems, pressure, and on and on.

A forum-centric community will always have many challenges; language barriers, wide age-ranges, cultural gaps, intellectual differences, and so many more. What I believe we can take from the Dunning-Kruger example is that we can all (myself included) use generous helpings of humility and grace. Humility to know that no matter the topic, we have something to learn. Grace to realize that as much as it may pain us, someone else may know more than us and have something to teach us.

An added complication in our setting is that almost everyone here is a user (and therefore customer) of Infinite Flight, or was at some point. This adds a sense of ownership. Speaking from a staff position, we want you to feel heard when it comes to feature requests, tech support issues, and of course, satisfaction (cough 5-star review cough)! For the sake of this topic, I’d like to suggest setting that fact aside. We’re all aviation lovers, and we’re all here because of Infinite Flight. I’d like to suggest that instead of demanding change in others, let’s all first look at ourselves. Frustrated with mini-mods? What small bit can we learn from them? What fundamental issue is steering their actions, and how can we help?

Asking questions

My one wish as the person in charge of marketing and communication for Infinite Flight is that we would all ask more questions. The thing we all love to talk about the most is ourselves. Fighting the urge to use “you” or “I” when expressing a thought can be a good strategy to avoid putting someone on the defensive. Asking questions and inviting someone to express themselves more clearly is often the easiest way to deescalate a potentially volatile situation and set a tone for a respectful conversation (or in our case, topic).

I think our forum community can continue to be a source of incredible information and ideas if we all open our web browsers while asking ourselves one question: what can I learn from this amazing group of people today?

Credit: Some topics and ideas in this post came directly from a talk by Bruxy Cavey, author and advocate of peace teaching.

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Interesting article - thanks Jason!

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Great article Jason, as a community we should respond to the best of our ability, both positively and usefully. Really in depth!
Cign :)

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Awesome post! Definitely is fascinating, especially for someone who is an aviation enthusiast pursuing a health career like me! 😃

This could not be more relevant than today. Thinking more macroscopically, beyond the IFC, the Dunning-Kruger graph is something that is taught in intro psych classes, and often times is a wonderful tool to describing origins of certain viewpoints or opinions. I 100% agree that a person’s ego can make or break them!

I also feel that this may be a good time for all of us to take a look at ways we can overcome and move past the apex of ignorance and confidence. Here is a graphic of the differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset:

I feel that realizing which mindset you are is the first step to coming down from Mount Stupid. It’s something that is emphasized through many educational medias, especially here in the US.

This is by far one of the most interesting, helpful, and engaging topics that I’ve encountered on the IFC after being here for 2+ years. Well done! 👍🏽

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Interesting read, Jason! This is so relevant these days on the IFC these days. This goes really in-depth to how and why people do what they do around here (Dunning-Kruger effect), and I certainly learned a lot — really helpful topic! I hope we can continue to make the IFC awesome, one step at a time. 😉


Can I buy some real estate here? 😛

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I feel that this article will help the community, especially in these times. I wish to keep learning about aviation as I wish to become a commercial pilot someday. I agree with you and @Aniket_Joglekar about what he said. You have to figure out what mindset you are, and if you want to change your mindset, you must have the willingness to learn and grow as a person. I want to take a moment to thank the mods, and even the mini-mods, for keeping this community the awesome one it is.

Now that u say this I feel way better. Because all over this community people have different views. And the minute I say something against them it’s flagged for off topic or something like that. Makes it hard to “agree to disagree” which is how a community sticks together.

Nicely said Jason! We all have our differences; but we share the same love: The love for aviation and the Infinite Flight Simulator! This community is filled with knowledge, creativity, passion and collaboration! Each and every single community member has one of these traits - if not all of them! We truly have to come together as a community during this time and see past our differences.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” - Dale Carnegie


As a community, we have to look at the brighter side of things. We have to have respect for one another! We have to understand one another! We truly have to be a community and look out for one another! We are all one big Family!

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This was such a great read @jasonrosewell! So true, why we are all here and do what we do. Great topic and hope we can continue to make the IFC the best in the world!

This actually cleared it up so good. Very interesting to read. Thank you.

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Good read Jason, thanks for the info.

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This is one of the bits that stand out the most to me. As I (and others) deal with more and more people on a daily basis, it’s surprising how the right tone and approach can deescalate an explosive situation even before it begins, which applies to anyone who indulges in personal interactions. Doing it properly requires careful thinking before action is taken. With that in mind, restraint and humility are probably the two most essential components when it comes to deciding to take action. They apply to virtually every component of life from the top to bottom down.

Plenty of food for thought to digest here. I’ll certainly be contemplating many of the key components of this post over the course of the evening.

Cheers.

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Thanks, Jason, for the great read. I think we all can learn something from this post, including myself. Reading about the Dunning-Kruger Effect was definitely cool as well. I see it at play in the community (including myself), now that I think about it.

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This is a great article Jason! Well done! 10 out of 10!

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Now stuff like this is why I come to forum. Awesome post, Jason! Pretty much summed it up perfectly.

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Thanks folks. I’m still learning so this topic is a good exercise for me to even write. My ultimate hope is that we can learn from each other and be a community that helps and learns from each other.

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Oh boy, this community helped me so much

Not just by answering questions, but when I was feeling a bit sad too. As there are always some people here that make you smile. Maybe unintentionally maybe not.
This community shares a great interest in aviation. But what we wanna do is different.
Some people want to be ATC when they grow up
Others want to be ground crew
And others want to be a pilot and fly the infinite skies.

Of course you can get there alone, but it’s always better if there are friends by your side.