The Syndrome.

"In order to excel you must be completely dedicated, prepared to work hard, and to accept constructive criticism." ~ Willie Mays.

I was up late one night watching a sports legends interview with the great Willie Mays. The interviewer asked him "Do you still go out to the stadium and watch the guys during batting practise?" Willie said Yes.

The interviewer went on to say... "The young guys must really appreciate your insights?" ~ Not really said Willie ~ They know a whole lot ~ these kids nowadays. And it struck me ~ what chance do any of us have in teaching, coaching, or leading if the young baseball players of today don't listen, and pay attention to, ~ Willie Mays?

They call it the Dunning-Kruger effect in psychology whereas those with lesser ability, and / or competence in any area, tend to:

1.    Overestimate their own level of skill.

2.    Fail to recognize genuine skill in others.

3.    Fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy.

Whereas those people with true ability and competence tend to underestimate their relative competence. What was the most startling revelation, or conclusion, in the landmark Dunning- Kruger study?

Well the dagger to the heart to every hopeful optimist is... ~ "Poor performers do not learn from feedback suggesting a need to improve."

Now none of this helps us with the frustration of trying to assist those afflicted with the 'syndrome'. ~ But perhaps a little comfort can be found in knowing that when you're trying to help someone improve their swing in life... Some people won't even listen to the great Willie Mays.


  1. There is a great story about Willie Mays and a modern ballplayer named Juan Pierre. Apparently Mays was watching him play during Spring Training and Juan Pierre asked for the Hall of Famer's autograph. Willie obliged, signed the ball and put his phone number on it. Juan was honored and he did call to get advice from the Say Hey Kid.
    Juan Pierre probably doesn't have the most skill in the world, but he's known as one of the hardest workers in baseball - a guy who "hustles" to get the most out of his ability. And, of course, he is a big fan of Willie Mays.
    Some of them listen Mr. Collins, some of them do. They are the ones that have that extra advantage whether the playing field is a baseball stadium or a corporate boardroom. When they make the big play or close the big deal they have their mentors to thank.