In his book Think Again, author Adam Grant posits the “armchair quarterback syndrome”, which he says is simply when confidence exceeds competence. We see “armchair quarterbacks” on social media every weekend, second-guessing decisions made by the coach of their favorite sports team. Grant takes it a bit further, though, and applies this syndrome to anyone that has a confidence greater than their competence.
I think this is often related to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is:
… a cognitive bias stating that people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, and that people with high ability at a task underestimate their own ability.
Having a high level of confidence can be a great thing. There are a lot of brilliant people in the world that don’t speak up frequently enough, depriving the rest of us of their new ideas. This is generally due to imposter syndrome, which itself can sometimes be a good thing.
The challenge becomes finding a way to measure your competence against your confidence. I think the best solution there is simply having the humility to look closely at your beliefs — that will help show you were you might be wrong, or it could give you the confidence to know that you were right. Either way, you win.