In 1994, West Ham United were playing against Oxford United, when one of their players got injured. Their manager, Harry Redknapp, having used all his substitutes, turned to a West Ham fan in the crowd named Steve Davies, who’d spent most of the first half criticizing striker Lee Chapman. “Do you play as good as you talk?” Redknapp asked. “I’m better than that Chapman,” Davies replied, and so on to the pitch he went. Davies was likely indulging in what’s known as the “superiority illusion, ” a trait whereby we believe we’re above average at whatever we happen to set our mind to. Psychologist David Dunning has studied the effect for years, and argues that the majority of people succumb to the illusion in some form. The statistics bear it out: 65% of Americans believe they’re smarter than most and 90% percent of drivers think they’re better than average. When it comes to This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Happy Medium In praise of average. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Karin Mamma Andersson Inside the moody, mysterious world of Sweden’s preeminent painter. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Jenny Odell The acclaimed author in search of lost time. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Amalie Smith The Danish arts writer finding clarity between the lines. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Ryan Heffington Meet the man bringing choreography, community and queer joy to the desert. Arts & Culture Issue 49 Nell Wulfhart Advice from a decision coach.