Maybe you’ve noticed that we, people tend to have a lot of opinions about everything: that’s what modern society teaches us every day: your opinion matters and so, you should speak what’s on your mind at all times. The temptation is huge to start getting at all the holes in that particular theory but that’s not what I intended for this article. Today I decided to target something else I’ve been noticing all my life: whether we admit it or not, we usually tend to have a pretty high opinion of ourselves compared to others.
Let’s back up a little. Have you noticed that it’s usually a lot easier for us to point out the fault in others’ behavior rather than notice our own mistakes? Yep, that’s kind of what I’m getting at here: it’s normally much harder for us to de-center ourselves from our own experiences because, you know, that’s all we really know in life. Hence, it’s very easy sometimes to point fingers at others, consciously (or not) turning our backs at the skeletons in our own closets. It’s kind of easier that way, because what others do won’t usually hurt us more than what we’ve done wrong ourselves. This usually leads to us thinking that we’re, at the very least, above the average person.
Yes, many of us might not want to admit it but we think we’re better than the average person. We all do. And it’s not just that our moms told us that we were the prettiest and the smartest while we were growing up: the fact that we literally live with ourselves 100% of the time and are so deeply submerged in our own feelings and notions that it’s hard to believe that anyone else might actually be
better similar. Thanks to my college degree in Psychology, I was actually able to put a name on this notion, too: it seems people smarter than me refer to this as the Better-Than-Average effect. And apparently this idea that we generally rate ourselves higher than we do most people is something scientists are well aware of. And yes, there is those of us that probably don’t always do this but you’re not among them, generally, it’s a thing.
So, now that I got your attention to the subject you’re probably thinking Wait… Am I really doing that?? Chances are that you are on a regular basis or, at the very least, you’ve done it at some point. I think it’s important to understand here, though, that this process doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Yes, this might bend our perceptions of reality but is that really so bad? I mean, reality is a flexible thing; and it’s up to us to make the best that we possibly can from biases like this, when we know they exist. Thinking that you can probably do a little better than your competition can certainly act as a motivator for your success. Feeling that you’ve got more in you, more potential and ideas for the future can actually make it easier to get up off your couch and do something to make those ides happen. It can make you grow, excel and develop yourself so that one day you can afford to not only think you’re more, but say it to the world.
That being said, remember we always need to take everything with a grain of salt: learn to know where the limit is and to put the brakes on your brain before it goes beyond it. And this is not only useful to do in real-life situations either: your brain functions all the time so you need to exercise controlling it every day. Reality can only stretch so much before it snaps: be aware at all times of who you are, what your capabilities are and where you stand. Knowing you can do more is good but so is being humble; be careful and try not to cross that line because our cockiness can turn to bite us at any point. So, stay true to yourself, be aware of who you are and do what you need to do do be better.