You think you’re great, don’t you?
According to Cornell psychologist David Dunning, if you said “yes,” then you’re normal. Because studies show that most of us do believe that we’re above average in almost all areas of life.
For example: Most of us rate ourselves as “better than average” drivers, we also overestimate our own IQs, and when asked to rate ourselves, compared to other people, on a scale of 1-to-10, surveys show that most of us rate ourselves a “7.”
In fact, this belief in our own greatness is so common, that psychologists have a name for it: “false superiority.” Dunning says it comes from the fact that most of us go through life without getting honest feedback from our close family and friends. So, for certain skills, it’s easy to think we’re better than we really are. Which helps explain why so many people audition for “American Idol,” for example – even though they can’t carry a tune. It’s usually because their parents always told them they were amazing and talented.
But get this: Dunning says our false superiority is actually a good thing, because studies show that it helps boost our self-esteem, and protect our mental health.
In fact, our expert says the people who consistently underrate themselves – when asked to compare themselves to others – are more likely to be depressed, or have anxiety issues!
In other words, it’s okay to think you’re great. But if you want a true measure of your greatness, you need to get constructive criticism from people outside your own friends and family.