Everything in this universe revolves around someone or something else. It was Man’s decision to make the world revolve around human beings. It is also in the human nature that each person would focus on himself/herself in a world where approximately 7 billion others live. That is the reality of the situation we live in, we are egotists; some of us more than others. Hugh Prather, philosopher, minister, writer, and lecturer, once said, “No matter what we talk about, we are talking about ourselves.”
I came across a very interesting book a few days ago that talked about psychology. It discussed a very interesting and scientifically proven theory that stated that the way we perceive ourselves is quite delusional. It is referred to as the “Lake Wobegon Effect. ” Basically, our ego distorts our vision of ourselves so we always give ourselves more credit than we actually deserve.
The discussion of whether or not that is a good thing is controversial. From the way I see it, ego has something to do with self-confidence. It is how we perceive and trust ourselves. It can make us more convincing in our jobs and in public speaking. But the problem is when this ego overcomes us and becomes more dominant than it should be; forgetting that we are not in fact the center of attention can turn a self-confident person into a self-centered one.
“We think we are being interesting to others when we are being interesting to ourselves,” (Jack Gardner). We live in our mind and create all of our assumptions about people and our impressions about different things in our lives based on us. As a result, we the microscopic creatures (in comparison to this universe), maximize our value, literally.
Professor Ivana Bianchi, from the University of Macerata, asked her students to estimate how large their heads are by drawing them on a paper. All of the students overestimated their head size by approximately 42 percent. Funny thing is that when she asked them to draw other people’s heads, they drew them 13 percent smaller than their actual size.
In fact, Bianchi’s team also researched self-portraits between the 15th and 20th century with classical portraits and found out that the head sizes in self-portraits were all overestimated. If we take this literal example and explain it metaphorically, we will see that we maximize our abilities and minimize others’.
Why I’m mentioning all of this research and experimental findings is to show that we all have a bias-blind spot that clouds our judgment. We all experienced a discussion where the two sides were both very opinionated. Personally, I realized after reading this that I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did. So even though I should keep my self-confidence on a high level, I need to keep my mind open to the remarks that others have about me because they probably know me more than I realize it. “You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak.” (George Clooney).
This little dog called Ego that follows us everywhere needs to learn how to follow our orders. Otherwise, a false feeling of always being right even when we are wrong will drive us towards our destruction. It is up to us to be more self-aware and control this habit so that we can always see clearly.
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.