It is easy to see the faults of others. In fact we can easily observe the choices others make, and actions they take to create undesirable results in their lives. However, when it comes to ourselves, we fall short of seeing “the truth”. Studies have shown that we tend to see ourselves as less self-interested, more altruistic and more important than our peers; however the same studies show that when put to the test, we are all on equal ground, acting equally as self-interested and altruistic in comparable situations.
Consider this: Although having overly positive thoughts about ourselves may have worked as a survival tactic during the hunter / gatherer days, when we were fighting (literally) for our lives, if not kept “in check”, this mindset could result in failure and an unhappy life today. What we do know is that while positive illusions about oneself do work to our advantage in many instances, (confidence and high self-esteem being necessary to make anything happen) in their extreme, they result in feelings of entitlement and the notion that we “deserve” more than those around us. This way of thinking backfires in business negotiations and will keep us from getting what we want. As a rule of thumb, if you want to reach your goals, make a habit of putting yourself, constantly, in the shoes of others. Compassion, empathy and ultimately, reciprocity, will pave the way for choices that will lead to growth in the long run, regardless of how they may appear at the outset.