Warped Views of Ourselves

There is this idea of Overconfidence in decision theories where our subjective confidence in our abilities exceed the actual objective performance. For example, assign yourself a percentile in the USA for:

  • Being a good friend
  • Intelligence
  • Kindness
  • Honesty

Most of us would rate ourselves above the 50%: we are kinder, more honest, more intelligence, a better friend than 50% of the population. However, this cannot be true. We cannot ALL be above the 50% because in order to be above it, the same amount of people must be below it.

This leads me to wonder: how warped is our view of ourselves? We all work towards our ideal human, and so believe ourselves to be pretty decent people as a result: someone above the 50% of this ideal criteria.

The reality is that this is not and cannot be the case. We cannot all be above the 50%. How accurate is our self-perception?

I have believed myself to be a generous, somewhat selfless person. Giving has always been natural for me to the extent that I conjure ways to give beyond what is necessary. You didn’t ask for this, but I want to give it to you. It has recently come to my attention that although I may mean well, the execution can be poor. I assume what someone would want, but at times, they do not want it: it has a negative effect. You don’t want this, but I give it to you. A lose-lose situation: I went out of my way to do something for them that they did not want. In the end, how generous and selfless am I?

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