Why do most people value the ego

Why people overestimate themselves

In a recent survey from London, reported by the "Guardian", 98 percent of the participants said that they are nicer than others. This tendency to assess oneself better than the average is known in technical terms as the "Above Average" or "Better than Average" effect.

Numerous other socio-psychological studies prove the effect, for a wide variety of areas of life. Most people seem to think that they are better than average drivers, that they are healthier, more intelligent and that they work better. They also value their own attractiveness as researchers from the universities of Chicago and Virginia have found.

"Overall, around 60 percent of the population are likely to have a positive self-image," estimates Daniel Leising, a psychologist at the Technical University of Dresden.

Better than average

Scientists from IE Business School in Madrid looked at how students rated their leadership skills in comparison with others. The result: They gave themselves higher grades across the board, and their fellow students assessed them more realistically.

A study carried out on prisoners and published in the British Journal of Social Psychology shows that they too see themselves as more moral, more trustworthy, more reliable, more compassionate, more generous, more self-controlled and nicer than their fellow prisoners - and even than the rest of the population .

More self-confidence

The possible advantages of this tendency to overestimate oneself are described in the "Economist": "Overestimating one's abilities and qualities can give one self-confidence and help to overcome challenges." This can also help in professional life, where self-assessment is related to self-confidence and thus to success.

"If someone who overestimates his abilities wants to apply for a job, he will definitely do so. Because he is convinced that he can meet the demands. With a little luck he will get the job," says psychologist Leising.

Minus: The ego is getting too big

However, there is also the risk of tripping over your own ego. "It's a double-edged sword," says Margarita Mayo, who led the Madrid study and also researches narcissism in the world of work. “Narcissistic leaders may climb the corporate ladder faster, but humbler bosses tend to be more creative, efficient, and role models more often,” Mayo says.

Another possible disadvantage of overconfidence is that you fail to recognize the need to learn. The psychologist and Nobel laureate in economics, Daniel Kahneman, also points out that it makes people more willing to take risks - and makes most people underestimate the role of chance.

Reasons for overconfidence

So much for the effects - but what are the causes? You could just lie in this need for self-confidence, says the Guardian. It is possible that you got to know and appreciate things you do too well, speculates entrepreneur Jason Olsen in the "Huffington Post". "Our friends, the music we listen to, the food we like, the clothes we wear - they all mean something to us," says Olsen in the article titled "Where Are All the Below Average People?" " - Where are all the underperformers? (lib, 1.8.2017)