I have this embarrassing problem that I need to share.
My problem is that I tend to think that I’m something I’m not.
In other words, I’m prone to pride.
For example, I tend to think I’m smarter, kinder, more spiritual and funnier than I actually am [EdiTOR's note: that last example is the toughest one for me to personally believe.]
It seems that I simply like myself too much to think I’m anything less than God’s gift to writing – I mean I even named my blog after myself, what’s up with that?
While my thoughts of myself are much higher than they ought to be I’m not alone in that regard.
In his book How We Know What Isn’t So, Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich writes about how we are all prone to seeking self-serving beliefs and filtering data to support our existing perspectives.
Gilovich conducted a nationwide survey of more than a million high school seniors regarding their personal perceptions of themselves and here are some of the surprising results:
- 100% thought they were “above average” in their ability to get along and socialize with others (even the bullies);
- 70% thought they were “above average” regarding their individual leadership skills – only 2% described themselves as being “below average” in leadership ability (classic example of too many generals and not enough soldiers…);
- And as far as academic ranking, 60% thought they were in the top 10% of all survey participants and 25% thought they were in the top 1% (apparently these students haven’t been tracking U.S. academic performance compared with global counterparts).
Interestingly, Gilovich then went on to survey college professors and found that 94% of those instructors surveyed described themselves as “doing a better-than-average job” – speaking from firsthand experience, I can attest that 94% of my college professors were NOT above average.
Self esteem is fine and necessary for success, but that’s not the degree of pride that I’m referring to nor Gilovich’s research bears out.
We seem to be a bunch of self-absorbed braggarts, preening peacocks and self-proclaiming blowhards – I’m chief among them.
Thankfully, I have three kids and a loving wife who are able to knock me down a couple of pegs when I get too unbearable to live with.
I’m also having to remind myself of the following scripture.
…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3
That’s good, practical advice but it’s a constant daily battle for me to fight the flaw that I don’t think I have any flaws.
Question: Has pride ever caused you to stumble in your home life or work life?