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25 December 2015

Positive Illusion Bias - Why we are not what we think of?

Answer the following questions. Answers sound familiar?
  1. Have you seen anyone boasting about themselves? (yep, they are all around us)
  2. Have you ever boasted about yourself to someone and later felt that you actually overrated yourself? (sometimes, not mostly i am grounded)
If you answer "yes" to one of the questions, read further.

We overrate ourselves, often. On the positive things we rate ourselves above average and on the negative things we rate ourselves below average. Yes, we perceive ourselves to be better than most others around us.

If you are a manager, you had to do handle it quite often and more certainly once the yearly performance rating are over. People rate themselves above most of the people in the team on work/impact they created and how much less overhead these caused. While that may not be intentional, we need to understand what are the implications of doing that - Positive Illusion Bias. It does not stop at performance reviews and extends in all facets of life. It is how we are wired.

Positive Illusion has both positive and negative side effects. In a shorter terms, it seems to help relieve stress and be more self-confident. But over longer term, it has negative side effects when we overdo it (it could be sudden fall). Thinking that i will stand out from the pack often leads to less preparation which leads to wreckage as it gives false sense (Ex: My health is better than my friends, i can cram the exam since i m better grasping, i am more honest than most in the society, trying to predict the stock market thinking that i am an ace trader etc).

To Sum Up: Whether or not it is good - it is not the reality. It is one more reason to remain grounded and modest.