“You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity, which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Nowadays, you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable and sociable while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.”
Do you recognize yourself? On a scale from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), how was my assessment?
The majority of statements are so general that they relate to everyone. “Sometimes you seriously doubt your actions”. Who doesn’t? Second, we tend to accept flattering statements that don’t apply to us: “You are proud of your independent thinking.” Obviously! who sees himself or herself as a mindless follower? Third, the so called future-positive effect plays a part: The text contains no negative statements; it states only what we are, even though the absence of characteristics is an equally important part of a person’s makeup. Fourth, the father of all the fallacies, the confirmation bias: We accept whatever corresponds to our self-image and unconsciously filter everything else out. What remains a coherent portrait.
In 1948, psychologist Bertram Forer crafted this exact passage using astrology columns from various magazines. He then gave it to his students to read, suggesting that each person was getting a personalized assessment. On average, the students rated their characterizations 4.3 out of 5. The experiment was repeated hundreds of times in the decades that followed with virtually identical results.
Conclusion: Believe in yourself!! People will chatter you, praise you and even humiliate you. Try to be yourself. Understanding self is an essential pragmatic force that will lead you further. You don’t need other’s approval to be yourself. Moreover, don’t be entrapped by other’s opinion.
The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli (2011)