Back to Insights

“You Think a Lot of Yourself”

Alan Smith
© NotionPic |

Anyone who comes from the North of England will see this phrase as one of the greatest insults you can hurl. Thinking a lot of yourself is a phrase my grandmother used to use frequently as a put down for people who clearly had aspirations above their station as she would think. 

Northerners are known for their level-headedness and blunt manner; they call a spade a spade. It’s also a proven scientific fact that northerners are tougher than their southerner neighbours. Well, there’s no actual evidence, but give over. Just look at them. The hardest men in the entire south, such as Vinnie Jones and Ross Kemp, could still be beaten by the weakest, most malnourished child from the Rochdale. Even the words they use to describe hard people like ‘naughty’, ‘handy’ and ‘tasty’ sound soppy.

Anyway, this thinking a lot of yourself seems to be something that most of us are guilty of. Most of us believe we are a lot better than average.

You get an email from your boss scheduling your annual review for next month. You start compiling a list of all the successes you have achieved this year. To you it looks like a long and let’s face it impressive list. You start to fall for your own hype and think you should be pushing harder for both that hefty pay rise and promotion. After all you could run rings round anyone else in your office.

You are not alone. 

The psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger ran an experiment with 194 students to take a series of logic and grammar tests and then subsequently asked them to predict how they did against their peers. On average participants felt that they would perform in the 68th percentile, better than two-thirds of their fellow test filers. Obviously, they could not all be right.

In 1981 a study at the University of Stockholm found that 88% of drivers felt they were safer than the average. Even academics who should know better fall for this overconfidence, 90% of them at the University of Nebraska thought they were above average at teaching.

Why is this important?

Well, the most often searched term in the space that we operate in as a business is “How to negotiate a better salary?”. Seems that many of you people out there think that you are worth more than you currently get.

Now many of you will be right. And of course, negotiation will help enormously to help you reach a better deal.

Take a look here to see some of our top tips for negotiating a better package. 

One danger of overconfidence is that we do not do our preparation effectively, we fail to ask questions of our own beliefs. Do your homework, and particularly if you are of the gender that often underestimates their own value make sure you are on the front foot by recognising your worth.

That is true of any negotiation and turn that to your real advantage.

Alan Smith
More by Alan Smith:
Made for Sharing
Never say never
Back to Insights

Subscribe to our Blog

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. We value your privacy. For more information please refer to our Privacy Policy.