If other people saw you as a selfish person, would you realize it? Over the past year, I’ve noticed some telltale clues:
Let’s add one more: You blushed as you read this list.
I created this list as a lighthearted way to illustrate a serious point: We’re notoriously bad at judging our own generosity.
You’ve heard the statistics: 90 percent of people think they’re better than average. Evidence shows that we think we're superior to others in every domain: We believe we’re smarter, more attractive, more likeable, and more skilled at a wide range of tasks—from math to leadership.
For a long time, I hoped these narcissistic tendencies wouldn’t extend to the domain of giving and helping. I was wrong.
Psychologists have identified three reasons for these errors of perception:
To find out if you think more like a taker or a giver, try this free assessment. You can also invite anyone to rate you anonymously at the site, and it site will provide you with an aggregate score. Try that one at your own risk.
And if you have a favorite way of spotting or reforming takers, feel free to share it below.
Adam Grant is a Wharton professor and the author of Give and Take, a bestselling book about the surprising success of givers—and techniques for recognizing and dealing with takers. It debuts in paperback on Tuesday, March 25.