Think you know yourself pretty well, huh? Not so fast—the more confident you are, the less it’s likely you really know much about yourself at all.
A study published in Self and Identity has found that people who say they’re the most self-aware tend to in fact be the least self aware. Researchers had 91 study participants answer a questionnaire on their self-knowledge, then provide ten answers to the question “who am I?”, then asked to give either two, then eight, examples of when, in their lives, they exhibited two of their most important traits. After all that, they had to say how hard they found the challenge, and researchers measured their self-esteem.
Interesting, participants who said they had a lot of self-awareness ended up having a harder time than others thinking of eight examples of their most important traits. Moreover, doing so left their self-esteem drained. On the other hand, participants who admitted less self-awareness didn’t have such a hard time thinking of eight examples of their most important trait.
In fact, the participants who claimed low self-knowledge said they found the challenge of coming up with eight examples of each personal trait no harder than when they had to come up with two examples. Also, their self-esteem didn’t shift.
So, if you’re the kind of guy who likes to say he knows himself pretty well, beware—the exact opposite may be true.