Powerful People are Inspired By Themselves

Back when Gene Simmons had his own magazine (it was called Tongue), he interviewed himself. What would possess Simmons to do something like that? Maybe the same reason Kanye West listens to his own music: powerful people are really, really into themselves.

In fact, a study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science has found that powerful people get inspiration from themselves. In one experiment, researchers used a standard survey to determine how powerful their eighty-two study participants felt. They then had to write a short essay about an event that inspired them. Instructions were intentionally sort of vague, which led powerful people to write about themselves (e.g., “This one time, when I was staying at the penthouse suite in the Trump . . .”) and less powerful people to write about others (e.g., “My friend Sandy really inspires me; she was so brave when her cancer reoccurred . . .”).

In a second experiment, researchers paired up study participants and told them to take turns telling each other about a time they felt inspired. Afterwards, more powerful people told researchers that they felt more inspired by their own stories than the stories of others.

If anything, it’s the second experiment that resonates with us; after all, how many times does it seem like a powerful person you’re talking to seem more interested in talking about themselves?



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