If you want to identify your character at it’s core, think about the person you are when your internet or cable goes down and you call Customer Service. If your potential future Boss was a fly on the wall during this interaction, would you still get the job?

You’ve heard the famous saying, “Character is what we do when we think no one is watching.” And although most of our daily behaviors rarely call for the need to look over our shoulders, chances are there are a few (like that phone call with Comcast), where we might squirm if broadcast to our network.

Interestingly, the phenomena of illusory superiority would have the majority of people in the US believe they fall above the median (e.g., a 7 out of 10) on most things from driving abilities to charitable giving to honesty , even though that doesn’t make mathematical sense. There are many hypotheses for why this overestimation of ourselves occurs including poorly defined criteria for assessing (What really counts as good driving??) and a lack of feedback (Well, no one’s ever told me I drive poorly).

But, while it may be challenging to assess our driving abilities in comparison to others, when it comes to our own character, there’s no need to measure against anyone but ourselves.  After all, we know what we do when we think no one is watching.

Obviously character matters when it comes to making positive impressions or being socially acceptable, so when in the public eye, we naturally put our best foot forward. So, does it really matter what we do behind closed doors, especially if there is little chance anyone will find out?

It does, and here’s why. The late Bruce Lee is credited with saying, “Under duress, we do not rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training.”  This means, that when in an unexpected crisis or a moment of weakness due to stress, lack of sleep or another environmental factor, who you really are – your character at it’s core – is going to come out.

If you practice always being who you really want the world to see, no matter what the circumstances, they will always see your best.

Oh, and PS. Over 60% of people lie at least two times in every 10-minute conversation*. But more than 70% of people reading this will believe they are in the 40% 🙂

Happy hunting!

*Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology 

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