Our life is like a puzzle. The concept we call life is completed with the merging of many different parts. Work, family, friendship, and love. Each area that makes up our lives expects steps from us that we need to achieve. Our family expects us to be academically successful, our friends to be understanding and caring, our partner/spouse for us to be generous and compatible, our boss for us to put forth our maximum workforce, and society for us to comply and contribute to the norms of society.
Of course, being “successful” in a world full of such expectations is not easy. Because beyond all these expectations, our own perception of success exists. We also expect something from ourselves. While our expectations are sometimes realistic, sometimes they can be unrealistic. Since the feeling of success and failure directly affects our self-esteem, we have a hard time evaluating ourselves objectively.
Everyone’s understanding of success is different.
Our thoughts and expectations about success form the most significant piece of this cake that expresses our perception of success. However, the content of this large slice differs for each individual. Please consider the reasons that determine whether we are successful as slices of a big cake.
According to the person’s character traits, expectations from life, and the perception of success taught to him, each individual enters into a different expectation from himself. As we can see, everyone’s criteria for success are different. While some individuals consider being wealthy financially a criterion for success, for others, living a healthy and peaceful life may mean being successful. For some, getting married makes them successful, while for others, career advancement can make them successful.
The fact that the areas we call success are different means that we see the reasons for success and failure differently. Let’s take a look at the studies on this subject!
What is self-bias?
Patrick Gosling mentions that although the point of comparison for each individual’s success is different, the reasons individuals attribute to their success are similar. According to Gosling, who explains this phenomenon with self-bias, when we are successful, we attribute our success to internal causes. When we are unsuccessful, we attribute our failure to external causes. In this phenomenon, also called the self-chipping tendency, we attribute this result to our effort, talent and skill when we are successful. Still, when we fail, we think that the reason is factors such as the influence of other people, bad luck, and inadequate conditions.
Let’s look at self-bias with an example, shall we? For example, when we are hired as a result of a job interview, we attribute this result to our knowledge, skills, and successful communication tactics. When our job interview is unsuccessful, we look for the reason for our failure in the lack of interest, the sullen and disinterested interviewer, and the inability to specify the application requirements fully.
Three reasons that can cause self-bias
So why do we have such a tendency? Researchers mention that there may be different reasons behind this bias.
• We may be attributing the failure to external causes in order not to damage our self-esteem as the first reason. If we look for the source of loss in ourselves, our self-esteem will decrease, and we will feel a decrease in ourselves. For example, the fact that people with low self-esteem and self-confidence often look for the cause of failure in themselves can confirm this theory.
• The second reason may be our desire to protect our self-image in the eyes of others. If we blame ourselves for our failure, we may think that we will be incompetent, unsuccessful, and incompetent in the eyes of others. This may cause us to attribute the reason for failure to external causes.
• Finally, our expectations may have come into play. So much so that we expect to succeed when we start a business. Of course, this expectation is very average. Because of this expectation, we may be looking for the reason for the failure of external causes.
So does this apply to everyone?
It is almost impossible to speak of a single truth regarding human beings. Of course, there are exceptions to this phenomenon. According to the person’s self-perception, the areas to which he attributes success and failure may differ. For example, there may be an attribution to the contrary of self-bias in humble people. A humble person may look for the reason for failure while attributing the reason for his success to external causes. People at peace with themselves and with high awareness may attribute success and failure to internal causes.
As we can see, even though we live in different countries and different cultures, we generally have similar thinking styles as all people. We explain success and failure for similar reasons because we all have the same goal. We want to preserve our self-worth, both for ourselves and others.