Who cares what other people think? We are bombarded with advice telling us to make our own choices and not be swayed by other people’s opinions. Be the master of your own destiny, they say. It’s your life. Do it your way. The assumption is that we know better, and if we look within ourselves, we will find all the answers and make the right choices.
While I agree with the basic premise that it is important to make decisions that reflect our personal values, I also believe it is important to get out of our own head.
Seek advice from people you admire and to get honest feedback from people you trust. When it comes to making decisions—about things big and small—you may not be the expert you think you are. Emotions, past experiences, misperceptions and assumptions tend to cloud judgment. Suboptimal decisions are the result. Sometimes other people really do know best.
This is especially true when it comes to choosing profile pictures for dating, Facebook and LinkedIn. One might assume that we would choose the best photos of ourselves but it turns out we are downright useless. Other people are more adept at picking the most flattering pictures. This phenomenon has practical implications. As the researchers conclude, “should people wish to “put their best face forward,” they should ask someone else to choose it…
Indeed, self-expertise may be a myth, at least when it comes to choosing the most appealing photo of yourself. Surely, the limits of self-perception are not limited to the selection of profile pictures. Instead of looking inside of yourself for all the answers, look up from your phone, look out into the world and tap into the wisdom of others. We don’t always have to go it alone.