We think everyone is noticing us so we don’t need to draw attention to our accomplishments because surely, they will be acknowledged. Or, we are horrified about an embarrassing moment because we are convinced no one will ever forget it.
Do either of these sound familiar?
The “spotlight effect” is a cognitive bias that describes this tendency to think more people are noticing us than actually are. Assuming this extra positive or negative attention could make us reluctant to tout our own successes or fearful to take risks, respectively. Knowing this tendency helps us act in spite of it.
There is another type of spotlight effect though, that arises from a pressure to prove ourselves to others. Society pressures us to feel and prove that we are doing the right things, even feeling the right things. This can make us feel we need to shine a spotlight on our good deeds and good intentions for fear of someone noticing we didn’t; once again, over-estimating the attention others actually put on us.
We can inspire others with our actions, but there is no need to announce our goodness or prove it to anyone. True goodness illuminates outwardly and doesn’t need a spotlight on it. How have we been living our lives when no one was looking? What actions are we taking to improve matters? Lets take stock and let our actions speak for themselves.
So do we shine a spotlight on a star? It depends on the effect we’re seeking.
When was the last time you did a good deed without telling anyone about it? 🤫 No need to tell. 😉