Egocentric-thinking people are self-centered and consider only their own interests. Many people don’t even recognize this trait in themselves and are unaware that they think this way. Despite having these traits, many people go on to become successful in business, with careers as politicians, lawyers or business executives.
Jean Piaget, who studied childhood development, believed that egocentrism was the belief that one is the center of the universe and that everything revolves around them; they do not have the ability to see the world as someone else does nor are they able to adapt to it. His cognitive development theory was based on the idea that one’s childhood plays a vital role in human development and that egocentrism evolves from childhood behavior.
However successful, though, egocentric thinking makes one close-minded to the thoughts and ideas of others, and can damage their basic though processes. Being open-minded is a fundamental critical thinking skill, one that is absolutely necessary in being able to function with others in society.
Minimize Egocentric Thinking
The primary way to minimize egocentric thinking is to be aware of it and try to be mindful of the needs of others. This is not something that you can do simply because you recognize these traits in yourself. It is something that has to do with your thoughts about yourself. You need to fix those thoughts before you can move on to more positive interaction with others.
Once you recognize that you have egocentric thinking traits, you have to want to change them. In essence, it becomes a new life goal, but it won’t just happen because you acknowledge it. Luckily, it is not a terribly difficult thing to do. It does take time, however.
Handling Negative Criticism
Egocentric thinking has a lot to do with the way you handle negative criticism.
It hurts when someone points out to you that you made a mistake or did something wrong. No one likes to feel hurt or guilty. Blaming other people for your mistake, though, does not make things any better. In blaming someone else, you are just trying to shed yourself of the guilt you feel. When you shed that guilt by blaming someone else, then you don’t feel that the mistake was yours in the first place. In that case, then you don’t feel the need to change.
Enter the egocentric thinking. You can preserve your self-respect by deflecting blame and not allowing yourself to feel the guilt that goes along with a misdeed. In that case, though, your thinking doesn’t change. You are still concerned with the task of how to preserve your own positive thoughts about yourself. Then, the next time you make a similar mistake, it is likely that you will react the same way; the vicious circle continues.
Correcting Your Attitude
But if you take control of your own attitude, you can learn not to be hurt when someone corrects or criticizes you. Instead, make a conscious choice to use that criticism to correct your behavior. In correcting negative behavior, your become a better person. In becoming a better person, you will feel better about yourself and be more willing to consider the feelings of others.
The best defense to minimizing thinking egocentrically is to be aware of it and to be mindful of the needs of others. In essence, to continually strive towards viewing ideas and concepts from multiple vantage points helps you separate your thoughts from just your own. Then you can begin to take in the thoughts and ideas of others and begin reducing your egocentric thinking.