NEW YORK — For almost half of all Americans, modesty may not be their best quality. A new study finds nearly one in two people believe they’re the best person they know.
In a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. residents, 81 percent say they believe that humankind is inherently good. Three in four believe they themselves are fundamentally a good person. When researchers asked respondents how they would compare themselves to others in their lives, 46 percent went a step further, admitting (in their eyes) they’re “better” than everyone else they know.
Looking at responses by gender, female respondents were less likely to think of themselves as good (67% vs 86% of men) and more likely to believe that humanity is inherently bad (20% vs 4% of men).
Only 55 percent of Millennials believe in the goodness of humanity
Respondents between the ages of 25 and 39 were least likely to claim they are a good person (68%). However, Millennial respondents were also the most likely to say they “didn’t think in terms of ‘good’ or ‘bad’” (12%).
Across the entire poll, 72 percent admit to judging other people’s behavior. Another 61 percent also worry other people are actively judging them. In general, Americans say that a good person should be kind (49%), giving (45%), and friendly (41%). When researchers asked respondents to list which qualities they wished to have however, 38 percent wanted to be more successful over anything else, even happiness (21%).
“People still make the mistake of thinking that success precedes happiness, or that success and happiness come from the outside, but it doesn’t.” says Behold Retreats founder Jonathan de Potter in a statement. “Success and happiness are the natural result of doing the inner work to understand ourselves better, recognize our unique gifts and strengths, and aligning to our true purpose.”
Currently, although 62 percent agree that everyone has the capacity to become a better person, only 43 percent believe they’re doing everything they possibly can to better themselves. Of the 74 percent who’ve engaged in self-improvement methods, 38 percent said the methods they tried produced some initial success. Unfortunately, only 22 percent said they were all successful in the long term.
Are psychedelics the route to success?
The survey finds use of plant-based medicines to be one of the most effective measures (59%) among respondents. In fact, they finish just behind more traditional methods like enrolling in classes (61%) or going to therapy (60%). Taking it even further, 82 percent expressed an interest in trying legalized plant-based psychedelics such as psilocybin (38%) or ayahuasca (34%).
“Research from leading institutions such as Johns Hopkins has proven psychedelics to be safe and effective, but policy has yet to catch up,” adds de Potter. “As more people travel to legal destinations such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Netherlands, and Peru for a life-changing ayahuasca retreat or psilocybin retreat, it’s comforting to know that among this survey’s respondents, safety (84%) and expert guidance (67%) are top of mind.”
Looking forward, respondents remain optimistic about the future. Two in three Americans are confident that their life is going in the right direction. On a global scale, 61 percent are similarly confident that humanity is progressing in the same way.