Have you ever been caught in an embarrassing situation – tripping over the stairs and falling flat on your face or fumbling up in a class presentation or getting a foamy moustache on your face while enjoying your favourite drink? We all have been there, haven’t we? And at that moment, we want nothing more than the ground to rip open and swallow us whole, saving us from the jibes and humiliation of being caught in a less than perfect moment. Everyone notices your moment of stupidity; judges you on it and it seems like it will remain carved forever in their memories, right?
According to psychology, we have the tendency to overestimate the amount of attention we think we are getting. This is called “The Spotlight Effect” – the phenomenon in which people tend to believe that they are being noticed more than they really are. This means, when you put on those mismatched socks by mistake and freaked out over people jesting you over it, chances are, the people around you may not have even noticed it, they must probably be in their own little world, deciding on what to eat later, or maybe worrying about their own embarrassing incident from last week. It goes on to show that we all are at the center of our own universe, we tend to overemphasize on our behavior and automatically assume that other people will pay the same amount of attention to matters which look highlighted to us. We overlook the fact that other people have their own center of the universe and their own highlight reels; they do not notice us as much as we think they do as they are preoccupied with their own life. So remember, next time you find a bit of food stuck in your teeth or put on your t-shirt backwards, don’t lament on it and just move ahead. “The spotlight is not on you.”