Are you feeling underappreciated? Do you love swearing? Are you literally better than everyone else? Well, you might just be a narcissist. Although this personality trait might not get you loads of friends, it could help you achieve more by enhancing your mental toughness, according to a new study published in Personality and Individual Differences.
So what exactly is narcissism? It can be defined as an “excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance” – think people who post a few too many selfies on Instagram. It involves qualities like egotism, a lack of empathy, and grandiosity.
“Narcissism is considered as a socially malevolent trait and it is part of the dark triad of personality traits – narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism,” lead study author Dr Kostas Papageorgiou, from Queen’s University Belfast, told the Belfast Telegraph.
“Previous studies indicate that narcissism is a growing trend in our society but this does not necessarily mean that an individual who displays high narcissistic qualities has a personality disorder.”
People who have the ominous-sounding dark triad of personality traits are considered to have malevolent – or "evil" – qualities. Machiavellianism involves manipulating and exploiting others for selfish gain while psychopathy can be characterized by things like callousness, remorselessness, and antisocial behavior. Intrigued by where you'd come on the evilness scale? Check out this quiz.
The latest piece of research looked at 340 high school students from the Milan Province in Italy. The teens were assessed for levels of subclinical narcissism, or “normal narcissism”, which was compared against their academic success. They didn’t find a direct correlation between narcissism and achievement but they did find a link. Narcissists were more likely to be mentally tough, and those with higher mental toughness tended to do better at school.
Therefore, being a narcissist might help you get ahead in life as you’re more likely to have mental resilience, allowing you to achieve more.
“Being confident in your own abilities is one of the key signs of grandiose narcissism and is also at the core of mental toughness,” explained Dr Papageorgiou. “If a person is mentally tough, they are likely to embrace challenges and see these as an opportunity for personal growth.”
Although narcissism is seen as a pretty undesirable trait, it can certainly help people get ahead in their careers. Just think of Trump and Kim Kardashian. And it seems narcissism doesn’t just get you ahead when it comes to school and work. Dr Papageorgiou told BBC News that narcissists are also pretty good when it comes to dating thanks to the charm and charisma they’ve developed to manipulate and persuade others. Worried you might be dating a narcissist? Find out here.