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Home » How to Let Go of Being a “Good” Person — And Become a Better Person: Dolly Chugh (Transcript)

How to Let Go of Being a “Good” Person — And Become a Better Person: Dolly Chugh (Transcript)

Full text of social psychologist Dolly Chugh’s talk titled “How to let go of being a “good” person — and become a better person” at TED Talk conference. In this talk, she explains the puzzling psychology of ethical behavior — like why it’s hard to spot your biases and acknowledge mistakes — and shows how the path to becoming better starts with owning your mistakes.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Dolly Chugh – Social psychologist

So a friend of mine was riding in a taxi to the airport the other day. And on the way, she was chatting with the taxi driver, and he said to her, with total sincerity, “I can tell you are a really good person.”

And when she told me this story later, she said she couldn’t believe how good it made her feel, that it meant a lot to her.

Now that may seem like a strong reaction from my friend to the words of a total stranger, but she’s not alone.

I’m a social scientist. I study the psychology of good people, and research in my field says many of us care deeply about feeling like a good person and being seen as a good person.

Now, your definition of “good person” and your definition of “good person” and maybe the taxi driver’s definition of “good person” — we may not all have the same definition. But within whatever our definition is, that moral identity is important to many of us.

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