You can have too much of a good thing, when it comes to self-esteem. In the past few years I've done a lot of speaking engagements at colleges and universities across the country, and I'll say to students, "My research finds that your generation is very narcissistic; this is what the data shows. What do you think?" Almost universally they say, "Yeah, you're right. We are narcissistic–you got us." Then they say, "But we have to be narcissistic because the world is increasingly competitive." That's how they seem to see it because they've been taught that if a little self-esteem is good, then a lot of self-esteem and overconfidence is even better. And they see successful narcissists out there, such as celebrities and other people, who are vain attention seekers and so on. What they don't see is that when you actually look at the data and look at who is really successful in this world, it's not people who are narcissistic. It's people who get along with others who are humble and hard working and give their teams credit. In general, that's what studies have found, and that narcissistic people–say, in college–are more likely to drop out because they don't have a realistic sense of their abilities, and they don't think they have to study since they're already smart! So it backfires on people. And when I tell young people this, they are shocked! Jaws literally drop when I say, "You don't actually have to be really self-confident in order to succeed. Sometimes doubting yourself might make you work harder." For most of them, this is an entirely new idea.
It has been said that pride is the oldest sin in the universe and that it shows no signs of growing weaker with age. Pride is the overestimation of our own worth and the inevitable tendency to exaggerate our own accomplishments. If the Bible is clear about anything, it is that ours is a fallen […]
In their widely acclaimed book The Narcissism Epidemic, authors Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell document the slow and steady growth of narcissistic attitudes, behaviors, and assumptions in various aspects of American life and culture. Reality TV both encourages and normalizes self-centered behavior. Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook encour-age us to post […]
If you want a good deed to really count, it has to be done with no thought of receiving something back in return. In technical terms, it's "disinterested benevolence." We have the ancient Stoics and the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant to thank for the "stiff-upper-lip" approach to life. It has its pluses’there is a sense […]
I am one of those tragic figures who is both a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I am such a perfectionist that the very idea of failure terrifies me to the core of my being. I am so afraid of doing things wrong that I am afraid to start, because I will probably not do it […]