Signposts of the Narcissism Epidemic

Jean Twenge
Wednesday, September 1st 2010
Sep/Oct 2010

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.

Wednesday, September 1st 2010

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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