Monday, March 14, 2011


My old friend Jack Canfield will probably have a conniption fit when he hears about this new research about self esteem. Jack was founder of The Self Esteem Institute, and largely responsible for the addition of self esteem training in California schools, and helped create a national movement to this end. There is no doubt that a lack of self esteem can be emotionally and intellectually damaging during a human being's early development, so that this was a good thing Jack and others were doing. But now comes some evidence that it might have been overdone.
My favorite conservative pundit, NY Times columnist David Brooks, whose bantering with Mark Shields every Friday on the PBS Newshour is one segment I never miss, just wrote a column on this subject:

The example of men drowning twice as much as women was particularly fascinating to me, and I like the term "praise addicts" and the fact that college students would rather receive a compliment than a favorite food or sex. As much as I love compliments, even having as one of my favorite personal strategies, my Compliment Bulletin Board, if I were asked to choose between a piece of chocolate-covered halvah, a beautiful woman wanting to ravish me, or someone telling me they loved what I said on my latest blog post--I'm not exactly sure of my order of preference, but I am definitely sure the compliment wouldn't come in first.

But then again, I am fortunate in that I get probably more than my share of compliments as I am out there in the world with my blogs, my audios, my books, etc. If I were compliment starved, I might agree with most of those college students, and I could very well see myself becoming a praise addict.

It is interesting to speculate that we may have become a nation of slackers and underachievers because we now think so highly of ourselves. In other words, "I'm wonderful, why should I bother studying hard or working hard when success will come to me naturally and easily?"

I think we're talking here about the need for balance in this as in all things. A healthy appreciation of self is vital to create an attractive energy that will bring people toward you in business and your personal life. Too much appreciation of self can be a destructive force, creating a negative, unlikeable energy that will leave others cold--and prevent one from doing the work necessary to create prosperity and fulfillment.

I've struck a balance in writing this just now. I'm very pleased with myself for being able to articulate a few major points I wanted to make. At the same time, I think as I meditate on this subject, I will be able to write in much more depth about it in the future. I know I am merely scratching the surface and know I can do a lot better with more thought and research--but I feel good about what I have accomplished at this early stage of thinking and reading about this.

And how do you feel about yourself today?

There are many paths on the road to prosperity, check many of them out at my other blog:

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