Writer Goethe wrote: “The greatest evil that can be fall man is that he should come to think ill of himself.” Goethe accepted this truth about human nature. We are not defeated because we lack talent or ability; it’s the lack of confidence that brings about our downfall.
It’s all about self-esteem: the way we feel about ourselves. To say things like “I am wrong”, “I am incompetent”, or not being sure of oneself is a clear sign of poor self-esteem. When we feel good, we make extra efforts to gain knowledge or expertise and search for effective ways to handle given tasks. Feeling good keeps us buoyant and energetic and is conducive to a mental make-up that can find solutions to problems. We begin to look at problems as challenges and consequentially convert threats into opportunities.
People with poor self-esteem tend to shirk their responsibilities. They stick to set limits and never explore new frontiers, remaining happy inside their comfort zones. They also try to get the most with the least efforts and use short cuts, quick fixes or make cosmetic changes. They usually end up in the company of their own kind, that is, people with scarcity mentality and hidden agendas.
There are opportunities in threats : It is an acknowledge fact that people with high self-esteem are more productive, caring, humble, courageous and assertive. They accept responsibility and act accordingly. They also turn adversity into opportunity. How else how could a deaf Beethoven have created such great musical symphonies? John Milton was blind but that did not prevent him writing beautiful poetry. And cricketer Bhagvat Chandrashekhar became the finest googly bowler in the world despite a polio-afflicted arm. Such people feel good about themselves and make the best use of opportunities. They don’t lament about their physical inadequacies and handicaps.
Look for virtues in others : Benjamin Franklin was tactless in his youth but was savvier in later life. Once when he was asked about the secret of his success, he said: “I will speak ill of no man… and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
One way of feeling good is to read good biographies and associating with positive people who are uplifting, upbeat, optimistic and adventurous. People with high self-esteem avoid conflicts and backbiting and focus on good and positive things. The words that you use can make or beak relationships; a negative comment or communication can damage your individual or professional reputation. Don’t allow your destiny to be controlled by others. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of US president Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
The quality of courage : 25 May 2001 was a historic day for mankind. Eric Weihenmayer became the first blind man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Weihenmayer, who lost his vision at the age 13, never let his blindness interface with his passion for mountaineering. He has shown such charm, resilience, passion, commitment and concern for other that it is difficult to find a better role model. In his book Touch the top of the world — the story of his conquest of the highest peaks in the world — Weihenmayer showed the world that the barrier of blindness can be overcome if one has the will and courage to do it. According to Helen Keller: ” Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
Courage is the qualities. Without this quality, all other qualities have no value. True courage has its origin in truth and ethical practices, at whose core lie universal principles. It can be derived from the inner self-only. When every other light goes out, it is this inner light that shows us the path. It enlightens us, and gives us strength, character and mental toughness. Most of life’s battles are won first at the mental level; physical victory is then a mere formality.
Cultivate optimism and Hope : People with high self-esteem have vast reserves of optimism. Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the most well-know and successful fast food chain in the world. It wasn’t always so. Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC, had to drive from door to door, town to town, to sell his first pieces of chicken. The only response he got initially was ‘NO’ – more than a thousand times. Now, can you imagine the faith, patience, persistence and perseverance required to withstand refusal more than a thousand time ? Sanders was a great optimist and firmly believed in himself and his product; he also had the courage to persevere.
Colonel Sanders’ Success Recipe:
- Never quit.
- Always believe in yourself.
- Be patient.
- Be positive.