Self Esteem is mostly irrelevant for success, and can in fact lower our chances of success. So claims an article in the latest Scientific American Magazine by Jennifer Crocker and Jessica Carnevale.
Self esteem does have a few modest benefits,according to Crocker and Carnevale, however, it makes us emotionally vulnerable to life’s disappointments leaving people feeling empty and dissatisfied. While achieving goals can make us feel good about ourselves, high self esteem that depends on success is fragile; it is an ego trap.
One way out of this ego trap is cultivating compassion and having a less self centred perspective. That way we can still have goals and achieve, but be able to better withstand bad news, learn from mistakes, and fortify friendships. It can make us more clear headed and at peace.
A second way to break the cycle of chasing self esteem is to be aware of how you feel. If you feel tense, obsessed or conflicted, your motivations may be self esteem related.
A third step is to ask “Why?”. That is, ‘What am I trying to prove to others?’, ‘What do I want to gain?’, ‘What am I afraid to lose?’. If the answers are that you fear failure, or that you want the success and rewards that come with accomplishing the goal, you’re most likely chasing self esteem.
The fourth step is to change your outlook. Think about how your efforts will benefit others or what you will learn from the experience, rather than focussing on your own success.