Why High Self-Esteem Doesn't Always Lead To Success [VIDEO]
We are often bombarded with messages about high self-esteem being a determinant of success, but it may just be a myth. Studies reveal that your chances are better with self-compassion.
Self-esteem is how we value ourselves. The problem is that it is mostly the product of other people's judgment of your abilities. When one's sense of worth and accomplishment is at the mercy of people around you, it triggers anxiety, depression and other emotions, and it lessens the likelihood of success.
High self-esteem is associated with violence and narcissism. According to a study by psychologist Roy Baumeister and his team, a criminal tends to have higher self-esteem than the average person. It predicts which type of people has more violent tendencies.
People with narcissism do not handle insults to their self-image very well. When other people do not view them the way they like, it wounds their self-image and it could elicit an aggressive reaction. Seeking and allowing affirmation from external factors to define how competent you are invites trouble with your well-being.
Having a fixed mindset, a way of thinking centered on the adequacy of your abilities and the way people view you is linked to high self-esteem. On the contrary, a growth mindset focuses on learning new things. People with self-compassion do so. They do not let their weaknesses and failures stop them from embracing new experiences where their competence will be put to the test.
Carol Dweck and Ellen Leggett did a research on the way people approach difficult tasks and how the two types of mindset influence their success. People with a fixed mindset tend to be overcome by fear of failure as it makes them worry about how incompetent they would look if they failed, but those with a growth mindset sought challenging tasks and welcomed opportunities to learn new things. The possibility for success is higher in the second group.
Self-compassion may be the key to success. High self-esteem leads to avoidance of new challenges whereas self-compassion allows a person to develop new skills without fear of judgment from failures.
Research shows that the concept of self-compassion entails accepting yourself including your weaknesses, treating yourself as part of humanity prone to make mistakes, and knowing your thoughts and emotions and not letting them take control of your self-image, Psychology Today reported.
People who are kind to themselves accept all kinds of experiences, successes and failures without judgment. Less likely to be bound by fear, they explore life's possibilities more readily.