There is much written on the subject of self-esteem. Some of the information is excellent but some of it is not very helpful at all. I think there is a great deal of confusion about the issue of self-esteem. True self-esteem involves humility.
The opposite of humility is arrogance. Those who are arrogant and have a prideful spirit will meet with resistance from others. No one likes someone who is arrogant. However, it is important to exhibit confidence in who you are and what you are doing. All of us want to deal with people who are confident in their area of expertise.
In 1982 I ruptured a disc in my lower back and I had to go into the hospital for a procedure. My physician was visiting me the night before to explain what he would be doing. Since I was a little nervous about it, I asked him if he felt good about everything. He looked at me right in the eyes and said, “I am the best orthopedic surgeon in America. I know exactly what I am doing. I have done this procedure a thousand times and by this time tomorrow, you will be fine!” I thought to myself, “Wow! This guy certainly is arrogant!” After he left the room, I thought, “Wait a minute. Isn’t that the kind of person I want doing this procedure tomorrow?” I don’t think I would have been very happy if he had said, “Well, I am not sure that I know how to do this, but we are going to cross our fingers and hope for the best. Wish me luck!” That would not have inspired my confidence in him at all.
I hope you get the point I am trying to make. It is important that we are confident in ourselves and our abilities. We should learn and grow in every aspect of life, whether that is in business, family or personal development. However, while we are doing that, we must not develop the attitude that we are better or more important than anyone else either.
Humility is not about thinking less of yourself as a person. It does no good to think that you are nothing but a worm who is unable to make any meaningful contribution to your life or environment. True humility allows you to be confident in your abilities and yet also focuses on others and their needs as well. When you reach that point, I believe you can begin to experience your best growth.
In 1981, after being out of college for ten years, I decided I wanted to go to graduate school in Dallas, Texas. There was a school there that I very much wanted to attend but I knew it would be very difficult because I was married and had four small children. Taking my family across the country and essentially starting all over was NOT something that I looked forward to. Yet, I could never have ventured out in faith if I thought less of myself in the process. It actually bolstered my confidence for trying to learn and grow in new areas of life. It was a difficult process, but looking back, I am certainly grateful for everything that transpired during those years.
This week, why not take a few moments to evaluate how you see yourself? Do you really believe that you are an important person and can do many good things that perhaps no one else could possibly do? You must think highly of yourself in order to grow and do better. You can never achieve anything unless you are willing to take a chance and risk some things you have not done before. In order to do that, I believe you must think more of yourself, not less. But, at the same time, you must spend time helping others and thinking of yourself less in the process. This is sort of like trying to tape jello to the wall, isn’t it?
Are you trying to make a better life for your family? Are you working to achieve more success in your business? Are you concentrating on stretching to grow in your own personal life? All of those are good reasons to try to achieve success.
This is a tricky balance to achieve. However, if you spend some time thinking about it and treat this principle with respect, it will reward you greatly in every area of your life.
Tip: Humility is not thinking less of yourself – it is thinking of yourself less!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm