Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment. – Thomas Carlyle
What does that mean?
This quote explains my dislike of the “everyone’s a winner” mentality in a nutshell. Yes, it has it’s place for the kinder-gardeners, but at some point, kids have to realize that in life, sometimes things just don’t go their way.
This quote explains the true sources of self-esteem and self-confidence: doing and achieving. If you never have built a pinewood derby car before, expecting to win the first time out is going to result in disappointment.
Trying to accomplish something and failing will help you understand your character, and allow you to build on your failures (both personally and in your project). As both your character and your project improve, your self-esteem and your self-confidence will both improve dramatically.
To me, that is the heart of this quote. Actual accomplishments will tell you what you can do, and build your confidence. Your esteem will climb with your understanding of your ability and capability, as well as your character.
Why is actually accomplishing things important?
Because that’s the way it works in the real world. Those who live in the “everyone’s a winner” world will eventually find out that it’s not the same in the real world. As much as we might want it to be, it just flat out isn’t that way. If you want something, you have to earn it.
If you want to be the best at something, you’ve got to put in the effort and actually become accomplished in that field. Even if you fall short of being the best, often just the honest effort builds confidence as you learn what you can do, and as it comes more easily with practice. Esteem comes when you are recognized by others for the skill and effort you have shown in your pursuit of your goal.
If you aren’t actually doing anything, any self-esteem and self-confidence you may have is suspect at best. Such compliments as come easily, but dissolve just as quickly when hit with the cold, hard reality. Platitudes and hollow compliments build esteem and confidence without any foundation, and are easily washed away. Then what?
Where can I apply this in my life?
When my son was quite a bit younger, he started bowling with his school. His first year was good, for such a young kid, but he still didn’t earn a top trophy. He got a little “participant” trophy. He threw a fit and smashed it up pretty bad, destroying the base.
After a very long talk, he started to understand what it meant to earn the trophy. The next semester, he took third, and the next year, he took first both semesters. The trophies meant something, because he earned them. The confidence came from knowing he was good enough to be the big fish, even if it was in a small pond.
As an adult, when someone else tells you that you are doing a great job when you are not, they are usually called a flatterer, and their speech, flattery. Hopefully, you do not do this to others, nor do you allow them to do so to you either. I have a pair of posts (here and here) on the perils of flattery.
While the person saying these things has their own reasons for saying them, the listener has other reasons for listening to their flattery. It generally revolves around issues of confidence and esteem, the very points of the quote.
If you get your value, your confidence and esteem from flattery, it has no substance, and will fall away at the slightest prodding. Then what? Instead, I would stay away from those who would flatter you, and earn your esteem and confidence the hard way, one accomplishment at a time.
The years may tire you, and your position may no longer attract flatterers, but if you have earned your self-esteem and self-confidence the hard way, by accomplishing things, then no one can take that away from you. It will always be something you can look at and say, “Yes, I built that!”
Take a moment and consider all the things in your life you have accomplished, and all the things you have yet to accomplish. Pick one from the latter list and get busy! Accomplishments take a little planning and a lot of effort, so get busy!
From: Twitter, @JohnCMaxwell
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomascarl120877.html
Photo by maineiac48
Happy Birthday to Thomas Carlyle, born 4 December 1795.