Esteem is earned. Esteem for yourself only comes by pushing yourself to do difficult things. – Tony Robbins and here
What does that mean?
Esteem isn’t something they hand out at pep rallies. It’s not something that you can get as a prize in the bottom of a box of tasty snacks. It’s not something others can bestow upon you.
Esteem is an internal value or reward for having accomplished something. The easy or even trivial things don’t make for much esteem. When you fist learned to tie your shoes, there was a great deal of esteem in that accomplishment. Now, it probably isn’t such a big deal, right?
When it is difficult, when it takes effort, when it takes focus, planning, and concentration, these are the times when you generate esteem. The easy stuff just doesn’t cut it. Rewards come unevenly in the real world, but within ourselves, it is usually fairly straight forward.
Pushing ourselves to do the hard things, that gets the best rewards from within ourselves. And that is what esteem is all about.
Why is esteem, earned by effort, important?
Esteem can only be given by you, to you. And if there isn’t any emotion to anchor the esteem, it won’t be worth anything to you. The esteem you earn for yourself only has the values which come from the difficulty of the obstacles overcome by your effort.
How much esteem to you get if you show up, and the teacher just hands you an A as a grade, no work needed? Compare that to an A for which you worked, studied, and struggled to attain. Which of those grades means more to you? In either case, you’re an A student, and those on the outside don’t know the difference, right? But you do, and your esteem reflects that knowledge.
Yes, we’d like things to be easier, but most of us only want things a little easier. If there is no struggle, there is no victory. If there is no victory, there is no esteem. In that case, what’s the point in doing it?
Where can I apply this in my life?
What are you proud of in your life? Where does your esteem (sometimes called self-esteem) come from? Are there specific events, or do you tackle enough tough things on a regular basis that you always feel good about yourself? Or do you struggle to find things which build esteem?
What are some of the things you are good at doing? Many people dismiss things which are easy for them, even though these things may be very difficult for everyone else. People who can do math in their head are not all that uncommon, but it is a difficult feat for many people.
Some people can drive cars or motorcycles well, and others can’t. Is your skill something you can point at as a source of esteem? What about other physical or mental skills? Rock climbing, Martial Arts, Chess, Go, Foreign Languages, these are all difficult things, and should generate some level of esteem.
Even things like knowledge of trivia can be a source of esteem, as keeping track of all the characters and episodes of Star-trek or Naruto is definitely not an easy thing to accomplish. How does it feel to stump an expert or correct someone who is pretty good at trivia? Isn’t that esteem?
Building more esteem is easy. Pick something you enjoy doing, and get better at it. It probably won’t be easy, as you’re probably already pretty good at it. By doing the difficult things, you help to generate esteem. Yes, it can be that easy.
However, if you want to make it even more challenging, all you have to do is make it even more challenging. Is there an echo in here? Nope. But the point is that to generate even more esteem, all you have to do is find something a little more difficult.
While you might want to start with the simple spring board and work your way up to cliff diving, there are many other ways to safely challenge yourself to do something difficult. Pick something, and take it to the next level. Learn a new trick, a new aspect or facet of whatever it may be.
However, I believe the most rewarding things to challenge yourself with are the things you already do, but sloppily. What if you challenged yourself to monitor what you were eating? What if you counted your steps or other forms of exercise? Could you generate some esteem by shedding a few pounds or jogging around the block?
What do you already do that you could push yourself to do better, harder, faster, longer? How much better would you feel after accomplishing even a small step in that direction? So, what are you waiting for?