Am I selfish…?

Am I selfish? And what if I were, really?Am I selfish for wanting to be happy?
Am I selfish for knowing what my worth is?
Even… Am I selfish for not wanting a baby?

We’ve all heard these questions, and variations thereof. And, maybe not surprisingly, I see a strong connection between these types of questions, and having low confidence and self-esteem.

But very well, then. AM I selfish for, say, spending more time, money and energy on myself than on anyone else?

Well, probably. But people tend to forget this one neat little counterpoint…:
Am I selfish? And what if I were?
The problem with the word ‘selfish’ — and, for that matter, the word ‘egotistical’ — is that it’s gotten a bad rep over time. When someone accuses someone else of being selfish, it’s necessarily implied that that person is being TOO selfish.

But… Too selfish for WHAT, exactly? Measured by exactly whose standards?

People rarely, if ever, elaborate on an accusation of selfishness. As if first and foremost tending to one’s own was a bad thing in and by itself.

But there’s good news: It’s not.

Sure, I might be wrong, but my general impression is, those who try to make others feel guilty about allegedly being ‘selfish’ tend to be the ones who don’t allow themselves to have very many joys in life.

Like I’ve talked about before, there’s nothing inherently wrong with allowing yourself to have cool things and experiences. For all we know, we only live once. So if I were you, I’d see to it that I start living it up instead of just getting by.

Yes, there are millions of innocent people suffering worldwide. And the idea that everyone should do their part in raising the lower bar is kind and beautiful, no doubt.

But is it realistic? Is it easily doable? Is it even specific?

Now don’t get me wrong here. Of course, ideally, everyone SHOULD definitely do whatever they can for those in dire need. And if you do, more power to ya.

But if you spend more time, money and energy on anything but your own goal in life, I’d personally say you were doing it wrong. (Unless, of course, that’s your goal in life.)

And, see, that’s another thing. What you do for yourself isn’t necessarily extravagance and gratuitous first-world luxury. It might even be small investments in becoming the person you genuinely want to be.

But everyone are unique and perfect just the way they are!” Yeah, unless, you know, they’re not. And the day you stop developing, you start withering.


Am I selfish for wanting to be like Lemmy?
Unless, of course, you simply reach max level. But really, don’t count on that.

By improving myself, I continually get better at improving the world and the people around me. If I didn’t continually spend time, money and energy educating myself on coaching, what kind of a coach would I be??

But of course, it goes way beyond my work. The reason I’m in the self-development industry in the first place is because I’ve been working with self-development on a personal level for years.

And when someone spends years refining the gentle arts of, say, goal-setting, daily reading, mental focus, physical health, time management, inner peace and calm, and prioritizing the most important daily tasks, do they tend to naturally improve the world around them?

Yeah, I thought so.

Now, you might CALL all of this ‘selfishness’. And you might even THINK that there’s something inherently wrong with improving upon oneself. But there isn’t, really. It’d only be you making a judgment.

The whole idea that you wouldn’t improve upon yourself for fear of what others might think is nothing more than a bad excuse for covering up self-sabotage. Because there ARE only excuses for not allowing oneself to grow into one’s inner ideals, however selfish others might judge them to be.

Let’s evolve!

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Can introverts be confident?

Can introverts be confident? Well, some of the world's greatest cultural and political personalities have been introvert. Do the math.I hear this question a lot. And it’s not hard to figure out why. So, CAN introverts be confident, then?

Let’s have a look. But for the purpose, its important to define ‘introvert’.

The Cambridge Dictionary* defines an introvert as “someone who is shy, quiet, and unable to make friends easily”. However, I consider this definition not only to be lacking in detail, but also to be incorrect. I find this much more in-depth description from New World Encyclopedia** far more exhaustive:

The introvert is introspective and finds meaning within, preferring their internal world of thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and dreams. […] Thus, one who is introverted is more likely to spend time alone or in contemplation, as these activities are rewarding. They may avoid social situations entirely, not because they are shy or misanthropic, but because they choose to. Introverts often enjoy long, one-on-one conversations about feelings or ideas, and may give excellent public presentations to large audiences. However, they find solitude, alone with their thoughts, nourishing and restorative.

That one hits the home run. Not only because it’s more detailed, but because it makes the important distinction between introversion and shyness.

As you may have gathered, shyness is strongly associated with low confidence and self-esteem. And so, this is what makes so many people confused.

So in other words, while shy people tend to be introverted, not all introverted people are shy. And in yet other words, just because you’re introverted doesn’t mean you’re non-fident.

On the contrary, some of the world’s greatest achievers were introverts***. And I don’t just mean faceless, corporate suits hiding behind huge desks in tall glass buildings. We’re talking Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, Lady Gaga, Mark Zuckerberg, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Beyoncé Knowles, Emma Watson, Christina Aguilera, Steven Spielberg, Warren Buffett, J.K. Rowling, Michael Jordan, Harrison Ford, and Marlon Brando here.

The reason so many people ask this question, it would seem, is that in our highly media-oriented culture, introvert behavior and the daily doings of introverts isn’t something we’re exposed to at all.

Think about it. Introverts keep to themselves most of the time. So, do the introverts’ sitting around and minding their own business get sought out by the media? Does it make for great news and entertainment?

NO, duh. What does make for great news and entertainment are the outward directed actions and creations of, well, extroverts, mostly.

And really, can you even blame any media outlets for not doing a reality-style docu-soap about 10 introverts in a house not talking to each other? I mean, I wouldn’t wanna watch myself silently working at my laptop and occasionally eating for 7-8 hours every day.

And yes, I just used myself as an example. Because I’m largely introvert. And yes, I still mostly choose to spend time alone. But I’ve learned to love speaking and performing in front of crowds, and mingle with people at events. Hell, I’ve even learned to accept the social Top Ramen that is small-talk.

So, straight from the horse’s mouth:

It’s not the introversion itself that keeps anyone from doing anything. It’s simply the lack of confidence. They’re two different things.

Just because introverts keep to themselves doesn’t mean they can’t do any of the things that extroverts do. On the contrary, if you’re an introvert, you can be one of the world’s richest business people.

You could be the world’s most talented and successful basketball player. Founder of the world’s biggest social media. One of the world’s most popular and biggest-selling authors, musicians and movie directors. And did anyone say president of the United States?

The proper question, then, is not can introverts be confident?. Rather, it’s can introverts be confident in a culture that values extrovert behavior?.

And fortunately, the answer is a solid yes.



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My thoughts on Mayo Clinic’s self-esteem checklist

Confidence coaching helps you gain and grow confidence and self-esteem once and for all.I came upon an article from Mayo Clinic the other day that really tickled my passion for confidence and self-esteem. So I thought I’d comment their take on the matter of healthy self-esteem.

First of all, they’re actually doing an important job by mentioning the factors that might influence our self-esteem. Which are as follows:

  • Your own thoughts and perceptions
  • How other people react to you
  • Experiences at home, school, work and in the community
  • Illness, disability or injury
  • Culture or religion
  • Role and status in society
  • Media messages

This is important, because I don’t think many people realize how many factors actually contribute to how we view and assess ourselves. Go ahead: Try to see if there’s any of the above points that doesn’t pertain to you.

Many of these things are more or less inescapable conditions that come with being a living human. We all have thoughts and perceptions. We all have other people react to us. By far most of us have homes, schools and jobs, and we all belong to several kinds of communities.

We all experience illness, disability or injury at some point. We all belong to certain cultures — national, local and subcultural. We’re not all religious, but being irreligious or simply “spiritual” has just as much effect on our identities. And whether we like it or not, we all have a certain societal staus, and we’re all exposed to certain media. (Unless you’re a forest-dwelling, Walden-style hermit, in which case, thanks for reading!)

The most important point Mayo Clinic makes is that the biggest impact on our self-esteem probably lies within our own thoughts. This is something we need to realize — especially when we’re low on confidence and self-esteem; and this is what confidence coaching is all about. We have the ability to change our thoughts towards patterns that support us.

If only more people were aware of this.

Another important point is that when we have high confidence and self-esteem, we’re more open to learning and feedback. This enables us to aquire and master new skills. The less confident and self-appreciative you are, the harder it is to take criticism. Confident people see opportunities for learning all around. Non-fident people see only struggling with everyday mundanities.

One thing I would question, though, is the premise that Mayo Clinic only talks about “normal, healthy” and “low” self-esteem, hinting to those two as being the “extremes”. They don’t mention “high”, or, indeed, “too high” self-esteem, and I think this illustrates the missing perspective:

When self-esteem is healthy and grounded in reality, it’s hard to have too much of it. Boasting and feeling superior to others around you isn’t a sign of too much self-esteem. It’s more likely evidence of insecurity and low self-esteem.“

While I would sometimes consider boasting a sign of insecurity, I think feeling superior CAN be a quite realistic judgment. If I earned millions, traveled the world, played hard rock on sold-out stadiums, had sex with supermodels, survived truckloads of drugs and maybe did extreme sports, I’d consider myself superior to most people.


When is self-esteem “too much”? If you have “too much” of it, isn’t that exactly because it’s no longer “healthy and grounded in reality”?

Maybe part of the explanation lies in the summarizing conclusion, with which I also wholeheartedly agree:

Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn’t about blowing your own horn. It’s about learning to like and respect yourself — faults and all.

The entire article can be found here.

(NB: Mayo Clinic are nonprofit, and I’m in no way affiliated with them.)

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