A few days ago, as I was surfing on one of my favorite websites, a pretty cool headline caught my attention: The Key To What’s Missing In Life: Self- Actualization. I had to inquire.
The author brought me back to one my college marketing classes. The core of his article was about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a fascinating psychology theory. What the theory purports is that not only do human beings have needs, but that there is a hierachy among those needs. You might want to read up on the theory here.
The article focuses on the highest of our needs, the summit, the need for self- actualization. However, in my humble opinion, if self-actualization was the leading role in a summer blockbuster, it’s counterpart, the supporting role would deserve most of the credit. Indeed, esteem does so much of the heavy lifting and that’s why I want to cover it.
Here is what the author had to say about esteem:
“Show me a man with confidence and I can guarantee it’s because someone first helped make him feel that way. Pride, self-respect, self-reliance – as much as we might like to think that these things come naturally to us, chances are that we had some assistance along the way.”
I totally agree with him. We do need some assistance along the way. But, as we continue on the never ending quest to building esteem, we need to get a good understanding of what it is and how it works in order to sustain it.
Some key words just cannot be left out of a conversation about esteem:
If I were to give a hierachy to those concepts, I would have to say the most imprtant one is value– or perceived value. It’s the common thread here. We feel good about ourselves when others respect and value us. Conversely, we have low self- esteem when we feel like we don’t have much value to offer our peers, our boss, or society as a whole. In short, we want respect from others. In addition, seeing ourselves as valuable enables us to respect our own selves. Hence self- respect and sel-esteem.
Okay, so we now know self- esteem is a collective effort. But how do we attain it? And once we attain it, how do we sustain it?
The Law of 33%
I obviously don’t have all of life’s answers, so I seek answers from people that are smarter, wiser than me. Tai Lopez, a guy I have no shame in saying I admire, offers a theory that brings us pretty close to finding an answer to the questions I just asked: How to attain and sustain self- esteem.
What he suggests is we equally split our time in three different parts.
- The first tier consists of people less skilled than you. They may be younger of less experienced. Your role is to help them, mentor them. By doing this you will yourself learn a few things- sometimes by formulating things we make connections we otherwise wouldn’t have made. In addition, being around these people will give you a sense of competence and value. That will boost your self- esteem.
- Your peers form the second tier. This is where you find your friends. This is where most healthy and sustainable relationships will be, as you are interacting with people on your level.
- The third tier consists of peope that are more skilled than you. Through no fault of their own, these people wil expose some of your weaknesses. However, if you stay curious and take good notes, spending time in this zone will increase your value. You will become more competent and that will obviously help you with your self- esteem when you’re with others. You can call these people mentors. They can be in- person mentors or you can learn from them in different forms of media; from books to Youtube videos.
There is no shortcut to self- esteem. We need to build it step by step. Furthermore, there is no destination. We don’t eventually “get there”.
It’s imprtant to understand that competence is and always will be relative. No matter what level you’re at (in fitness, in wealth, or in your Twitter following), there will always be people worst off than you and there will always be people that are higher up than you. We need to understand that it is ourselves we are really competing against in the game of life. Not others.
By following the Law of 33% we help ourselves gain value. It also helps us see our own value and competnce. Simply put, it’s a great way to sustain a healthy level of self- esteem.