Self-esteem is perhaps the most important and basic element that makes up that critical attitude for success that gives an individual the winner’s Edge in life. It is that deep-down, inside-the-skin feeling of your own worth. “You know, I like myself. I really do like myself. Given my parents and my background, I am glad I am me. I would rather be me than anyone else living or at any other time in history.” This is the self-talk of a winner, and positive self-talk is the key to developing self-esteem. Winners develop strong beliefs of self-worth and self-confidence. They were not necessarily born with these good feelings, but as with every other habit, they have learned to like themselves through practice.


Dr. Denis Waitley believes that as parents and teachers, we have been as responsible for developing the continued guilt trip that has been passed down through the centuries to our children as any other source or any other medium. So children can hardly wait to grow up so that they can do fun and important things like the grown-ups do.

The constant negative bombardment from the environment, from the media, and from our parents and teachers can take its toll, and if practiced continually, can create the troubled teens and the generation gap. Low achievers in life water and cultivate the early seeds of inferior feelings with their imaginations and develop a strong, prickly weed that sticks and irritates them for years to come. “As we grow up with these humble feelings, we walk a tight rope between humility, which is a good trait, and humiliation, which is not good.” As we grow up into adulthood,we take the child’s view with us.


The person with low self-esteem believes that the quality of humility should be pushed over the cliff into humorous humiliation. The devastating fact is that the self-image is always listening and accepts these negative insults as facts to store as reality.

Current research on the effects of words and images on the functions of the body offers amazing evidence of the power that words spoken at random can have on body functions monitored on bio-feedback equipment. Since thoughts can raise and lower body temperature, secrete hormones, relax muscles and nerve endings, dilate and constrict arteries, and raise and lower pulse rate, it is obvious that we need to control the language we use on ourselves. That is why winners rarely put themselves down in actions or in words.


Many people have an attitude of treading the path of least about personal development. Onthe one hand, they know that learning brings about change, but on the other hand, they resist change. They know that many people have overcome enormous obstacles to become great, but they cannot imagine it happening to them and so they resign themselves to be the also-rans in life, wishing and envying away their lives.

These low achievers learn the habit of concentrating on their failures and the negative events in their lives with self-talk that reinforces the losing cycle. Because they are controlled by external standards set by others, they often set their sights too high. Thus, they are unrealistic to begin with and as they fail to reach their goals again and again, these failures become set in their subconscious self-images as targets and goals of their own. This explains why so many people have permanent potential. In other words, why they ALMOST succeed over and over, having temporary, fleeting successes, which fail to materialize into a solid lifestyle.


It is also interesting to note that the blowhards in life, the ones who yell loudest for service and attention, are really calling for help because of low self-esteem. What they are really shouting is: “Help, look at me, please.”

Psychiatrist Bernard Holland has pointed out that although juvenile delinquents appear to be very independent and have a reputation of being braggart, particularly about how they hate everyone in authority, they protest too loudly. Underneath this hard exterior shell, says Dr.Holland, is a soft, vulnerable, inner person, who wants to be dependent upon others.” However, they cannot get close to anyone, because they will not trust anyone. At some point in the past, they were hurt by a person important to them and they dare not leave themselves open to be hurt again. They must always have their defenses up.

To prevent further rejection and pain, they attack first. Thus, they drive away the very people who would love them, if given half a chance, and could help them. This description also applies to many people we associate with who are not juvenile delinquents. They may be professional peers or even loved ones.


Many people we know are hurt terribly by little things we call social slights. Dr Waitley accentuates that it is a well-known psychological fact that the people who become offended the easiest have the lowest self-esteem. It is the person who feels undeserving, doubts his capabilities, and has a poor opinion of himself who becomes jealous at the drop of a hat. Jealousy, which is the scourge of many marriages, is nearly always caused by self-doubt. The person with adequate self-esteem does not feel hostile toward others, is not out to prove anything, can see the facts more clearly, and is not demanding in his claims on other people.


In today’s cosmetic society, there is a real need for values when we consider the true meaning of self-esteem. We seem to be taking a good thing, which is doing the best with what we have got, and going overboard with excessive self-adoration and self-indulgence in an attempt to buy the fountain of youth and superficial esteem. We know, of course, that the kind of house, car, clothing, and possessions we show off to the world represent our attempt to tell others who we are. More important than telling others who we are is that our expressed standards of living serve to remind us who we are.

Therefore, the tendency to show off many toys and trappings of affluence and material success is more likely to say to others that we are really lacking in self-esteem or self-worth than the fact that we can afford it.

It is fair to say that only an individual who has a strong sense of self-respector self-esteem can afford to project a modest image to the community. In other words, winners can project success without flaunting it.

It would be impossible to love another person without first feeling love for yourself, because how could you give away something that you do not have? It is important to develop the deep-down, inside-the-skin feeling of deserving the abundance. Self-esteem is felt even though you may not have done anything yet, but just feel the capability for it.


Accept yourself as you are right now: an imperfect, changing, growing, and worthwhile person. Realize that liking yourself and feeling that you are a super individual in your own special way is not necessarily egotistical. In addition to taking pride in what you are accomplishing, even more importantly enjoy the unique person that you are just by being alive right now. Understand the truth that although we as individuals are not born with equal physical and mental attributes, we are born with equal rights to feel the excitement and joy in believing that we deserve the very best in life. Most successful people believe in their own worth, even when they have nothing but a dream to hold onto. Perhaps more than any other quality, healthy self-esteem is the door to high achievement and happiness. It is one of the most critical elements in that attitude that makes up the Winner’s Edge.



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