Self Esteem is a catch-all crutch that psychologists use to explain the things that they don’t know. I don’t fault them for this, but I think it is important for them to own up to this fact so that they can seek the real truth.
Self Esteem is a “real” issue. Let me say that up front. There are millions of people that believe their self-love could be higher.
But the problem comes when the term self-esteem is used to explain something that is not fully understood. At that point, it becomes a crutch.
Let me give you an example. On my Christmas vacation to Universal Studios (Orlando), my daughters and I saw a close-up magic show. This is the kind where the magician is only an arms-length away from you, and you can smell what variety of anti-perspirant he wears. One trick he did was to levitate a playing-card.
Needless to say, we were impressed with the “illusion.”
We discussed for about an hour how to try to explain how he did it.
- “He’s using magnets”
- “He’s got the card spinning is such a way that it is generating a lift-force”
- “It is a strange quirk of the Coreolis Effect”
Do you see what we were doing?
We took “truths” that we knew were real, and tried to apply them to a situation that we couldn’t explain.
That is what psychologist do with topic of self-esteem. It is a catch-all that they drop everything into that they can’t explain.
It is only when the facts don’t make sense that you have to look for a different option. In the case of the levitating card trick, none of the explanations we came up with made any sense. So we had to find one that did. Incidentally, it cost me $40 at the gift shop to buy the trick and learn the secret.
Where Self Esteem Doesn’t Seem To Fit The Evidence
I was recently reading a book called “You Can Read Anyone. Never be Fooled, Lied to, or Taken Advantage of Again” by David J. Lieberman, Ph.D.,
In it (Chapter 12, page 140), he says this about self-esteem:
“Don’t fall into the trap of believing the person who has a big ego likes himself. We must remember that the ego and self-esteem are generally inversely related. No matter how much a person appears to be happy with himself, if he has a big ego, he is not—he is miserable. The statement is not conjecture, but a law of human nature—it is psychological math. So insidious is this law, that a person may actually think he likes himself while his behavior betrays his real feelings.”
Really? The person that wants to be the center of attention has low self esteem? I don’t agree with this at all.
For one reason, if you ask one of those high-ego people if they do like themselves, they will say “Of course I like myself!”
Are these people really lying to themselves and to us? That is what the psychologists tend to believe. Why?
Everyone Believes They are Above Average
The psychologists build their case in anecdotal evidence. For one thing, people lie to themselves all the time. We all believe we’re good drivers, and we rate our attractiveness as “above average.” But we can’t all be above average, as that would be a mathematical impossibility. Hence, it must be a lie we tell ourselves to keep up our self-esteem.
And when talking about themselves, people say that they wish things were different:
- “I wish I was taller”
- “I wish I wasn’t bald”
- “I wish I was thinner”
- “I wish I was smarter”
- “I wish my boobs were bigger”
- “I wish my skin was a different color,” etc.
Therefore, this MUST mean that they simply despise how they really feel about themselves.
Obviously, to the psychologists, a good chunk of people have low self-esteem. Right?
It sounds logical—unless there is another reason that camera-hog’s say they like themselves.
What Could This Other Reason Be?
The Personality Marketing Manual gives us an alternate explanation as to why some of the people that desire to be the center-of-attention, still say that they have a strong liking of themselves.
My theory is based on a “designed purpose.”
Note: When I say designed, I leave the door open to the theory of evolution too. The reason is because of a certain aspect of humanity that goes back to the first cavemen.
If you look back throughout history, the common theme that occurs over-and-over is war. Country fighting country, city versus city, tribe versus tribe, caveman-family versus caveman-family. To survive an endless stream of battles like this, it is more efficient if your tribe has four types of specialists: Warriors to fight, Logistics people (to supply the warriors with weapons, food, shelter, training), Strategist to plan the battle, and menders that take care of the physical and emotional well-being of the fighters. It is this specialization of humanity that contributes to survival of a tribe.
This is exactly what I see when I look at the behaviors of people. I see qualities in people that would make them fit perfectly into one of the four distinct groups. I myself am a Logistical person—I’m good with creating and allocating materials. I’ve built a successful business on it over at Apogee Components where I sell toy model rockets. But I’m not a good Warrior, nor am I good at mending others like the Morale Officers.
The fact that humanity has the same proportions as a modern army (skewed more towards Warriors and Logistics, and fewer Strategist and Menders (which I call Morale Officers) is very eery. I marvel at how natural evolution could account for this skewing in the distribution of traits. It makes you wonder if there wasn’t some sort of divine intervention.
How Does This Explain Someone Wanting To Be The Center of Attention?
According to my theory, of the four personality types, which one should display the desire to attract attention? And what would be the purpose of gathering attention?
One explanation that seems to fit is that it is the Warrior wants attention.
Because a Warrior needs a fighting partner—especially if it is hand-to-hand combat (which is how all wars were fought up until the implementation of gun-powder weapons in the 1700′s). A Warrior needs a partner, because he needs his backside defended. That is where he has vulnerability. He can’t be fighting one opponent in front, and defending his rear at the same time.
The traits being displayed by the person that wants to be at the center of attention, appear a lot like a Warrior that is trying to display his fighting prowess, in hopes of attracting a partner that has superior combat skills.
As a fighter, you don’t just want any-ole-body to be watching your back. Your odds of surviving a battle increase greatly when your partner is big, strong, and capable.
But that guy—the big, strong, and capable dude—wants exactly the same thing in a fighting partner. In order for him to select you as a fighting partner, you have to stand out to him in some way. How do you prove that to him?
How about being brash, bold, loud, proud, flashy, and animated?
Yep, that works! Those are the exact qualities that indicate to others as to how well you’d be as a fighter.
Or would you rather pick some guy to be your fighting partner that is off cowering in the corner of the room? I wouldn’t want that either…
This theory fits perfectly as a logical explanation as to why someone wants to be the center of attention. They are trying to prove to others that they would be a worthy fighting partner for the battles ahead.
This seems like common sense…
Why hasn’t someone else thought of this before?
The main reason is the personality type that make up the psychologists that started the self-esteem theory. They were Morale Officers.
The Morale Officers (as I call them), are the one group that dwell on their own self-esteem. I talked about this before in the article Why Do People Suffer From Low Self Esteem? From here on out, it is simple math.
Your beliefs about yourself, color your beliefs about other people. The Morale Officer believes that since he/she dwells on thoughts of self-esteem, then other people must do the same.
Additionally, the Morale Officers gain self-esteem when they do the job that they were intended to do – to mend others. They lose it (they feel sorrowful), when they don’t help others.
Therefore, they project this belief onto other people. The loud, obnoxious guy that has the big ego is NOT helping others. Therefore, he MUST have low self-esteem. If he doesn’t say it out loud, he is obviously lying to himself.
It would be a good theory, if everyone had the same purpose in life. But they don’t.
However, until now, no one has come up with a different theory. So that theory of “big ego equals low self-esteem” has been allowed to propagate unchallenged.
It is no wonder that the other group that also become psychologists (the Strategists) have picked up on this theory and have adopted it as being the truth. If enough people say it, then it does become the accepted-truth.
I don’t know with 100% certainty that my theory that humanity has evolved to be an efficient fighting unit is absolutely correct. But the evidence that I see around me says that it makes a lot more sense than ego-and-self-esteem are driving people’s actions.
I challenge you to examine the evidence yourself. It takes a lot of guts to admit that “common sense” theories of the past could be wrong.
How Does This Apply To Selling?
Take the two theories, and predict what might happen in this selling situation: “A loud obnoxious person walks into my store…” How could I approach this situation and earn a sale?
Using the psychologist’s Self-Esteem theory – I should approach the customer and try to fix his miserable condition somehow. Maybe I could tell him that he’d be better off being less brash, and then people would respect and like him more.
Using the Personality Marketing Manual Theory – I should recognize that this guy is a Warrior, looking for a fighting partner. I’m not going to be his fighting partner (since I’m in logistics). But I can sell him something that will help him better attract someone that is a true Warrior. I’d probably say something like: “When your friends see you with this product, they’ll know that you are a leader. They’ll respect your good judgement.”
Of these two theories, which one is more likely to get me the sale?
If it is not obvious to you which will get the sale, then you’re probably visiting the wrong web site today. On the other hand, if you would like to learn more techniques on how to earn more sales, then get the Personality Marketing Manual.
Until next time, “Be Fruitful.”
See Myth #3 in Top Ten Myths of Popular Psychology on Anthony Lemme’s web site.