Unattributed. Seen on Facebook.
Eric Barker has summarized research on many self-improvement topics, and peppered his summaries with links to the actual research. I’ve taken much of his work to heart and felt like I have become a better person because of it.
His latest post is on self-esteem/confidence, an counter-intuitive topic. In the following excerpt, he points out the danger of artificially boosting self-esteem:
But you’ve read plenty of stuff on these here interwebz about raising self-esteem, right? And that must work. And that must be good. Right? Wrong.
California set up a task force and gave it $250,000 a year to raise children’s self-esteem. They expected this to boost grades and reduce bullying, crime, teen pregnancy and drug abuse. Guess what?
It was a total failure in almost every category.
Reports on the efficacy of California’s self-esteem initiative, for instance, suggest that it was a total failure. Hardly any of the program’s hoped-for outcomes were achieved. Research shows self-esteem doesn’t cause all those good things. It’s just a side effect of success. So artificially boosting it doesn’t work.
In one influential review of the self-esteem literature, it was concluded that high self-esteem actually did not improve academic achievement or job performance or leadership skills or prevent children from smoking, drinking, taking drugs, and engaging in early sex. If anything, high self-esteem appears to be the consequence rather than the cause of healthy behaviors.
Actually, let me amend that. It is good at raising something: narcissism. So trying to increase self-esteem doesn’t help people succeed but it can turn them into jerks.
Barker also offers suggestions of what we need instead of artificially boosted self-esteem:
Instead, focus on forgiving yourself when you’re not. [cites to the work of Kristin Neff is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin]:
Self-compassion is not about a judgment or evaluation of self-worth; it’s not about deciding whether or not we’re a good or bad person; it’s just about treating oneself kindly. Treating oneself like one would treat a good friend, with warmth and care and understanding. When self-esteem deserts us, which is when we fail and we make a mistake, self-compassion steps in. Self-compassion recognizes that it’s natural and normal to fail and to make mistakes, and that we’re worthy of kindness even though we’ve done something we regret or didn’t perform as well as we wanted to.
The title of this hilarious collection of GIF’s: “Reddit Users Were Asked To Sum Up Their First Sexual Experience With A GIF. The Responses Were Magnificent.”
I’ve been blogging for 10 years at this website. It started off as a collaboration of authors, which made sense back then, in that it was not as easy to create a blog back then, and a group of authors seemed like better bait than a single author to attract readers.It was a good experience back then, and I really appreciated bouncing ideas off the co-authors through our comments and posts. I explored many ideas that I conceptualize as being under the umbrella of cognitive science. Writing about the writings of others pushed those ideas further into my working knowledge–this was so very much more satisfying than ideas slipping in and out. Before I blogged, ideas didn’t stick, and I didn’t have articles to link to my new articles, making both old and new ideas more accessible.
In short, I was blogging for self-improvement, with the thought that many of the things in which I was interested would also interest some others. As I blogged through the years, the number of daily visitors climbed up to the hundreds and then the thousands (according to a measuring tool I then used called “Webstats”). I was inspired to work ever harder at finding articles that challenged me yet were accessible, or at least I tried to make them accessible. I invested two, three, four or more hours per day reading, dictating, polishing and proofing my articles, some of them running into the thousands of words. It was a really invigorating was to become educated.
And here I am, still blogging, though at a much-reduced pace, but thinking that this website is a familiar and attractive place for me. Especially now that I’ve changed hosts, which has sped up the site considerably, which makes blogging seem almost effortless. And as I sit here writing, at the age of almost 60, I wonder whether what I really have to offer that hasn’t been offered dozens or hundred of times already. And upon writing that, I think I’ve identified my quest – to stay unique in my voice, even if it means writing a lot less. Even if it means “reporting” less and emoting more with my words. Bottom line: I suspect that I will be veering more toward essays and observations, though remaining vigilant regarding others’ articles and creative works.
Well . . . that’s it for now. I will be taking some new steps in some new directions in the coming weeks and months, and seeing how it looks the next day and week.
At the U.K. Guardian, Sarah Bakewell asks and answers what it is like to be an existentialist. Her article is equally insightful and entertaining. Here’s an excerpt:
[Existentialists] were interesting thinkers. They remind us that existence is difficult and that people behave appallingly, but at the same time they point out how vast our human possibilities are. That is why we might pick up some inspiring ideas from reading them again and why we might even try being just a little more existentialist ourselves.
Place: Gallery 210, University of Missouri, St. Louis: 1 University Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63121 (it’s in the same building as the UMSL Police Department).
Opening: Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 5pm to 7pm. Exhibit runs through June 25, 2016.
The story of St. Louis type design closely mirrors the history of graphic design in the United States. This exhibit is the story of a public thirsty for high quality printed words, and the technology and design advancements that responded to this thirst. Type was cast in St. Louis foundries and sent to printers to the west and south, along with shipments of printing equipment. This exhibit also is the story of businesses realizing that better advertisements increased profits. You will also learn of the rise of “art printing,” which later becomes Graphic Design and Printing. Also featured is the public’s delight with beautiful new typefaces that responded to contemporaneous fashions. The typefaces featured in this show were designed in St. Louis for Central and Inland Type Foundries by talented artisans drawn from the printing and engraving industry.