Gene Simmons, asked about joining the TV program “The Apprentice: Celebrity Edition”, gave one of his typical tongue in cheek responses:
“I’m the next apprentice because I’m the best of the best” – adding with a big grin: “Look how sincere I am.”
He also commented, “You can’t get really too full of yourself. The more accolades you get, the more money you make, it tends to dull the senses.”
He claims to do without the typical star entourage and flashy jewelry, in part to keep himself grounded.
Most of us aren’t rock stars and large scale entrepreneurs and producers like Simmons, who seems to have a healthy level of self-assurance without too much arrogance.
But many people with high ability and talent can suffer from self-criticism that erodes positive self-regard, and a realistic perception of the value of their own work.
For example, Irish writer John Banville, just before receiving The Booker Prize, considered the world’s most prestigious award for new fiction, was sure he would not win: “I tend to think all my books are bad,” he said.
[From my article Being Creative and Self-critical.]
Meryl Streep, even with years of acclaim for her acting, has admitted, “I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing… You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent. It could be about not feeling able to achieve a certain scene or about an emotion you feel you weren’t able to get to…
“Or that you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing… any one of those things.”
Nathaniel Branden, PhD., a therapist, writer and expert on self esteem issues, says in his article Healthy Self-Esteem that this is a vital topic; “As the world becomes more complex, competitive, challenging, self-esteem is more important than ever.
“The shift from a manufacturing-based society to one based on information, and the emergence of a global economy characterized by rapid change have created growing demands on our psychological resources.”
He notes that “Despite the abundance of books, studies, workshops and committees devoted to the subject of self-esteem, there is little agreement about what it means. Self-esteem has two essential components: Self-efficacy… and Self-respect.
“When we have confidence in our ability to think and act effectively, we can persevere when faced with difficult challenges. Result: We succeed more often than we fail. We form more nourishing relationships. We expect more of life and of ourselves.”
In his article Self Esteem means feeling good inside, Karl Perera puts it simply: “Self Esteem is what we experience when we feel good about ourselves and when we feel good inside… when you like what you are doing, where you are going and feel you have your priorities right…. What you need to feel good inside is within your power. It is not the result but the route to achievement.”
So it’s a matter of balance – of seeing ourselves realistically, with confidence in what we can do, without going to extremes in either direction.
As John Lennon once said: “Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
In another article, Passion and Soulfulness, Nathaniel Branden writes that we nurture our soul by “revering our own life. By treating it as supremely important. By reaching for the best within ourselves. By learning to love it all, not only the joys and the victories, but also the pain and struggles.”