Notorious B.I.G. knew it already: “Never get high on your own supply.” Sure, he was talking about crack, but the same goes for Personal Development. It can be a real problem that you become too full of yourself once you actually start seeing results in your development and do better than the people around you. So in this post I want to share with you some ideas on how to prevent that!
Personal development brings out the narcissist in us
Imagine you decide to improve yourself. You have an area in your life you are unhappy with and you make up your mind to tackle it. How good will you feel about yourself if you actually bring up the willpower and dedication to follow through with that plan? You will feel pretty amazing, right? You have turned your weakness into a strength, you haven proven to yourself that you can set a goal and then reach it, and you probably feel a bit superior to all the people who just talk and never do.
But herein lies the problem: every time you do improve yourself, you feed your inner narcissist. You inflate your ego and if you are not careful that will alienate the people around you. It furthermore will keep you from reaching even bigger goals, since you will get attached to your (inflated) self image, which then will keep you from taking risks and potentially failing.
Bragging shows insecurity, humbleness shows confidence
If you are truly dedicated to personal growth, you will see yourself as a student not just at the beginning , but for life. When meeting new people you will always be more interested in what you can learn from them than how you can impress them. Showing off your skills or accomplishments shows only that you are trying to cover a deep-rooted insecurity and other people can sense that.
So instead of trying to become the best you so others will admire you, become the best version of yourself for your own sake and stay humble around others.
Three rules for humbleness
So how do you stay humble when you are objectively doing well? Here are three rules that I want to share with you that are working well for me and that remind me how much I have still left to learn.
1. Always reach for the next level
Don’t ever settle and feel content with being the big fish in the small pond. This is a classic attitude of people with a fixed mindset, but they are also the ones that aim so low that they never have to stretch themselves. Instead, have goals. Revise and adjust them if they are too easy. Raise the bar. Find people who are better than you. Nothing is more humbling than surrounding yourself with people who outperform you.
2. See everyone as a teacher
You might focus on very specific areas that you want to improve in. And you might actually become very good in those. But remember that you are just so good in those because you chose to focus your time and energy on them. Other people have acquired skills in other areas and can teach you something there. Everyone can teach you something! So don’t only see what you can do better than others. Also see what those others can do better than you.
3. Remember where you’re coming from
We all started small. Our beginnings were always humble and sometimes it helps to remind yourself of that. On the one hand it shows you how far you have already come and you have every right to be proud of that. But on the other hand it also helps you to relate to others who are still at the beginning of their journey. Remember how much blood, sweat and tears it took you to get to where you are now. And how much you appreciated every helping hand. Hopefully that will encourage to lend a helping hand yourself now that you are in the position to do so, instead of looking down on others.