So while having my morning bubble bath, I came across an article summing up 30 years of research on raising children. It said success lies not in praising talent, but emphasizing hard work. Focus on effort, and screw how great you think you are. In other words more attention to substance rather than style.
This is a kick in the groin to every self-help guru who pumped the sham of self-esteem down our throats for the last three decades. From eighth grade to Oprah, we've been told that feeling good is better than actually doing good. As long as you're happy- who cares if you sit around all day and get high in your underwear. Which, I confess, is pretty fun. Especially if there's a Golden Girls marathon.
See, people with high self esteem require achievement without effort - it's like they won the lottery without ever playing. Hence you find these losers to be the most selfish people on earth - they're the roommate who never cleans, the friend who never repays a debt, the hooker who never shaves, the father who never takes his sons and daughters out alone to do stuff without Mom being the arbiter. Why fix what isn't broken- when you're naturally superior? And now it ends up that not only are you NOT superior but you've been lying to yourself your entire life.
My solution to excess esteem? Reverse it. Reward effort and denigrate pride. Salute sweat and punish sloth. And the next time someone tells you how important it is to feel good about yourself, punch them in the face. And say, thanks, I feel better already!