Why we all need a Healthy dose of Ego and Narcissism to Achieve in life?
The Myth of Narcissus
Most of you have undoubtedly heard of the Greek myth of Narcissus, a young man who is in love only with himself. He breaks the heart of the young girl named Echo. Because of that, the goddess of revenge- Nemesis, leads Narcissus by a pool, where he falls in love with his reflection in the water and after realizing that his love will not be returned to him — he turns into a yellow flower which, according to this myth is called the Narcissus.
The lesson that can be learned from this myth is that we humans should not be selfish, only in love with ourselves, and should not ignore other people’s needs and feelings. Thinking about ego and egoism follows the same line. We have to admit that when we hear that someone is characterized as a narcissist or a person with a big ego, we immediately get a negative perception of the person, right?
As with all other things and so with ego and narcissism.
Imagine a circle. A straight line is drawn from one end of the process to the other. At the center of the ring is a healthy dose of narcissism and ego. The more we move to the ends of the straight line, the more unhealthy and deviant forms of selfishness and ego appear. There are inversely proportional tendencies of positioning in this circle. The closer we are to the center, the lower the chances of manifesting unhealthy manifestations of narcissism and ego, and vice versa. The closer we are to the straight line ends, the greater the embodiment of harmful forms and the decrease of healthy ones. The different arrangement of this spectrum of possibilities offers us other opportunities for success in life. Any radicalized phenomenon does not lead to anything good, so this rule also applies to the existence of narcissism and ego in a person. The radicalization of these two notions can lead to people perceiving a given person as someone who in a lousy way deviates from the norms of the normal while positioning the person at the center means creating a healthy opportunity for success in life.
So how do we know what is the limit we should not cross when it comes to healthy doses of narcissism and ego? To answer this question, we will make a brief inductive analysis that will help us define these two terms and define the rules that will guide narcissism and the ego towards creating success in life.
What are narcissism and ego?
From a psychological point of view, narcissism is a disorder that means that a given person attaches increased importance to himself. There is a great need for people to admire and pay attention to that person and a lack of empathy. Or reformulated in plain language, the person wants to be the center of attention, believes that everything he does is the best, and takes care only of himself. Furthermore, we have the ego, which can be defined as a person’s sense of self-worth or self-confidence. And again, when we say that some person has a huge ego, we actually think that person has great self-confidence and attaches great importance to himself. This is often said of people who do not have any obvious and enormous achievements in life. The excessively narcissistic and selfish people can be identified by several characteristics:
- Glorious sense of self-importance
- The overly selfish and narcissistic person tends to occupy every conversation and positions himself as the center of everything
- Fake external projection
- Use of manipulation
But now, let’s talk about the healthy dose of narcissism and egocentricity, shall we?
A healthy dose of narcissism and ego
We have to admit that we live in an age where things are happening at lightning speed, an era in which we are surrounded by many people every day. Each of us has certain qualities, certain things that we are experts in, and enjoy doing. Let’s imagine two situations:
In one situation, a new job opens up that you want to apply for and that you believe is the job of your dreams. In the second situation, you meet a girl or a boy you like and think that this could be your soulmate. If you do not have self-confidence and do not believe in yourself, you will not convince your employers that you are the perfect person for the job, no matter how much you are an expert in the field and how effectively you can work. If your ego and self-esteem are not centered on the healthy side of the spectrum of narcissism and egocentrism, then you will not have the courage to approach the person you like.
And this is where the line between the negative and the positive embodiment of narcissism and the ego is drawn.
What do we mean by a healthy dose of narcissism and ego?
We mean a person who is self-confident, but not too much and has no empty self-confidence. We represent a person who is aware of their qualities and abilities but is also aware of their shortcomings and works to minimize their implications. A healthy dose of narcissism and ego make the person empathetic, pay attention to the feelings of the people around them, make the person motivated to achieve their goals in life, but at the same time not hurt or destroy other people. Such a person is aware that one must work to achieve one’s own goals, is mindful that hard work secures the path to success, and sees every failure as an opportunity for self-improvement. Healthy narcissism and ego allow the person to be aware that there are many things that are not under their control. The person is aware that the world in which we live is continually changing, and precisely because of that awareness, the person can change and improve at the same time, by the requirements of the external environment. Such people are flexible, but that does not mean that they can be easily manipulated and do not know when to say no. They know how to stand behind their position and defend it when necessary, but at the same time emphasizing one crucial thing — respect. They respect all people, other people’s opinions, and appreciate criticism and praise.
But most importantly, they know that the person they can trust the most- is themselves! In this way, they filter out the negative things, turn them into positive ones, and use them to succeed in life. These people are goal-oriented and determined to succeed! They are visionaries who can see the bigger picture and direct themselves towards fulfilling that picture, people who know that they can make a change and are sure of their qualities. The healthy narcissist always focuses on the solution and not the problem, and he directs all of his time and energy in achieving the best possible version of that solution.
Humans are beings who visualize, who understand things better if we are given a vivid example of something.
So, as the best example of a man who had a healthy dose of narcissism and ego, who managed to achieve a lot in life, and managed to be loved by a massive number of people,
can be taken the tragically departed Kobe Bryant. As the only son of a former NBA player, Kobe started playing basketball at just three years old. From an early age, Kobe was in love with the spotlight on the basketball court, and through healthy narcissism and ego, he aspired and managed to make those spotlights just his. A man who ignored social divisions, a man who perceived everyone as equal, a man who aimed to be better and better. He was a man who gathered all the knowledge and patience of the world, and often he shared his advice with the people who follow him. It is from these tips that we can understand the essence of healthy narcissism and ego. It is from them that we can know how they can be used to succeed in life:
- “It’s not about endorsements. It’s not about fame. You want your peers to respect you and appreciate what you do as a basketball player and a man.”
- “Everything I’ve been holding as significant- the championships, the endorsements. Maybe that’s not the most important thing.”
- “Dreams, they should be pure. The more we mature, the more responsible our dreams become and the more governors we put on ourselves to dream.”
- “Protecting your dreams, protecting your imagination, the more you do that- the more the world seems limitless.”
Or let’s take Michael Jordan, for example.
Would he have managed to become one of the best basketball players if he did not have a healthy dose of narcissism and ego? Of course not!
Just take a look at one of his most famous quotes- “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying!” Right here you can see one of the most important characteristics of healthy narcissism, he acknowledges that anyone can experience failure, does not say that he will succeed at any cost, and does not guarantee that he will do so with certainty. He says success is the result of numerous attempts to achieve the desired goal. And precisely this kind of mindset has helped him to be awarded the NBA’s most valuable player award (five times)! Basketball is a field of great competition and with a vast number of individuals trying to succeed there. Michael Jordan, with his healthy dose of narcissism, not only managed to break into that scene but also managed to position himself as one of the best basketball players in human history. A critical feature of healthy positioning in the spectrum of narcissism and ego is a healthy competitiveness level. And I believe that all sports fans are familiar with Michael Jordan’s competitiveness. For example, in 1997, in the NBA finals, Michael Jordan had the flu but did not allow it to stop him and scored 38 points, which led to the Bulls’ winning. In short, he is a man who believes in his abilities, who believes that hard work is the path to success and that giving up should not exist, and we are all witnesses that it is his philosophy that has raised him to the pedestal of sport.
These two basketball legends that we took as an example obviously would not have succeeded in their careers if they did not have a healthy dose of narcissism and ego that would open their eyes and make them aware of their qualities. It means confidently grabbing the opportunity and working hard to get to the top, and then working even more challenging to stay there.
Let these two examples motivate us to forget about the idealized self-image or self-pity, inspire us to increase our self-confidence, bring us back to reality, say that we are not perfect, and motivate us to work hard to achieve our goals.
If you are not a huge fan and connoisseur of sports, I will give you another example in the field of music. The whole world knows Celine Dion, the singer with an angelic voice. But very few of us know that she was born into an impoverished family and as the youngest of 14 children.
“I worked hard, and I surpassed myself. I didn’t have visually what it took. I was not pretty, I had teeth problems, and I was very skinny. I didn’t fit the mold.”
“There’s been nothing but discipline, discipline, discipline all my life.”
The healthy dose of narcissism and ego that Celine Dion possesses allows her to see her flaws, not to deny them. It is such shortcomings that are a motive for her to break down the stereotypes of things, fight for her position on the music scene, and show the world that it is her voice that can reach every individual’s heart. She is an emotionally intelligent person who realizes in time that she should be a team player, respect everyone around her, and at the same time to work on her own goals. She directs all her attention to perfecting the things she does. Many of her colleagues and friends testify that instead of going out and having fun every night, she works for hours on her music to bring her to a level that will make her happy. Dianne Warren, a composer of a massive number of Celine songs, says that one event, in particular, remained in her memory. Namely, she was at a Celine concert that lasted two hours. Around 11:30 p.m., they went to her studio and stayed until 4 a.m. because Celine wanted to do her job correctly. Such positive characteristics helped her to stand out from the crowd and show her qualities. She lives life in her way, respecting others, but she also retains the right to her own opinion and does not allow herself to be manipulated.
A perfect example of healthy narcissism!
We all have a choice. We have an option to decide which side of the spectrum to take. We have the choice to determine whether other people will see us as selfish, in love with themselves, and perceive us negatively. But we can also choose to be empathetic, confident in our abilities, and achieve our life goals.
Therefore, we should all strive to have a healthy dose of narcissism and ego to help us throughout life.