Having good self-esteem and being confident in your abilities isn’t just good for your own well being, it helps other people too.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Brittany: So we talk about so many different topics on this show. You know, we’ve covered career advice to history to talking about our favorite entrepreneurs. And today I wanna talk a little bit about something that’s a little more personal. And I know we’ve talked about self-improvement before, so it’s kind of about that, but it’s what we can do in our own lives to kind of work on ourselves and, it may not seem like working on ourselves will really help anybody else, right? It might feel a little bit selfish, but as we’ve talked about before, like the more we work on ourselves, the more we can take on bigger projects and maybe, you know, help our local government and help our communities. So I wanted to start today off by talking about somebody named Nathaniel Brandon. And he’s a little bit, relative or, sorry, relevant meaning he kind of has something to do with both the self-improvement realm and with our whole liberty thing because he was one of Ayn Rand’s main followers. And we’ve talked about Ayn Rand before in Objectivism. But I wanted to ask you, Emma, if you could kind of explain really quickly, not a whole lot like what Objectivism.
Emma: Sure. So basically in a really quick nutshell, it is the belief that people are born to be individuals in born to serve their own self-interests. And that when people do that, it’s actually a good thing and it causes the world to work better. It helps us interact better and that when we look out for ourselves, we’re actually doing the right thing.
Brittany: That’s exactly right. And it’s also, we talked about objective truth a couple of weeks ago, and it’s also similar to that in that they don’t believe objectives don’t believe that, like we talked about people having their own truths, things like that. objectives would believe they say A equals A. So like there’s only, yes. One universal truth that is the truth. So similar. So Nathaniel Brandon, he kind of took those principles and he applied it to self-esteem. So he was what was called a psych, what was called, what is called a psychologist, which is kind of like a doctor for the mind. And he wanted to make sure people had proper self-esteem so they could be their best selves and they could be assertive and do what they needed to do in their life to, you know, make the world a better place. So there was a problem at the time with the self-esteem movement, and this is around the time, I think you might be a little teeny but younger than me, but it was around the time that I was maybe elementary school junior high where there was this weird self-esteem movement where it was like everyone’s a winner. Yes. And I’m sure you’ve heard about that. I know Emma if you wanna elaborate a little bit on like, that whole thing and what the problem with that was.
Emma: Yes. That definitely still was around when I was in school as well, especially when I was younger. everybody would get the participation trophy. Yes. You couldn’t even give out birthday party invites unless everyone in class got one. Ugh. you couldn’t bring food to school unless you could share it with everyone. It was kind of this idea that everybody needed to be treated exactly the same. And also that each person, you know, it was this self-esteem thing, but it didn’t talk at all about improving yourself or why that could be a good thing. And I think it missed out on a lot of opportunity, You know, self-esteem is a great thing to have, but when that’s all you’re focusing on, you can actually do yourself a major disservice.
Brittany: I think you’re absolutely right. And that actually reminded me of a story that happened to me, which was Yeah, I we for show and tell or something like that. I remember we said we were having a birthday party and one of my teachers got like mad at me and was like, how dare you talk about a party and everyone else is going through and it’s so silly. Cause everybody knows like, oh, I’m friends with these people, I’m gonna go to their birthday party. Like, it’s, it’s not a surprise. But no, I think what you said is absolutely right and I think one of the main problems with that is when you don’t take time to realize like, oh, I’m not the best at this, then you don’t improve. Right? You have nowhere to go because you’ll grow up thinking like, oh, I’m so great. And there’s a lot of problems with millennials, not you or I of course, but where they felt like entitled. Entitled means like you think the world or somebody owes you things. And I think that’s kind of why that happened is because you had the whole world telling us like, oh, you did great even though you didn’t do so great. you deserve everything. It’s, it actually reminds me of my little sister, we are not athletic in my family. She went to cheerleading camp and she was not good at it and she was like the base of the pyramid and they gave awards to everybody and she got the award, best base. And I remember thinking like, that’s doesn’t even make sense. Like that’s not a good thing to do, that’s basically saying like good job, pat on the back you showed up. Yeah. So this whole, it’s just so silly.
Emma: Yeah. We had, I have to tell a quick story about that too. So I did 4-H growing up, so if anyone, listening knows what 4-H is.
Brittany: It’s Agriculture stuff, right? Yes. Am I wrong? Okay.
Emma: Yes, So it’s like a lot of like animal training and it basically teaches you how to take care of different animals on a farm. But I did four 4-H with my dog and my brother was actually using our family’s dog and it’s basically dog training and showmanship. And I did my neighbor’s dog because my brother was already using ours and we were friends with our neighbors. So he said, sure, you can train my dog. And she was this really sweet dog. But when we got there, she got really nervous and freaked out when it was the day of the show and everyone in the ring had to do the same stuff. It was like these certain obstacles and tasks if you’ve ever seen those dog shows on tv Yeah. Like that. Yeah. And my dog got really nervous and the judge went in to fix her posture and she nipped at the judge.
Brittany: Oh my goodness.
Emma: And the judge was totally fine. She wasn’t hurt at all. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I actually still got a ribbon that day, even though my dog bit the judge. So that was, like the height of the participation trophy stuff was me getting that even though my dog was totally out of line. So you just, had to remind me of that with the cheerleading camp story.
Brittany: It’s so silly. Well, so part of the reason Nathaniel, Brandon got big on self-esteem, and I’ll link to some of his books, he has a lot of really great books on self-esteem is because he saw what was happening and he’s like, wait a second. Like this is not self-esteem. self-esteem is not thinking that you’re good at everything. Self-esteem is knowing what you are good at. And it’s kind of like specialization, which we’ve talked about a lot. It’s like knowing what you’re good at and, facing that. But it’s also looking inward and saying, you know what? I’m not good at this. I need to do what I can to fix this. So I wanted to read a few quotes by him. So there’s one that says, and we’ll unpack them as we always do. some people stand and move as if they have no right in the space to occupy. They wonder why others often fail to treat them with respect, not realizing that they have signaled others that it is not necessary to treat them with respect. So I’m gonna unpack this a little bit, and part of the reason he was big on self-esteem and not a part of this whole like everybody is a winner movement, is he wanted people to be really assertive. And you know, like Jordan Peterson says, stand up straight with your shoulders back. He wanted them to be confident and too many people were letting people push them around because they weren’t confident. And so that was a big part of this, and that’s what this quote means. He wants people, he wants you to be confident in your skills and go into a room and kind of like he says, occupy that space to say, you know, I’m here and I’m good at this and I deserve respect. Because when we’re treated with respect, we’re more likely to treat other people with respect. You know, we happen to be creatures that mimic what we see other people do. And if someone means to us, it’s like a bully. A bully is usually being bullied somewhere else. So it’s kind of a domino effect. But my favorite thing, he has to say, and this is my favorite quote in the whole world, and I it so I might butcher it, but it’s, no one is coming to save you. No one is coming to make life right for you. No one is coming to solve your problems. If you don’t do something, nothing is going to get better. And to unpack that a little bit, what that is saying is that you are responsible for your own life. You’re responsible for taking action and for doing what you need to do to be better at certain things. And not a lot of people say that, right? The self-esteem movement as it was when you and I were kids was very much, you know, oh, you’re a victim. I’m so sorry the world treated you this way. Oh you poor baby, you know, blah blah, blah, blah. Yeah. And that’s the complete opposite of what Nathaniel Brandon said. So he wanted people to realize that they had to get up off their beds or, you know, whatever it is they’re doing. And they had to fix their own problems because if they didn’t fix their own problems, no one was coming to save them. And that sounds almost like bleak, right? It sounds almost kind of scary to be like, oh, no one’s coming for me. But it’s very true and it’s a lesson that I learned too late in life just to get a little personal, that there was a time when I wasn’t really doing everything I needed to do to be a really good person and to have good self-esteem, but I was waiting around for someone else to do it for me. I was waiting around for someone else to come and solve all my problems for me. But when you have good self-esteem, when you have high self-esteem, you care about yourself and you value yourself. And so you’re more likely to get up and do what you need to do to save yourself. So I don’t know if you have any comments on that or things you wanna add Emma.
Emma: Yeah, absolutely. I think we both growing up in that era where it was sort of this, I’m going to accept myself no matter what and you know, I’ve gone through all these hard things and that’s just a part of who I am and that’s my story. It was like, there was a missing piece to that. And it was just the beginning of a sentence that should have been, yes, this is who I am, this is my story I have to tell, but also there’s more to me and I’m capable of growing and capable of changing and improving myself. And it was like they never came in with the solution. They just talked about the problems and talked about the hard things. And it was never that hopeful message of, Hey, if there’s something that you’re not great at, or if there’s something that you don’t like about yourself, you don’t have to just accept it. You can actually work hard. Yeah. And sometimes you can’t change it, but sometimes you can. Like if you have bad habits, you can change those. And I think the whole thing of no one is coming to save you. I think the only person that you can really look to save you a lot of time is yourself. And that sounds kind of weird. And obviously, you need to rely on the people in your community as well and ask for help when you need it. But when it comes to your daily life and your habits and, who you are as a person and the way you’re living, a lot of times the only person that can really fix those things is you. Yeah. You have to be invested, you have to be ready to jump in and do the work that it takes. And that’s something that Ayn Rand actually talked about. We talked about objectivism in the beginning of this show, and she was really big on you the person who is in charge of your destiny and of your fate. You need to really grab a hold of that and take it for everything that it is. And I definitely, growing up in this sort of the same era of self-esteem and self-acceptance, it took me a while to figure that out too. And I had to learn some hard lessons, and go through some hard things to figure out, hey, this stuff is actually mostly in my hands and maybe I need to ask for help sometimes. Maybe I can’t always do it on my own, but I need to make up my mind that I’m going to do better. And that was a huge wake-up call. And I love what, Nathaniel Brandon says about this stuff. You can’t just walk around saying, I’m a victim. Oh, everyone needs to feel bad for me. You’ve gotta own up to your stuff and understand that you’re not perfect, but also have that confidence that says, I know who I am and I’m working on getting better.
Brittany: Exactly. And that’s where the self-esteem part comes in. Cuz I’m sure a lot of people are thinking like, all right, this feels more like motivating yourself to be better. Not self-esteem, but it’s all connected. It is all about self-esteem. because when you feel better about yourself again, you’re more likely to treat other people better. You are more likely to try harder in your career to be a better person. So I think it’s all intertwined. I don’t know if you have any final thoughts.
Emma: I don’t know if I have anything to add to that. Just that, you know, it’s an encouragement. It’s as much as it is a challenge, it’s, Hey, I may not be perfect, but I know that I can improve and I can work on myself. That’s such a freeing thing. Yes. To know and to understand. And you don’t have to fix everything today or tomorrow. No. But just knowing that you can improve yourself and you can work on yourself is a huge thing for your self-esteem.
Brittany: I think you’re absolutely right.
Emma: Awesome. Well, we are gonna put some more information on Nathaniel Brandon in the show notes. Thank you guys for joining us today, and we will talk to you later. Thanks, Brittany.
Brittany: Talk to you later.