- - Sunday, November 27, 2011


While reflecting on my childhood recently, I realized that self-esteem has a phenomenal impact on one’s ability to become an entrepreneur. In order to do something new, one must believe in oneself, and that is very difficult with low self-esteem. It is critical that every child be brought up in an encouraging environment. I remember my father once said, “If we only tell them (referring to us, their children) negative things, and then the world reinforces that, how will they ever develop confidence?”

Self-esteem is the knowledge that you are a capable human being, able to learn from mistakes and turn them into triumphs. When you step out into the world, you must be able to converse and act with confidence in business and with friends. Home is one of the best places to start. Everyone needs encouragement and a sense that they are doing something right; without this feeling, it is easy to fall into the habit of self-doubt and pity.

In starting a business, you must have the self-esteem necessary to defend your ideas while listening to accomplished people contradicting you. The story of Famous Amos illustrates the confidence and lack of self-pity necessary to succeed in business. Famous Amos had not only his company stolen, but the rights to his own name as well. Yet he went on to create a new company: Uncle No Name cookies. In the face of his defeat, he did not complain nor make excuses. He simply made up his mind that he would do well again, and he did.

In order to obtain the knowledge necessary to excel, one must be willing to take time to learn. Increasing your intelligence and level of understanding is so important; once you have studied something diligently, you will be confident that you understand it and have the desire to learn more. You will find that people will respect you and come to you in search of understanding. This could boost your ego, but ego and self-esteem are two very different things.

Ego is your measurement of yourself with regard to others. This is not good, nor is it helpful for self-esteem. The egotistical always will be disappointed to find someone better and will be left with the feeling that people do not seem to understand how great they are.

If one is humble, on the other hand, there is not as much room for disappointment. The humble do not try to compare themselves with others, and therefore are neither disappointed nor narcissistic in attitude. Realize where you are, and concentrate on doing your best rather than beating someone else. You can gain a better understanding of yourself and other people, and you ultimately will be liked more and have a much easier time attaining adequate self-esteem for success.

One of the most important fundamentals of self-esteem is ethics. If you are doing what is wrong, you will not be able to attain the confidence and self-worth that is paramount to success. You may attain riches, but you will have to worry about getting caught, or whether someone is going to scam you better than you scam them.

You will never be at peace in unethical business dealings because even if you ignore your conscience, you always fear your wrongdoings catching up with you. If they do, getting back on your feet will be the least of your worries: You have to avoid people trying to make your life miserable in prison or trying to snuff out your life. It may seem easier at first to make a dishonest buck, but it is guaranteed to rob you of life, whether from loss of years because of stress, homicide or suicide. Even for the selfish person, it is just not worth it to get involved in unethical business. In unethical dealings, there is no fame, glory or esteem — only notoriety, strife and fear.

The path to adequate self-esteem for success is essentially through diligence, humility and proper ethics. If you attain self-esteem through these three methods, then you to will be well on your way to health, wealth and happiness.

• Armstrong Williams, author of the 2010 book “Reawakening Virtues,” is on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.

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