I've said it before that I agree with Ayn Rand 100 percent. Objectivism is something I'm making an effort to commit to, but I can't escape this idea that I'm useless, and that I don't stand a chance when compared to the rest of the world. I also have an "it's too late" mentality. I know these are irrational thoughts, but in regards to education and my future, I feel as if I can't compete because I'm not smart enough. I envy those who have a high IQ. No, I would never wish anything bad on someone who is smart...I embrace them because intelligence is something I value heavily. I just feel bad because I'm not. I have no self-confidence, and I find it hard to believe, for some reason, the fact that being the best I can be will make me happy. What if the best I can be is someone who makes minimum wage, living check to check, whom nobody respects given the lack of importance to his job? Compared to the genius who cures diseases? I don't believe a man with an IQ of 90 can cure cancer. I'm not saying it's impossible--I'm saying it's very unlikely, and most likely won't ever happen.
Self-esteem flows primarily from two sources: romantic love and productive work (with a very broad context).
Self-esteem is fundamentally self-confidence in your ability to live and be successful given the facts of reality (which include your physical, mental and financial limitations). Self-esteem is earned by how you live your life. No one can give you self-esteem, nor can you give it to others. Living with integrity will raise your self-esteem.
In my experience, an important key to self-esteem (and pride) is productive work. I can't cure cancer, either. But I can work hard, I'm honest, I have integrity, I can support myself and my family, I can produce products and services that others value, I'm fair, and I'm independent. Those things don't require superior intelligence; they only require following a sound moral code.
The bottom line is that you can't put the cart before the horse. You can't have self-esteem first, and then be productive, honest, and so on. It works the other way around. In my own personal case, I found the rewards snuck up on me. I was busy living my life, and one day realized, "hey, I'm happy!" or "I'm really proud of that!"
The alternative is to deny metaphysical reality, to hope/wish/pray you were something other than what you are, to try to "fake it". Many (most?) people live their lives in that camp. They seek the unearned, and are doomed to fail. I've seen it many times. "Oh, if I just had money," or "if I had a better education", or "if I didn't live here," or "if my parents had been different." The list is endless -- and yet, when people get those things, they still aren't happy -- and they don't have a clue why.
answered Jan 10 '12 at 01:47
I've skirted with depression before. My advice is to stop thinking about the future. More specifically, stop thinking about what you cannot do. Even MORE specifically, stop making assumptions about what you cannot do. Your assumptions are your beliefs. Your beliefs drive your emotion. That is why you are depressed. Even if you were to cure cancer tomorrow, you can still be depressed if you keep making assumptions about what you cannot achieve in the future.
The alternative is to focus on the now. Use your rational mind to identify what is metaphysically possible and work on that. In terms of growth, try to learn and make small improvements everyday in whatever occupation that you are currently working in. Forget the end game. Try to put your mind into a "flow" state. That's a good indicator that you're growing in some fashion.
Lastly, always always always remember this motto: You are responsible for your own happiness. If you are depress, it is because you have allowed your thinking to get away from you. Reign it in. You are the boss.
answered Jan 10 '12 at 01:45
Let me describe a Venn diagram for you which has helped me focus my life, find happiness and fulfillment. One circle is your passions or dreams. What do you love to do or think about? Another circle is the things you are very good at--your strengths and skills. Have you ever made a list of those things? Self-awareness isn't easy. So you may want to ask family and people you trust for what they think are some of your strengths. Whatever is in the intersection of these two circles, or can move you closer to that, are things you should consider pursuing. Then there is a third circle to think about: what can other people do? Or, what are they doing already? The ultimate goal (in my experience) is to discover what lies in the intersection of the first two circles, but outside the 3rd circle. This is the rare and unique contribution that you can make because no one else is doing it. It's also what you love, and what you are or can become great at. You don't need a high IQ for this. But you do need lots of self-reflection, self-assessment, persistence, determination, and creativity (and probably some good luck) to eliminate all the things that don't help you live in that intersection, and focus on the things that do.
I'm very serious when I say that you need to draw this on paper and write down everything you can think of that exists within each of these circles. The answers can change over time. But you can find the answers for you. And the best time to get started is now. Today.
answered Jan 15 '12 at 16:19