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 to do 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, his children] negative things, and then the world reinforces that, how will they ever develop confidence?”

I realize that if not for the wisdom of my father and his decision to encourage us, I may have never developed the confidence to move forward and have faith in my ability to succeed.

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. These frames of mind are horribly detrimental to success in any part of life, especially in business.

In starting a business, you must have the self-esteem necessary to defend your ideas while listening to the accomplished people contradicting you. Everyone from Famous Amos to Bill Gates had to have a phenomenal amount of confidence in order to make it to where they are now.

The story of Famous Amos illustrates the confidence and lack of self-pity necessary to succeed in business. Famous Amos not only had his company stolen, but the rights to his own name as well. This, however, did not stop him or even slow him down, as he went on to create a new cookie company, Uncle Noname. In the face of his defeat, he neither complained nor made excuses; rather, he focused his efforts on overcoming the injustice and persevered to become successful for a second time. He was able to bounce back because he was confident in himself and his ability, so 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. Self-esteem can be shot down very quickly without knowledge and wisdom to back it up. That is why 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 neither good nor helpful for self-esteem. If one is egotistical, then they will always be disappointed to find someone better, or they will feel that people do not seem to understand how great they are. In any circumstance, they will always be disappointed.

If one is humble, on the other hand, there is not as much room for disappointment. One who is humble does not try to compare himself or herself to others; therefore they are not disappointed and not narcissistic in attitude.

Realize where you are and concentrate on doing your best rather than on beating someone else. You can gain a better understanding of yourself and other people, and you will ultimately 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 something that is wrong, such as exploiting others or trying to make a dishonest or immoral profit, 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 will always fear that your wrongdoings will catch up to you.

If they do, getting back on your feet will be the least of your worries. You will have to avoid people who will try to make your life miserable in prison or snuff your life out. It may seem easier at first to make a dishonest buck, but it is guaranteed to rob you of life, whether from the loss of years due to 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; there’s only notoriety, strife and fear.

The only way to seemingly enjoy such a life of misery is to delude one’s self. If you are doing well by hurting others, you will never be satisfied. Satisfaction only comes when you have established yourself as worthwhile by making it legitimately. Once you have, everyone will be proud of you. Only the jealous, who are leading dishonest lives, will despise you for making it legitimately, because they are not legitimate. You will feel even better when you become their inspiration to turn their lives around and make a clean, honest living. Not only will you be at peace and have people admiring you, but you will have a great wealth of self-esteem because you will realize that you can succeed just as well as anyone else. You will have had a positive impact on society, and that is what you will be admired and remembered for.

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

Read Armstrong Williams, author of the brand-new book “Reawakening Virtues.” More content can be found on RightSideWire.com.

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