Is self-esteem the key to success?

by Etienne Strebel,

The higher your self-esteem, the greater the chance of a successful relationship and improved work and health, according to scientists at Basel University.

Does self-esteem increase success, are people with more of it more successful – or do the two reinforce each other?

Ulrich Orth, professor of psychology at Basel University, and scientists at the University of California analysed the data of 1,824 people aged 16-97 who had spent more than 12 years in the United States (see link).

“We established that self-esteem is more likely to influence success than vice versa,” Orth told, adding that self-esteem was a relatively stable part of one’s personality.

“A person’s self-esteem – which can be high or low – will most probably be just as high or low next year and indeed in five or ten years,” he said.

“It’s commonly believed that self-esteem changes when one is made unemployed or achieves significant success at work – or when a relationship breaks up. But our data show this is actually rarely the case.”

Nature vs nurture

Where does self-esteem come from? Until now there’s been no coherent scientific answer.

“Part of it is nature, but then nurture plays a meaningful role,” Orth said.

However, the appreciation and respect of family, friends or those at work definitely strengthen self-esteem.


2 replies

  1. The best way to self-esteem is ‘SALAT’ (the five daily prayers). When you know that you are performing your duty to Allah, Allah in turn grants you satisfaction, which in turn generates your self-esteem.

    Other comments by readers are welcome!

  2. Self esteem or self image has to be based on reality. If it is divorced from the biggest reality of the universe, its Creator, God Almighty, then it only becomes a hoax, deceit or arrogance.

    So, self image created in submission to the will of God and service of humanity is the only true and genuine self image, which is described in the Holy Quran as ‘Soul at Rest.’

    For a detailed exposition of ‘Soul at Rest,’ read the book Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam:

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