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Low self-esteem and failures

In this video Josef talks about coping with low self-esteem and the consequences of failure.
I suffered from low self-esteem my entire life. It’s gotten better over time because I pushed myself, but I can still feel sometimes that I’m insecure. I keep checking with colleagues whether my accomplishments are good enough, even though I know, myself, that they are. But I’m insecure and I need to know what people think. I’m still like that, even though I am more confident these days in my worklife specifically. But it’s not always been like that, and I can look back at what happens when you let low self-esteem control how you do things, how you react.
And I know for a fact that low self-esteem may actually keep you from succeeding, because sometimes it keeps you from even starting a task like I shouldn’t do that. I’m not the best one not doing that or I don’t know how to do that so I don’t know where to start. And maybe you’re afraid of failing, or maybe you don’t know how to do it, so it’s just so frustrating where you can’t schedule or you can’t break it into tasks. So it’s just such a huge thing that you don’t know how to deal with it.
And perhaps you start thinking and getting stuck in your mind, like what will other people think about me if I start failing or if I can’t complete this task. And maybe there’s someone on your shoulder saying, well, maybe you can blame someone else if things go wrong, it’s someone else’s fault. But what consequences would that have with that work relationship, with that colleague, in the future? You might be setting yourself up for future failures because you’ve burnt that bridge.
So, it’s important that you. Try. Because really, what are the consequences for failure? And I think we are our harshest critics. When I did my PhD, which is a huge step for someone in academia and I was supposed to defend my thesis. In Sweden, we have an audience, and I had around eighty or hundred people in the audience. I was questioned for two and a half hours by an opponent and a grading committee and I was incredibly nervous. What if I misunderstand the question? What if I don’t know how to answer? What if I answer wrong?
That would be incredibly embarrassing and there’s so many people in the audience that will look at me say “ah, that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” And my father who is very different from me, he’s very
logical and methodical, he he asked me: Well, Josef, what really are the consequences of failure? And I was like, I had to think about it. And I was like, well, I would have to redo the exam, like the defense. But in this situation, I would probably get paid for that time. When I, like, improve my thesis, while I improve and prepare better for next time? So really, the consequence is a short delay in my career for a few months maybe. I can live with that. Really, it’s not so bad. And and probably I’m not going to end up in that situation because I’ve spent four or five years researching this topic and I really should know most of the answers.
Because I’m the specialist, so the likelihood of failing is not that high, and I had to logically think
about the consequences of failure and I realized: it’s in my mind. And my low self esteem is painting a terrible picture where everything is just crashing down, but usually that’s not the case. So ask yourself, what is the consequence of failure in your life, in your tasks, and can you live with those consequences? And if you can, well, give it your best shot. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? But if you don’t try. Then the next time you’re faced with a similar situation, you’re going to end up with the same discussion in your own mind. I’m not good enough, and I can’t do this.
And this task is going to get more impossible every time because you never try and you never see what works and you never develop your own skills. So low self-esteem can be terrible unless you push yourself through and try and give it your best shot.

In this video Josef talks about coping with low self-esteem and the consequences of failure.


Before moving on, have there been times when failing wasn’t as severe as you thought it would be? Do you agree that sometimes it is better to try and fail than never trying at all? Put your thoughts in the comments section below

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