Teen self esteem too high?

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Teen self esteem too high?

Postby existential_elevator » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:44 am UTC

Here

Researchers compared responses from teens in 1975 and 2006, asking questions about their qualities and abilities. The study, published last month, found that today's kids consider themselves to be far more intelligent and capable than their 1970s counterparts, and more likely to report being "completely satisfied" with themselves.


Kids today, huh..

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Xeio » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:53 am UTC

I'd think self-esteem and confidence were good things to have. Arrogance not so much, but I don't see how these are one and the same like this article seems to imply.

God forbid people actually be happy with who they are... :roll:

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby JayDee » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:05 am UTC

The supposed self esteem crisis has been blamed on everything from thin fashion models to gender bias in the classroom, yet there's little evidence for a nationwide lack of low self esteem among girls or anyone else.
That is interesting to know.
Too much self-esteem (overconfidence) may be just as damaging as too little self-esteem. Twenge and other researchers believe that the decades of efforts to boost self-esteem may have created unrealistic expectations in today's youth.
I don't know. That seems to be contradicted by the earlier statement that teens are "completely satisfied" with themselves.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby existential_elevator » Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:39 am UTC

JayDee wrote:
Too much self-esteem (overconfidence) may be just as damaging as too little self-esteem. Twenge and other researchers believe that the decades of efforts to boost self-esteem may have created unrealistic expectations in today's youth.
I don't know. That seems to be contradicted by the earlier statement that teens are "completely satisfied" with themselves.

I'm not sure if what they were trying to say is something like.. teens who might be considered to be under-performing in whatever areas generally don't see the need to improve, and think they're doing okay. And thus when they get into the real world, they are surprised to find things aren't quite so okay and/or are too belligerent to try to improve themselves? I'm reminded of a quote from my name is Earl: "Yeah, I'm going to be a guitarist when I leave school. I mean, I don't actually own a guitar, or know how to play one, but I can totally 5 star everything on Guitar Hero". I'm not sure if this was the kind of over-confident attitude they meant?
Because, like, obviously the unspoken flipside of that article is that the reporters seem to think that the kids don't have enough to be self confident about?
I'd imagine this would require further studies, though.

It's all a bit bemusing, really.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby psyck0 » Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:36 pm UTC

I've seen a scary documentary about self-esteem training for kids, and it really was SCARY how much they were praising themselves in self-esteem workshops at school and so on. An overinflated opinion of oneself is correlated quite well with criminality and psychopathy.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Chfan » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:02 pm UTC

I'm a teenager and I have incredibly low self-esteem. I don't really know of anyone who thinks of themself very highly...
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Mr. Beck » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:53 pm UTC

The Article wrote:n fact, according to the study's co-author, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University Jean Twenge, for today's youth "confidence has crossed over into overconfidence." Too much self-esteem (overconfidence) may be just as damaging as too little self-esteem.

The study shows that Teens feel good about themselves. Self-worth ?= arrogance. What I mean to say is that the study itself seemed to show no link between being "Completely satisfied" and "Overconfident". Twinge is just projecting his own views onto the data; self-worth in and of itself is usually a good thing, no? If he want to do science right, he would do more research and look for a link between confidence and damaging behavior before making such claims. It's not that I don't think he may be correct, it's juts that he does have to uphold the burden of proof.

Fun Fact: I actually have had dinner with the Benjamin Radford (the article's author) a few times. He's a very cool dude.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby MartianInvader » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:54 pm UTC

"Teens have higher self esteem than they used to. Some people say it's too much! Oh no!"

One could just as easily write an article about the exact same study that went: "Teens have higher self esteem than they used to. Some people say it's not enough, though! Oh no!"

Oh, the horrors and folly of using "some people say"!

This is a classic case of doing half a study and pretending it supports your opinion. Teens are more confident today than in the 70s. Okay. To back up the "teens are TOO confident" opinion, though, you'd need some sort of measure of how these confident teens are doing more poorly than their less confident counterparts.

You could look at grades, or average salary ten years later, or ANY other artificial measure of success, and if some sort of negative correlation pops up between confidence and success, then you've got something. But it looks like the study just says teens are more confident now than thirty years ago, which would be expected since we put more focus on developing self esteem than we used to.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Wiglaf » Sat Dec 06, 2008 6:14 pm UTC

And then there's the factor that these scores were self-reported. So all we can say is that teens more often claim to have higher self esteem in front of an interviewer. Which very well could have changed: a LOT has happened since 1975.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Jack Saladin » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:50 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:An overinflated opinion of oneself is correlated quite well with criminality and psychopathy.

... Seriously? You think high self esteem causes, or is even vaguely related to, psychopathy? Do you know what psychopathy is?

No, wait, that's a silly question. You clearly don't. I've also never, ever heard of any correlation (let alone causation) between high self esteem and "criminality".

Hmm, unless you were joking. In that case, ignore me.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby psyck0 » Sat Dec 06, 2008 11:58 pm UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-esteem
Wikipedia wrote:In contrast to old beliefs, recent research indicates that bullies act the way that they do because they suffer from unearned high self-esteem.

Violent criminals often describe themselves as superior to others - as special, elite persons who deserve preferential treatment. Many murders and assaults are committed in response to blows to self-esteem such as insults and humiliation. (To be sure, some perpetrators live in settings where insults threaten more than their opinions of themselves. Esteem and respect are linked to status in the social hierarchy, and to put someone down can have tangible and even life-threatening consequences

I first learned about this in abnormal psychology. It's not like being arrogant makes you a criminal, but people with ridiculously high self-esteem but no grounds for it are far more likely to be criminals or qualify as a psychopath (the person giving the lecture where I first learned this was a national expert on psychopathy that our professor brought in for us).

Here is an actual article, which you may not be able to read depending on your access to Elvisier.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby une see » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:34 am UTC

Yeah...I'm a teenager, and the majority of my friends have very low self-esteem. I'm not really sure where these findings came from. They almost completely contradict all my experiences as a teenager.

But even if they are accurate (which I doubt), I fail to see how it's a bad thing that teenagers actually like themselves now. How are these researchers even making the connection between "I feel good about myself" and "I deserve great things because I am great." I mean...really.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Malice » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:15 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:I first learned about this in abnormal psychology. It's not like being arrogant makes you a criminal, but people with ridiculously high self-esteem but no grounds for it are far more likely to be criminals or qualify as a psychopath (the person giving the lecture where I first learned this was a national expert on psychopathy that our professor brought in for us).


Actually, it's that criminals or psychopaths are far more likely to have ridiculously high self-esteem. Which is an entirely different statement. And is obviously true on the face of it, considering that criminals and psychopaths (interviewed in jail) are some of the least likely people to have grounds for high self-esteem.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Zak » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:20 am UTC

"Teen self esteem too high?"

"Economy too good?"

"Internet connections too fast?"
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby ^.* » Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:02 am UTC

Hmm so self esteem is bad, first time i hear that. Okay maybe if you think you are better than you are, you have less reason to improve yourself, and when you think you can fly and you can`t...
But honestly low self esteem surely has bigger drawbacks, if it`s low enough you won`t even try to do some things because you can`t and have less fun doing things(cause you fear to make mistakes).
Honestly why should the kids from 1970 define a standard for correct self esteem and everything above that is negative and i have to agree "some say" doesn`t say much.


Z.A.K wrote:"Internet connections too fast?"

Oh they are. As an example one or two weeks ago i bought a new hard drive with 1 TB. At the moment it`s mostly empty but naturally an empty hard drive creates an suction effect like an vacuum and tries to fill itself with data. A slow connection would limit this process but since i have 100mbit it won`t be long before i need even more space:/
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby psyck0 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:44 am UTC

^.* wrote:Hmm so self esteem is bad, first time i hear that. Okay maybe if you think you are better than you are, you have less reason to improve yourself, and when you think you can fly and you can`t...
But honestly low self esteem surely has bigger drawbacks, if it`s low enough you won`t even try to do some things because you can`t and have less fun doing things(cause you fear to make mistakes).
Honestly why should the kids from 1970 define a standard for correct self esteem and everything above that is negative and i have to agree "some say" doesn`t say much.

Classes that devote time specifically to affirming that every child is great and unique and wonderful, and that even if they make a mistake they are still perfect, are taking it too far. There are schools doing that. I really wish I remembered the documentary name for you guys.

Also, Malice, it goes both ways. It's a correlation. The correlation is stronger in one direction, perhaps, but it goes both ways. They obviously haven't proven causality, because it's not like you can easily or ethically induce personality traits in people.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Lycur » Sun Dec 07, 2008 3:26 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:Also, Malice, it goes both ways. It's a correlation. The correlation is stronger in one direction, perhaps, but it goes both ways. They obviously haven't proven causality, because it's not like you can easily or ethically induce personality traits in people.


That's only true in tautological sense. If you select people inclined to criminal behaviour and then observe within this subset a high instance of unjustified self-confidence that doesn't imply, in any meaningful way*, that you'll find a high instance of criminal behaviour in people with unjustifed high self-confidence. Even beyond that, correlation doesn't imply causation. It fails to provide evidence against causation, and you might theorize a causitive relationship to explain the correlation, but it's not actually evidenced by the correlation.

*ok, well actually trivially it does mean you'll find a higher instance of criminal behaviour in people with unjustifed high self-confidence. It's simply that thanks to the difference in the population size of the set of (identifiably) criminally inclined people and the set of all people the difference may well be so small as to be meaningless.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby psyck0 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:36 am UTC

I specifically stated that correlation doesn't imply causation. Nevertheless, for those prone to overinflated self-esteem and criminality, isn't it conceivable that inducing it could be a bad thing?

Besides, this focus on self-esteem is setting kids up to fail. They keep being told by their teachers that they're so wonderful and special and then they fail a test or get in trouble or whatever. They think they're such hot shit so they try to blame it on anything but their own failure to prepare properly or poor decision, etc. I'm not saying that we should beat them down, but telling every kid that they are wonderful and special without them having to do anything to earn the praise is a bad idea. They feel entitled to it after a while.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby william » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:40 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:I specifically stated that correlation doesn't imply causation. Nevertheless, for those prone to overinflated self-esteem and criminality, isn't it conceivable that inducing it could be a bad thing?

Do we actually have evidence of any, I mean any evidence that high self-esteem leads to criminality?
Besides, this focus on self-esteem is setting kids up to fail. They keep being told by their teachers that they're so wonderful and special and then they fail a test or get in trouble or whatever. They think they're such hot shit so they try to blame it on anything but their own failure to prepare properly or poor decision, etc. I'm not saying that we should beat them down, but telling every kid that they are wonderful and special without them having to do anything to earn the praise is a bad idea. They feel entitled to it after a while.

Better they learn to fail than they never try because they assume they will. Yes, that sounds lame, but it's true, dammit.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Lycur » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:55 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:I specifically stated that correlation doesn't imply causation.


Yes, and then you preceeded to interpret the result as if a causative relationship existed. In fact, one may well exist, but that's still remains an assumption and one you haven't done anything to validate.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:15 am UTC

william wrote:Better they learn to fail than they never try because they assume they will. Yes, that sounds lame, but it's true, dammit.

I'm not so sure the problem with high self esteem is so much that they have unrealistic expectations so much as they are less inclined to interpret failure as an actual detriment to them. If you fail on a test or just doing generally poorly in a class, you should feel like shit and work harder to succeed, not be secure with yourself as you are and level down a class and pretend like your failure is inconsequential.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby smw543 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:If you fail on a test or just doing generally poorly in a class, you should feel like shit and work harder to succeed, not be secure with yourself as you are and level down a class and pretend like your failure is inconsequential.
Or worse, become convinced that that the failure was not your own. Perhaps the test was faulty, or you weren't taught properly; it couldn't possibly be that you lack the aptitude...

I always hated it when people told me I could do anything I wanted when I grew up. Only a few people (they happened to be particularly intelligent people whom I admired) were honest; they told me that, because I was very smart, I could do many great things that the other kids couldn't, but that there were also things the other kids were better at due to other abilities in which I was lacking. I understood that I had the potential to be a lawyer or a doctor, but probably not a teacher (I often lack the patience) or an athlete (I'm in good shape, but, at an awkward 5'9'', the only sport I have an even close to "ideal build" for is shuffleboard.) Thus, I was confident, but not arrogant. I think that's what we should be teaching our kids: everybody has things they're good at (to promote self-esteem) but nobody is perfect (it's good to be a little bit humble.)

Per the whole causality issue, it is *conceivable that promoting ridiculously high self-esteem can cause those problems, especially if it's being drilled in from a very young age, when the mind is still malleable. It's hard to say of course; in part, it also brings in the nature vs nurture issue of to what extent criminals are born rather than made. After all, some people are genetically predisposed for clinical (severe) depression, but that doesn't mean you won't develop it too if everyone tells you how worthless you are.

EDIT:*It is conceivable that their is a causal relationship.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Intercept » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:55 pm UTC

I think there's a huge difference between arrogance and self-esteem. I would agree arrogance is highly unhealthy, any time I think of someone I know who I would consider arrogant, it is usually not the best kind of person. People with high self-esteem? I don't see anything wrong with that. Also, to second what other people have said, I would disagree with the assertion that teenagers generally have too high of self-esteem.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby The Reaper » Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:54 pm UTC

smw543 wrote:I always hated it when people told me I could do anything I wanted when I grew up. Only a few people (they happened to be particularly intelligent people whom I admired) were honest; they told me that, because I was very smart, I could do many great things that the other kids couldn't, but that there were also things the other kids were better at due to other abilities in which I was lacking. I understood that I had the potential to be a lawyer or a doctor, but probably not a teacher (I often lack the patience) or an athlete (I'm in good shape, but, at an awkward 5'9'', the only sport I have an even close to "ideal build" for is shuffleboard.) Thus, I was confident, but not arrogant. I think that's what we should be teaching our kids: everybody has things they're good at (to promote self-esteem) but nobody is perfect (it's good to be a little bit humble.)

But you can indeed do anything. You just may not be good at it at all, and not get hired for it. I can play football, I just suck really hard at it. [if coaches actually had precise directions instead of assumed bullshit, ARGGG]

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Hackfleischkannibale » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:36 pm UTC

Some maybe related thing I've read: There's a study showing that people who are worse in a new subject than others are often also worse in predicting their qualities in that field than those others. I'll have to reread it (and find out the source, btw) because that doesn't entirely reflect my experience (most people who suck at maths are well aware of this...) but it would say that this is/would be indeed a problem of (over)-confidence.

Also: This report is just it, a report of more confidence. Maybe it's just that it's more approved by society than before to claim to have a high self esteem, or rather less approved to express a low one. I definitely believe that this is the case; although this doesn't mean it's the only or most important factor of the higher results.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby ^.* » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:25 pm UTC

"You can do anything, others will be much better at you than it and require less time to learn it but you can do it! ... Provided you don`t suck so much that the time needed to learn it exceeds you life span." That what I will teach my kid they won`t know if I try to encourage them or do the opposite. And i think it`s an accurate statement^^.

psyck0 wrote:Classes that devote time specifically to affirming that every child is great and unique and wonderful, and that even if they make a mistake they are still perfect, are taking it too far. There are schools doing that. I really wish I remembered the documentary name for you guys.

There are really classes doing that? Personally I think a better way to get self esteem is doing things you are good at (though if you aren`t good at anything it won`t work.). Just telling someone that he is great, sounds like it would lead to what they described as fragile high self esteem (in the"The Fragility of Self-Esteem" linked at the bottom of the other article).

Actually an unrealistic view of your abtilities should regulate itself. It`s an simple conclusion: 1.I failed and I honestly tried. 2.Other succeded so it wasn`t undoable. => The only conclusion is that I`m worse at than i thought. Everyone should be able to come to such an simple conclusion, shouldn`t they? Though that assumes that you are able to admit it and don`t make up excuses.

Anyway i think the article was quite vague. To say that they are quite satisfied with themselves can just mean that they aren`t emo and spend their time pondering about their inadequacies and not that they say: "I`m Mike the second son of God, worship me puny mortals". I would like to know the question asked.
I don`t know how confident they were 1970. Nor do i know at which point some people consider self esteem as to high.
And as others already said the people i come in contact with normally don`t have unusual high self esteem. (but it isn`t a study made in my country anyway.)
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:12 pm UTC

There are other articles and studies that suggest self-esteem isn't doing us a whole lot of good, like this one about how American's have much more confidence in their math skills then Koreans despite being much worse at the subject. This isn't really a matter of arrogance, it's an inflated belief in one's own abilities which is inevitable whenever someone is affirmed without any demonstration of talent. I would tend to agree that the only somewhat good way to raise someone's self esteem is by having them succeed at something they're actually good at, but I'm still not really convinced that is a terribly good idea- people still should be frank about their own abilities, which doesn't include putting more emphasis soley on the things you're good at.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby 4=5 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:13 pm UTC

Hackfleischkannibale wrote:Some maybe related thing I've read: There's a study showing that people who are worse in a new subject than others are often also worse in predicting their qualities in that field than those others. I'll have to reread it (and find out the source, btw) because that doesn't entirely reflect my experience (most people who suck at maths are well aware of this...)

that study was miss interpreted, what it showed it that everybody thinks that they are more normal than they are. The researchers that people who got high scores were also not very likely to predict how high they got but atributed that to a different cause so that their hypothesis could be supported.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Zak » Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:03 am UTC

Miss Interpereted?! Who's she?
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Intercept » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:30 am UTC

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Kachi » Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:58 am UTC

It sounds to me like the "study" was just making a tenuous connection to fundamental attribution error.

Self esteem is highly correlated to self efficacy (obviously). People tend to perform best when they slightly overestimate their abilities.

This kind of vague psychometric test really doesn't say much.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Hackfleischkannibale » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:10 pm UTC

4=5 wrote:that study was misinterpreted, what it showed it that everybody thinks that they are more normal than they are. The researchers that people who got high scores were also not very likely to predict how high they got but attributed that to a different cause so that their hypothesis could be supported.

Well... I think we're referring to different studies here. In the one I read (I think, I'm not sure but will reread it tomorrow) they tested people who would then guess how good they were, and the result was that they were mostly guessing that they'd made about 66%, while the standard result was more like 50%. The important point: Those who made the least points (about 16%) were still guessing like that, or higher. Also, the researchers showed the corrected tests, but without the resulting points, and asked once again for a guess. The worst ones corrected their first guess less that the better ones. But as said, I will have to read it again.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:49 pm UTC

If you ask me, kids in 1970 didn't have enough self-esteem.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby michaelandjimi » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:32 am UTC

Has it occurred to anybody that maybe the teenagers are on average better at things now than back then?

I mean, I have it on good authority that the final exams for high school now are roughly a bajillion times as hard as they were back then. I imagine that with the internet, teenagers are more likely to be well-informed, as well.

At the very least they should have done aptitude tests for correlation.
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby LeopoldBloom » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:44 am UTC

Twenge and other researchers believe that the decades of efforts to boost self-esteem may have created unrealistic expectations in today's youth.

We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."
Nuke the Gay Islamic Whales for Jesus!!!!!

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lesliesage
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby lesliesage » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:10 pm UTC

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aneeshm
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby aneeshm » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:21 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:
God forbid people actually be happy with who they are... :roll:



It is dissatisfaction with who you currently which is the cause of all self-improvement. The person who is moderately unhappy about their current status, no matter what it is, is the one who goes on to achieve something.

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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Kachi » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:10 am UTC

Not so. People can be content with who they are and still have ambitions to be better.

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Bubbles McCoy
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:26 am UTC

Yes, but when failure carries no downsides the motive to be better is diminished. The goal here is have people who try their absolute hardest, which generally precludes a comfort with reduced success.

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MartianInvader
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Re: Teen self esteem too high?

Postby MartianInvader » Fri Dec 12, 2008 4:26 pm UTC

Who's goal? Where?

My goal would be a country where people are happy and successful, not where they work themselves to death. And yes, you may need to work hard to be happy and successful, but if you work too hard you'll destroy yourself. There is a middle ground, but it's not "where people work their absolute hardest".
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!


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