I was in my early teens when I read my first self-help book. It was the classic ‘You Can Win‘ by Shiv Khera.
I don’t really remember how I got hold of the book (probably from the school library or maybe someone gifted it on my birthday) but one particular story left such a deep impression on my mind that I can still quote it.
Here it goes:
Scenario 1: Your friend calls you up in the morning and praises you to no end. “You’re the most generous, most talented, most humble person in my life. Thank you so much.”
You feel elated, the call makes you happy. You go to your office smiling with your chin up, pretty proud of yourself.
Scenario 2: The next day, your friend calls you in the morning only to scream at you. “You scoundrel, you don’t deserve my friendship, you’re a talentless piece of waste.”
You feel miserable. Your day is ruined. You keep regurgitating the dreaded phone call. You start questioning yourself.
In both these scenarios, your friend is controlling you, your day and your self-esteem.
This simple yet powerful example from the book clearly shows when our life is externally driven.
People who are internally driven have high self-esteem. They understand and identify with their own true self. They know where they stand.
If you’re an 8, then you’re an 8.
Someone praising you won’t magically make you a 10.
Someone hating or cursing you won’t make you any lesser than 8 either.
As Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Cover photo by Randy Jacob