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Want to Succeed? Lower Your Self-Esteem

By Marty Nemko

In international comparisons, American student achievement ranks near- bottom yet their self-esteem is #1. Conversely, Asians score highest yet have the lowest self-esteem. In this country, African-American achievement is below average while their self-esteem is above-average. These aren't coincidences: high self-esteem takes the edge off feeling you need to work hard. If your self-esteem is moderate or lower, you're scared--you believe the only way you might succeed is by working hard. Indeed, most successful people I know begin many projects afraid they'll fail. Ironic that self-esteem, so often promulgated as the cure for low achievement, can cause it.

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