About three years ago my family and I were invited to my cousin’s wedding. It was a rural dinner party taking place in a beautiful big hall. At the table were my brothers, cousins, and friends of the newlyweds.
I was sitting next to my little brother, someone with one of the kindest hearts and great work ethics, whose level of self-esteem at the time, was definitely not at its highest… He had just failed to finish another of his 4 first years of different bachelor degrees and was practically forced to go and work in a factory.
I think we’d all have some confidence issues… Wouldn’t you?
During the dinner, me and my little brother had a discussion about what he wanted to do instead of working at the factory. He ruled out numerous options considering his presumed incapabilities, wiping them off the table using the expression: “Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.”
It pissed me off.
So because you don’t like Broccoli today, you never will?
Because that girl said “no” to your face, you can’t flirt? You’ll be single for the rest of your ‘self-knowing’ life, and should rather focus on your ‘flower arranging skills’?
No. I don’t believe Aristotle had “accept your weakness” or “accept defeat” in mind when he wrote down those words.
Instead, I believe that "if you do not know what the problem is, how can you possibly fix it. You must understand something before you can even think about beginning to improve it.”
This expression should not be an excuse to give up on yourself. Instead, the expression is an invitation for feedback in order to identify your working points.
It is ok to put yourself in a vulnerable position, communicate doubt, and request advice.
Your learning curve does not end at graduation!
Today, it is amazing to see how my brother’s self-esteem and positive mindset are improving at a high pace.
He’s performing a job he never even thought he could be doing, in which he’s leading others and iterating on processes. This is what gets him out of bed in the morning every day.
The key to his empowerment lies in gradually believing in himself, triggered by the people around him who do so as well.
My brother’s friend must have suspected there was a hard working, empathic young guy tucked away inside of my brother.
To my brother’s disbelief, this friend decided to offer my brother a chance at his company, filling in his previous role.
Along the way, he guided him on how to improve in certain areas, which has made my brother perform his job well today. On top of that, the recognition my brother has received from his growing impact is boosting his self-esteem.
As a result, his mindset is becoming significantly more positive, energizing and inspiring others along the way. Instead of asking “Why?”, he‘s starting to reply with “Why not?”
Me and my little brother
How YOU can be empowered today:
Talk to people in your close-knit circle. Ask them how you could do things better moving forward.
Only then you will get to know your working points. The points that will be the beginning of your wisdom.
Even though it might not always be easy to hear about your traits that need improvement, be open to any form of feedback. People will appreciate your eagerness to improve and will start believing in you along the way.