Tag Archives: Self-Esteem

Honor Your Past for a Healthy Self-Esteem

Take a moment and think about your childhood for a moment. Go back as far as you can remember. If you have pictures from your childhood, go over them.

How do you feel about your childhood? Were you taken good care of by your parents or caretakers? Were you treated well by your family and friends? Or have you been verbally or physically abused ?

Do those pictures make you happy? Does thinking about your childhood bring up good memories? Or does it make you sad, even angry? Do you remember only painful memories?

Your answers to those questions have a direct impact on your self-esteem as an adult. If you have a difficult time thinking about your childhood or going over your childhood pictures, your perception of your childhood is adversely affecting your self-esteem.

If you feel pain when thinking about your childhood, you have to make peace with that time of your life to improve your self-esteem.

Maybe, you were abused verbally or physically. Maybe, you were raised in poor conditions. Maybe, you made some mistakes as a child that make you feel ashamed and guilty as a grownup.

Unless you come to terms with your entire childhood, you’ll never enjoy a healthy self-esteem. Yes, that’s a lot of work that involves emotional pain, but the benefits of a healthy self-esteem are waiting for you on the other side if you’re willing to do that work.

Journaling is an excellent way of processing those childhood memories. Just go over those pictures and write down whatever comes up.

Feel those painful emotions. By triggering and processing those emotions, you’ll set yourself free from them. Keep doing it until you make peace with your entire childhood.

Making peace doesn’t mean being happy about what happened in those years. Making peace means not feeling shame, guilt, anger, sadness, or any other painful emotion anymore when you remember those memories.

You can use the letting go method to process those painful emotions whenever they are triggered. You can also use the sentence completion exercises in the audiobook The Psychology of High Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden.

Dr. Branden dedicated a complete chapter to childhood and teenage years with lots of sentence completion exercises. Those exercises take hours, but they are worth the effort. They help you making peace with your childhood.

If it is too hard to process those memories and emotions by yourself, you can always get help from a professional.

Once you’re done with your childhood, go ahead and process your teenage years as well. Our teenage years are times of hardship when we are trying to find our place in the world. We experiment a lot, and we make a lot of mistakes. As a result, we collect a lot of painful memories.

If you feel shame, guilt, anger, sadness, and similar unpleasant emotions about your teenage years, go ahead and process those years as well.

Our goal is to make complete peace with our past. Unresolved issues in our childhood and teenage years tend to haunt us in our adult lives as well. Making peace with our past isn’t the only component of a healthy self-esteem, but it’s a crucial part of it.

Never Apologize for Who You Are

You might be intelligent, good-looking, rich, or successful, but you might tend to hide those qualities. You might think that you’re humble and don’t like to show off.

Think about it. Are you really hiding your positive qualities out of humility? Or is there something else under your behavior?

  • Are you afraid of drawing unwanted attention?
  • Are you afraid of the jealousy of others?
  • Are you afraid of haters?
  • Are you afraid of people asking favors from you?
  • Are you afraid of people robbing you?
  • Do your qualities trigger shame and guilt in you?
  • Do you feel that you don’t deserve them?
  • If none of those feelings are present in your consciousness, what keeps you from sharing your qualities with the world?

You might think that you’re living a safe life by hiding your qualities, but you won’t enjoy the comfort of your comfort zone too long. As you stay in there, your comfort zone will shrink. You’ll feel trapped in an ever-shrinking space until an unexpected challenge knocks you out of it.

The opposite of hiding your qualities isn’t being proud of them. It is accepting them. How would you feel if you gave someone a gift and they didn’t accept it? You’d feel rejected, wouldn’t you? This is exactly how the universe feels when you feel afraid, embarrassed, or guilty about your qualities.

I remember the days when I felt guilty about letting other people wash my car. I felt bad for those people having to wash my car. It dawned on me much later that if I washed my car myself, those people would be left unemployed.

There’s a difference between accepting your qualities and showing them off. If you’re showing your qualities off in a way to make others feel inferior, you aren’t actually accepting them. That’s a sign of the superiority complex which is the flip side of the inferiority complex.

This isn’t about feeling proud because you are better than others. This is about feeling good because you know you’re good.

By accepting your qualities, you don’t make others feel bad. If they feel bad, that’s their choice. By acknowledging your qualities, you give the permission to others to own their qualities as well.

No one benefits if we all hide our greatness and settle to a mediocre life.

Owning your greatness will trigger shame, guilt, and fears. And some of those fears will materialize. You will draw unwanted attention, jealousy, and haters, but there’s a question you have to ask yourself.

Do you prefer dealing with shame, guilt, fear, unwanted attention, jealousy, and haters? Or do you prefer to live a mediocre life? That’s the choice you have to make.

Now is the time to own your qualities. Do you feel like you don’t have any? Look closer. Everybody has qualities that they can be grateful for. If you can’t find them, you are taking a lot of things for granted.

If you could read this post so far, you can read, you speak English, and you have access to the Internet. Those are some positive qualities that you can acknowledge, can’t you?

Now, it’s your turn! What are the qualities that you acknowledge in yourself?

Self-Esteem Isn’t What You Think It Is

I heard about the book the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem almost a decade ago. Unfortunately, I judged it by its name and cover and passed it.

The name and cover of the book struck me as old-fashioned back then. This was to be expected because the book was published in 1994.

I thought The Six Pillars would be another positive thinking book that would make me come up with affirmations about how I love myself and repeat them hundreds of times every day. I had enough of such self-help literature.

Branden was in his late seventies back then. He wasn’t promoting his work in the channels I was following. Back then, that was mostly blogs.

Unfortunately, I missed the work of Branden for ten years because of my ignorance, which is a significant loss when I look back.

Ten years later, I came across a piece by him in the book Meeting the Shadow. I was struck by this piece, which was taken from his book The Disowned Self. When I was searching for that book, I came across another book of him, Breaking Free.

Both books were out of print, and they didn’t have Kindle versions, which were a pity. Luckily, I found both of them in Open Library.

The subtitle of Breaking Free is How to Cut the Bonds of Childhood That Are Keeping You from Reaching Your Full Adult Potential.

The Disowned Self is about our attributes that we don’t accept, which can be an emotion that we suppress, memories that we don’t want to remember, and so on.

Those two books resonated with me so deeply that I had to read The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Before finishing The Six Pillars, I started an audio program by Branden called The Psychology of High Self-Esteem: A Life Changing Program for Personal Growth.

My motivation to start the audio program before finishing the book was that I could listen to it while I was doing simple manual tasks or while I was just relaxing on a couch. There’s no such luck with Nathaniel Branden.

Branden makes you work really hard. I thought I could finish his five-hour audio program in a weekend. That was a gross underestimation. I already spent more than five hours, and I’m not halfway through the program.

If you won’t take your time and make the effort to do the writing exercises, please stay away from the works of Branden. They won’t help you.

The real value in Branden’s work is in doing those writing exercises. They are simple but not easy. They make you face your past, confront the parts of your psyche and body you deny and don’t want to see. Yet, it is rejecting those parts of our lives that is sabotaging our self-esteem.

Accepting ourselves and our lives entirely boosts our self-esteem. This is exactly what I mean by the title of this post.

Self-esteem isn’t about bragging about the parts of ourselves that we already accept and like. It isn’t narcissism. On the contrary, it’s becoming aware of what we are trying to hide, even from ourselves, and then accepting and owning those parts.

Self-esteem isn’t about repeating affirmations that we don’t believe in hundreds of times a day. It’s about personal integrity, doing what we promise we do when we say we do it. It’s about doing the right thing even no one is watching.

It’s about going toward the proverbial eye of the storm, facing our childhood hurts, and setting our repressed emotions free. It’s about understanding why we sabotage ourselves and eliminating self-sabotage from our lives.

Breaking Free from Childhood Hurts

It doesn’t matter that we are adults now. We still perceive the world through the lenses that we have developed in our childhood. We behave according to the belief systems that we have formed in our childhood.

Our unprocessed psychological scars from our childhood affect the way we perceive the world and the way we function in the world. When unprocessed, those scars reduce our enjoyment of life, prevent us from giving 100% in our lives and reaching our full potential.

Processing Childhood Hurts

Nathaniel Branden, the author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, has a book called Breaking Free on this topic. The subtitle of the book is How to Cut the Bonds of Childhood that Are Keeping You from Reaching Your Full Adult Potential.

Unfortunately, the book is out of print and isn’t available on Kindle. That’s a pity because it’s a must-read for everybody who is interested in making the most of their lives, but you can borrow it from Open Library or buy a second-hand copy from Amazon.

Discovering Childhood Hurts

Branden was a psychotherapist. In Breaking Free, he shares 22 questions to investigate childhood hurts.

The book is easy to read but hard to process. It’s easy to read because it’s based on the dialogues that the questions incited in Branden’s group therapy sessions. I could easily relate to those dialogues. And that’s what makes the book hard to process.

Some of the questions and dialogues also touched my own childhood hurts. Those are the memories I had suppressed, but I had to live with their consequences, even in my adult life.

If you’re experiencing the same persistent problems over and over, engage in self-sabotaging behavior that you can’t explain, or running in circles, the chances are that you have unprocessed, emotional scars from your childhood.

Being confronted with those hurts stirs up some intense emotions. Feeling the intense emotions, staying with them, and letting them go is a part of the healing process.

Example Questions

Here are three example questions out of the 22 shared and discussed in the book.

  1. Did your parents encourage in you a fear of the world, a fear of other people? Or were you encouraged to face the world with an attitude of relaxed, confident benevolence? Or neither?
  2. Were you encouraged to be open in the expression of your emotions and desires? Or were your parents’ behavior and manner of treating you such as to make you fear emotional self-assertiveness and openness, or to regard it as inappropriate?
  3. Did your parents encourage you in the direction of having a healthy, affirmative attitude toward sex and toward your own body? Or a negative attitude? Or neither?

I suggest that you read each chapter and then reflect on the question and your childhood. You might want to ask for help from a professional if you are overwhelmed by this process.

The book is based on the discussions about the parent-child relationships, but once you’ve processed this book, you can go ahead and ask similar questions about other dominant figures in your childhood. Typical examples are nannies, babysitters, teachers, friends, other relatives, and so on.


Most of us carry psychological scars from our pasts. If unprocessed, those scars obscure our perception of the world, make us behave irrationally, lower our self-esteem, and keep us from reaching our full potential.

The first step to healing our psychological scars is to discover them and feel the pain that they cause. In his book Breaking Free, Nathaniel Branden shares 22 questions to discover our early childhood hurts so that we can heal them.

Breaking Free is a must read for everybody who’s committed to personal development and to realizing their full potential in life.

Personal Integrity: One of the Six Pillars of Self-Esteem

Nathaniel Branden mentions the practice of personal integrity as one of the six pillars of self-esteem in his book with the same title.

The other five pillars are the following.

  1. The Practice of Living Consciously
  2. The Practice of Self-Acceptance
  3. The Practice of Self-Responsibility
  4. The Practice of Self-Assertiveness
  5. The Practice of Living Purposefully

Branden emphasizes the word practice. It isn’t enough to know and accept these pillars. We have to practice them in our lives to increase our self-esteem.

The word practice also frees you from a dogmatic approach. Branden sees self-esteem as a continuum instead of a binary trait.

In other words, Branden doesn’t say that you either have it or not. He says that it’s something you improve as you practice it.

Branden has a sentence completion exercise that starts with the stem “If I had 5% more personal integrity, …” Now, you have to complete that sentence. I like that stem because it matches my philosophy of making baby steps toward your goal, which I call 1% improvements.

Never underestimate 5% or even 1% improvements. If you could improve your life 1% every day consistently for a year, you’d improve your life 38X in a single year.

The Emphasis on Personal

Branden emphasizes the word personal in the term personal integrity. That means you need to abide by your own value system.

You might have internalized the value system of your religion, your national identity, or any other school of thought. You might have added your own rules to that system or subtracted some from it. Or you might have come up with an entirely new set of rules.

In either case, to have have high personal integrity, your value system and your behavior must match each other. This is easier said than done. That’s why Branden calls it a practice.

A Congruent Value System

Before you even start practicing personal integrity, ask yourself the following question.

Do I have a congruent value system?

Are there rules in your value system that contradict each other? Don’t be too quick to jump on the conclusion that there aren’t. Observe your value system for a week.

Here’s an example. Imagine you have two rules in your value system among others. “Be honest” and “be nice to people.” It’s hard to find someone who would oppose these rules. But are these rules 100% compatible with each other?

What if a friend asks for your opinion about a business idea and you know that your honest opinion would hurt them. Will you be honest? Or will you be nice?

The Practice of Building a Congruent Value System

Building a congruent value system is a practice. It doesn’t happen overnight. First, we start with a set of rules that we have internalized from our families, the education system, and society in general.

As we go through our lives, we add and remove rules. The practice of building a congruent value system means to do that consciously, to be critical of our value system, and to remove the contradictions.

Moreover, we all have numerous subpersonalities in our psyche. Ignoring them only results in creating shadows. Then, those shadows take over our psyche in the most unexpected moments. Think about a “nice” person exploding over a triviality.

We also need to take into account the wants and needs of our subpersonalities when building our value system. Yes, most of the value systems imposed on us are prepared for saints, but most of us are mere humans.

Practicing Personal Integrity

Practicing personal integrity has two sides, an internal side and an external side.

The internal side requires self-discipline. What do you do when no one sees you? How do you deal with your cravings, urges, and temptations? Yes, we are all humans, and we all have needs. But how are they integrated into our value systems? And how well does our behavior reflect our value system?

The external side requires courage. Do you have the courage to speak your truth in front of an authority figure? Do you have the courage to say “No?” Do you have the courage to be open, transparent, and be brutally honest?

David Hawkins mentions 17 levels of consciousness in his book Power vs. Force. He groups these levels into two categories, levels of power and levels of force. The first level of power is courage.


Nathaniel Branden mentions six pillars of self-esteem in his book with the same title. One of these pillars is the practice of personal integrity.

Personal integrity means having a personal value system and your behavior being congruent with that value system.

Branden doesn’t see self-esteem or personal integrity as binary traits. They are traits that you practice and improve. You do that by building a congruent personal value system and by behaving in a way that reflects your value system.

Behaving by your personal value system requires self-discipline and courage.

As you practice personal integrity and the other five pillars, your self-esteem will improve, and so will your satisfaction from your life.

Overcoming Shyness

Throughout my life, I was a shy guy. In my early twenties, I acted like a cool guy to hide my shyness. I didn’t speak much and didn’t get involved a lot. I didn’t want people to see that I was nervous in social situations.

I never spoke up or participated in social life. Deep down, I wanted to speak up and get involved. I wanted to enjoy an exciting social life.

The World Wants You!

Shyness can come across as coldness, even arrogance. If you are shy, remember that there are people who want you to speak up and get involved. People want and need your social contribution. By holding yourself back, you are denying them your social contribution.

Moreover, you’re also denying yourself the rewards of active social life: a better career, better relationships, and an overall improvement in the quality of your life.

Everybody Is a Little Shy

Even great public speakers become overwhelmed when they have to address a stadium full of people. Critical conversations, business or political negotiations, and talking to a potential life partner make even the most confident people nervous.

That’s why the society rewards the people who dare to go out of their comfort zones and act in demanding social situations, no matter how overwhelmed they are.

Courage and Practice

Everybody has different confidence levels in different social situations, and everybody can improve their confidence levels in every social situation, including you.

If you want to succeed in any area of your life, including your social life, you need to adopt the growth mindset. Improving your social skills requires courage and practice.

Shoot for the Stars!

If you want to make a quantum leap, think big and shoot for the stars. For example, set yourself the goal that you’re going to speak in front of a stadium filled with people and huge spotlights directed to you.

It doesn’t matter how unrealistic this goal might sound to you. The bigger your goals are, the more motivated you’re going to feel, and the faster you’re going to make improvements.


Visualization is one of the least demanding exercises to overcome shyness. Visualize yourself in social situations that are outside of your comfort zone. Get into the feeling.

Your emotions don’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. Think about a vivid dream that made you feel intense emotions. The dream wasn’t real, but your feelings were.

Try to create a reality in your mind that triggers the feelings associated with shyness. You can get better at doing that with practice.

Once those feelings are triggered, stay with them without trying to change, escape, or suppress them. After a while, their intensity will decrease by themselves. This method of dealing with unpleasant feelings is called the Letting Go Method.

Visualize yourself handling the situation at hand courageously and confidently and succeeding at it. Then, go out to the field and actually, get involved in the situation that you’ve visualized. The more you visualize, the more confident you’ll feel in real life.

Graduated Exposure

Courage is not the lack of fear. If you had no fear, you wouldn’t need any courage. Courage is “feeling the fear, and doing it anyway,” as the name of the book by Susan Jeffers suggests.

Graduated exposure means getting out of your comfort zone to the extent you feel some fear, but not to the extent you feel panic, and doing that over and over.

Every time you get out of your comfort zone, you extend it a little. This is how you cultivate world-class courage in a single year.

The farther you go out of your comfort zone, the faster you’ll improve your confidence in social situations.

The opposite is also true. The more you stay in your comfort zone, the more it shrinks. This is called positive feedback loop.

Here’s a list of steps to practice graduated exposure.

  1. Make a list of activities that are out of your comfort zone, the longer the list, the better.
  2. Sort your list from the easiest to the most difficult.
  3. Visualize yourself doing the easiest activity.
  4. Go out to the field and do the easiest activity.
  5. Use the Letting Go Method to deal with the unpleasant feelings in the steps 3 and 4.
  6. Repeat the steps 3, 4, and 5 with the next activity in your list.
  7. Add new activities to your list regularly.

You can use your imagination to come up with your own original or derived exercises.

In the book Goodbye to Shy, Leil Lowndes offers 85 ideas and exercises to overcome shyness. My favorites are joining a club and traveling.

Join a Club

My favorite club is Toastmasters International, which is a public speaking club. It’s very affordable, friendly, and accessible to people with different levels of communication skills.

They have regular meetings and speech contests. That way you’ll be exposed to different activities that are out of your comfort zone but fun.

The idea is to make friends with stress, take a deep breath, and turn your fear into excitement. Think about it as a trip to the thrill rides in an amusement park.


My second favorite activity is to get out of my comfort zone when traveling. In vacation destinations, everybody is relaxed and want to have fun. They are more open to social interactions with strangers.

You can practice your social skills with people who offer services in restaurants, shopping malls, etc. For example, if you enjoy the service in a restaurant, take a minute to tell the staff that you appreciate their service, and what you like the most.

You could even find a job that requires a lot of social skills, such as becoming a salesperson.

Stay Away From Drugs and Alcohol

Whatever you do, do not rely on drugs or alcohol. That’s a recipe for disaster. If you really want to improve your social skills, approach each situation completely sober. Using prescribed medicine isn’t my favorite either.

In the past, I received a prescribed medicine to take my nervousness under control. I did well in a few presentations. However, one day, I was asked to do a speech without any prior notice. No preparation, no opportunity to take my medication.

I was nervous, but I did OK. Most of my colleagues didn’t even notice that I was nervous. On that day, I figured out that if I had to succeed, I had to rely on my internal resources, my inner power. I didn’t need anything external. That holds for you and everybody on this planet.

Fear vs. Excitement

Your body registers the fear and excitement the same way. If your mind feels positive about what’s about to happen, you feel excitement. If it feels negative, you feel fear.

Whenever you feel fear, make a decision to feel good about what you’re about to experience. That way, you’ll turn fear into excitement.

Don’t try to suppress the stress. Stress is your body’s response to support you in a critical situation. Use it as a fuel. Get empowered by it.

Don’t Hide Your Nervousness

A good deal of your social anxiety comes from your fear of others noticing your nervousness. Trying to hide your nervousness intensifies your anxiety.

Let that fear go. Let people see that you’re nervous. So what?

Imagine you’re listening to a public speech. Which one is more exciting to listen to? A speaker that is so comfortable that they’re almost going to fall asleep? Or a speaker that is speaking intensely because of their nervousness?


Immersion is the opposite of graduated exposure. It’s jumping into the deep end of the pool. That way, you’ll experience the worst that can happen. Once you deal with that and get over it, you can deal with any situation.

If you want to get over your shyness and social anxiety as soon as possible, pick the scariest activity in your list, and do it.

One Last Word

You can learn a lot about shyness and anxiety from books and articles, but the only way to overcome it is to go out of your comfort zone regularly and practice your skills in challenging social situations over and over.

The books and articles provide only guidance. It’s up to you to do the work and apply those ideas in real life!

Bonus Tips

  • Imagine, everybody out there will be friendly, because they are!
  • Find yourself a hyper-social buddy and hang out with them. Model them, learn from them. Make this a competition. Try to be even more social than them.


Overcoming your shyness and social anxiety requires changing your mindset and practicing in the real world.

You need to become aware of your limiting beliefs such as “I should hide my nervousness,” and replace them with empowering beliefs such as “it’s OK that people notice my nervousness. It shows that I care.”

When it comes to practice, you have two choices, graduated exposure and immersion. In graduated exposure, you get out of your comfort zone one step at a time. In immersion, you face your greatest fear right away.

Whatever approach you choose, remember that the only difference between fear and excitement is your attitude. You can switch from fear to excitement just by switching your attitude from negative to positive.

Personal Development Can Be Detrimental to Your Self-Esteem

And this is what to do about it.

We, personal development enthusiasts, are usually very harsh on ourselves. We set very high goals. We are never satisfied with our progress. We are critical of ourselves, finding flaws in ourselves and in our lives. Once we fail to achieve our audacious goals, we ignore the progress we made and we get disappointed with ourselves. All of that robs us from our self-esteem.

On the other hand, you might come across people that aren’t interested in improving themselves at all. They don’t even think about it. Yet, they seem happy and content with their lives and they are very confident.

Does that mean that we should quit improving ourselves and our lives altogether?

No, not at all! We don’t need to quit personal development in order to have high self-esteem. It means that we should adjust our methods of personal development. This post is exactly about how to do that.

Acknowledge Yourself

We humans are hardwired for negativity. Negativity allowed our ancestors to survive in the savanna. Our ancestors that found lions cute were eliminated from the gene pool.

I came across multiple resources that explain that five positive stimuli is needed to offset the effects of a negative stimulus. The latest resource that I came across was an audiobook called the Art of Conflict Management by Prof. Michael Dues (available at audible.com).

The 5-to-1 ratio has applications everywhere human relationships are involved. If you are in a relationship with someone, you’re better off offering five positive pieces of feedback for every negative or critical piece of feedback you offer. This includes your life partner, your family, your colleagues, your dog, and your cat, literally every relationship you have.

If the 5-to-1 ratio is so important and it applies to all the relationships in your life, why not apply this rule to the relationship with yourself as well? There’s no reason not to do that and it’s the key to a healthy self-esteem. That means you need to find five positive things about yourself and your life for every negative thing you come up with.

Find five positive things about yourself and your life for every negative thing you come up with.

Moreover, when you come up with a negative thing about yourself, immediately change it into a point of improvement. Don’t say “I suck at playing piano.” Formulate it as “how can I improve my piano playing skills?”


Finding five positive things about yourself and your life involves gratitude as well. Do you think taking everything granted means self-esteem? No, not at all. Taking everything granted means arrogance, not high self-esteem. Don’t confuse the two.

Daily Journaling Practice

I have already written about my single page, daily journaling practice. It involves my life goals, an evaluation of the day, and an overview of the next day. The evaluation of the day includes positives and points of improvement.

The positives include my own achievements as well as positive events that happened in that day. In other words, it includes acknowledging myself as well as gratitude.

Up until now, I haven’t paid much attention to the ratio between the positives and the points of improvements. On some days, I have a lot of positives without any POI’s. On other days, I have a lot of POI’s without any positives. Yet on other days, they are more or less balanced.

From now on, I’m going to make a conscious effort to have at least five positives and only one POI on my daily evaluation. I recommend you do the same. That way you’ll rewire your brain for positivity and high self-esteem and still be able to improve yourself.

“I don’t have five positive things happening in my life every day.”

If that’s how you are thinking, let me break the news. You do! You can read (or listen to) this post, that’s one. You have access to the Internet, that’s two. You can breathe. That means you’re still alive, that’s three. You are interested in personal development, that’s four. You have the time to read this post, that’s five.

See? you already have your daily five for today. Now, go ahead and repeat that every day! Look carefully and you will find at least five great things about yourself and your life every day.

Set Your Goals in Your Stretch Zone, Not in Your Panic Zone

Setting your goals way out of your comfort zone is another way personal development enthusiasts are robbing themselves from self-esteem. That doesn’t mean staying in your comfort zone all the time. That means setting your goals slightly out of your comfort zone, so that you can achieve them with some effort, yet they are challenging enough to engage you and help you grow.

Setting your goals way out of your comfort zone will result in panic. Setting your goals in your comfort zone will result in boredom. Ideally, you might want to avoid both extremes and set your goals somewhere in between, in a zone called stretch zone. I have already discussed this concept in a post titled the Secret to Happiness, so I’m not going to go into detail here.


You neither have to sacrifice your personal development efforts nor your self-esteem for each other. The perfect balance between both can be found in the 5-to-1 ratio and by setting your goals in your stretch zone.