Quote of the Week – I have an inferiority complex, but it’s not a very good one. Steven Wright
This quote happens to come from a stand-up comedian. Many of my Quotes of the Week will come from entertainers or song writers. Stand-up comics and singer/song writers are often very keen observers of how people tend to think and behave.
First of all, I happen to find this quote to be very funny. I also think that it digs pretty deeply into the issue of self-esteem. How people talk and act often provides clues about their self-esteem. And yet, it is not always clear whether we are drawing the right conclusions from what’s being said.
For example, there is plenty of support in the psychological literature to suggest that people who come across as arrogant frequently have LOW self-esteem. The arrogant demeanor can often be a way for someone to “hide” their insecurities when they are around other people.
Now, let’s look at Steven Wright’s one-liner:
- Would you conclude that Steven Wright is actually a very confident person? Does it take self-confidence to tell a joke that seems to be aimed inwardly, without being worried about the conclusions others might draw about you?
- What do you usually conclude about a person’s self-esteem when they tend to put themselves down?
- If the self-putdown is actually funny, could that be taken as a sign of humility (i.e., not taking one’s self too seriously)?
- And, where does “humility” fit into the equation? In your experience what behaviors tend to demonstrate humility?
- Have you ever been suspicious of someone who talks about his/her own humility?
This is tricky stuff. Perhaps this topic deserves more attention in a future blog!