The hidden work

This extremely high option of oneself is justified, since this generation will be remembered as the best ever … we are special. There is nothing wrong with knowing this. It is not vanity that this generation exhibits – it’s pride.*

Self-actualisation is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.**
Viktor Frankl

If we’re experiencing a narcissism epidemic, and there are those who believe we are, then it’s both a difficult and a dangerous place to be:

You can’t write — or live — if you imagine the whole world watching over your shoulder, waiting for you to screw up, ready to mock or vilify you. Which, thanks to the internet, it now is.^

One obvious danger is that you have to protect your brand, your self as product, and that means you are both making yourself fragile whilst also imprisoning the possibility of becoming:

Rather than thinking of personality as a “type” you fit into, view it as a continuum of behaviours and attitudes that is flexible, malleable, and based on context.^^

Viktor Frankl believed we have to find our purpose beyond ourselves, towards whom or which we live our lives.

There are many “skills” we might develop in this direction, but two in particular that are helpful are humility – having a true sense of self, but also, and more importantly, others – and towards this, disappearing, so that we can are able to notice more.*^

*Two student participants remarking on results from Jean Twenge‘s research on a narcissism epidemic, from Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement;
**Viktor Frankl, from Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement;
^Tim Kreider, from Austin Kleon’s blog: You can’t create under surveillance;
^^From Ben Hardy’s Personality Isn’t Permanent;
*^The hidden place is also where we can ponder the five elemental truths: Life is hard: You are to as special as you think; Your life is not about you; You are to in control; You are going to die.

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