Human beings are all driven by insecurities. Don’t be so defensive, you are too.

Human beings are driven by insecurities. Rebecca and I discussed it in a Context.TV video last year; having now referenced it in many articles on this website, I wanted to expand on it a bit here.

An insecurity is defined as the lack of confidence or assurance; self-doubt. Insecurities can be rooted in causes that touch on:

  • Infancy vs Adulthood: I’ve alluded to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Nurture vs Nature framework; some insecurities stem from a childhood cause (not having a parent around or overcoming a speech impediment) while others are due to things that affected you in your adulthood (constantly being overlooked for an opportunity – be it a new initiative, promotion, or title, for example).
  • Healthy (good) vs Unhealthy (bad): Wanting to have an impact and leave a legacy (good) vs chasing money to buy material objects to show off your success (bad).
  • Conscious vs Subconscious: You may be very much conscious of the source or it may be buried in your subconscious.
  • Tangible (Material) vs Intangible: You may be insecure because of your clothing (a material/tangible source) or your accent (which while intangible, something that you sense is audible every time you are in public).
  • Descriptive vs Prescriptive: You can have an insecurity for something you did in the past (i.e. Mel Gibson’s anti-semitic rant which always come back to haunt him) or from something you have not done/accomplished and which you feel holds you back (i.e. a lack of college degree).
  • Projected vs Innate: Some insecurities are due to how others perceive you (at the onset of my career, people would mistake my ambition with a lack of loyalty, which is one reason perhaps why I over-compensated with so much loyalty to others); others may be innate (a feeling of inferiority that is innate and due to something that happened to you).
  • Self vs Others: One may be insecure due to something internally they are not comfortable with (i.e. hair loss) while others may feel insecure relative to others (height).
  • Direct vs Indirect: If you don’t get a promotion, that can directly explain why you feel inadequate at work; but if your spouse leaves you, it may explain why you feel less than good at work indirectly.
  • The list goes on and on.

Sources of insecurities can come from;

  • Insecurity driven by perfectionism;
  • Lack of confidence because of social anxiety;
  • Insecurity based on recent failure or rejection.

When I discuss insecurities with others, they get very defensive. This is why I found it easier to discuss insecurities by talking about my own (I’ve found a bit of reverse psychology to be highly effective).

Insecurities are just one of the sources that explain our drive, but since insecurities are rooted in self-doubt, they can hinder your development.

No one will ever say I lack confidence, but I don’t have any shame in admitting I have many insecurities that I have overcome over the years, and turned them as a source of energy and motivation.

Once your can identify the sources thereof, your awareness of their negative influences can actually be channeled to improve your life in a positive manner.

As I am working on breaking down my long essays into smaller, manageable articles, I’ll follow up with a great example, and how it shaped my career. Stand by. In the meantime, watch Rebecca and I discuss it.