We all have that person in our circle of friends who can easily be classified as “our biggest fan.” You know, the one who always cheers for you the loudest, shares pride in your accomplishments, and constantly reminds you, well, how awesome you are. What a way to put a smile on your face and lift your spirits.
My go-to girl for a pick me up is one of my best friends, Olivia. She never fails to tell me what a great job I am doing with my every endeavor. When I called to tell her I landed an internship at ABC, I could tell (from 900 miles away) she practically jumped for joy. When I ask her to read my blog pieces, I’m greeted with endless amounts of praise for my writing. When I’m feeling down or upset, I can count on Olivia to remind me she loves me and she’s here for me. In short, Olivia is my giant ego boost.
I know, I know: having an ego is unattractive and utterly unproductive…right? Wrong. I’m here to tell you that the individual in your group of friends who can be considered your biggest fan—your ego boost, your “Olivia”—is one of the keys to finding and achieving success in college and beyond.
Contrary to popular belief, having an ego can actually serve you well, so long as you know how to use it wisely and with caution. This is where your Olivia will come in, because the root of Olivia’s importance, and by extension, that of your ego, is to develop self-confidence.
In the stressful, confusing, busy and often daunting real world, having a friend (or friends) who can remind you of all of your best qualities will help you paint a clearer picture of the good person you are. Fostering a positive self-image lays the foundation of your ego.
The more you are able to see yourself in an affirmative light (witty, charming, calm, savvy, serious…whatever qualities you value most), the more confident you will feel. Confidence paves the way for success, because if you think you achieve something, you likely can, and even more likely will.
Olivia makes me feel good about myself. I believe her when she tells me I’m good at what I do. I trust her when she tells me I am a good person and have a good heart. I listen to her when she tells me, basically, that I am outstanding in every way. Because she has nurtured my ego, I am able to try new things that are out of my comfort zone, strive to attain goals that seem just out of my reach, and continually work at skills that need improvement. How? Using the confidence I have found (or, Olivia has found) in myself.
You may, at this point, be wondering how my head is not the size of a cannon ball right now with all of Olivia’s ego inflation. (I assure you, it is not.) I don’t think anyone who knows me would call me egotistic or overconfident—at least I hope not. This is because I have realized that having an ego has to be controlled; it has to be managed and kept in check. Sounds difficult, but surprise, surprise, your Olivia will take on this task, too.
Olivia’s way is very blunt. She is honest and straight with me and will plainly tell me she thinks I’m a cool nerd. (I don’t have the heart to break it to her that I’m really just a nerd.) If I accomplish something, she tells me she’s proud of me. If I doubt my ability to succeed, she tells me that I can do it.
But, at the same time, Olivia reminds me that I need to do good to feel good and be good; essentially, to use my ego in the most effective way possible. She inspires me to be a better person because she showed me that I have the inner capacity to do so.
Earlier, I mentioned that self-confidence is one key to success. “One” is the operative word in that sentence, because confidence only leads to success if it is backed by a strong work ethic, determination, and positive thoughts. Your ego will only benefit you if it fuels your motivation in a constructive way, not if it powers your competitiveness.
Rather than allowing your ego to push you to be the best at everything you do, let it help you do your personal best in all areas of your life. Rather than sitting back while your ego aimlessly boosts your self-confidence, have it boost yourself to new levels of success. Rather than use your ego to test yourself against others, put your confidence in a test of how strong, resilient, and capable you are and can be.
The best part about having an ego is that it never, or hardly ever, goes away. Yes, Olivia and I don’t know what’s in store for us in our future, but one thing I know is that she has fostered enough self-confidence in me that I believe I can keep doing greater things for myself, for the important people in my life (like her), and for the world.
If you can find your biggest fan, cultivate self-confidence, and realize your ego’s potential for personal improvement and success, then you will be able to continually (as Olivia says) “do you”—and make a difference.
I am by no means a psychology expert (neither is Olivia), but our friendship and experiences have taught me just how important my ego is to my success. For this, Liv, and so much else, thank you. Hugs and kisses from New Jersey.
Nicole Alliegro will be a junior at Ramapo College of New Jersey (Class of 2014). She is studying Communication Arts with a concentration in journalism and is editor of the campus newspaper. She will intern at WABC-TV in New York City in the fall. Aside from reading and writing, Nicole enjoys traveling, watching anything on Bravo and spending time with her family and friends.