When I use the definition from Psychology Today it looks like a lot of successful people could easily be categorized as narcissist or have tendencies.
This term narcissism has been thrown around a few times in my life about people I know, about loved ones and has come up in conversations about our commander in chief.
I'm not for or against Trump.
I’m not a licensed professional.
I’m not saying Trump is a narcissist.
I’m not saying you’re a narcissist.
What I’m saying is that the definition that gets thrown around is similar to traits of a High Performer.
Our biggest problem is that being a high performer is somehow has become not socially acceptable and considered not politically correct.
It’s causing cognitive dissonance in our actions and thus leaving us unsuccessful in taking the actions required to accomplishing our dreams and goals because we fear of being a the characteristics of what we’re being taught define a narcissist.
We are being taught to be weak. We are being taught that to be a high performer that something is wrong with you and that you’re a narcissist.
American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual (DSM-IV and V), a person suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder if he or she regularly exhibits most of the following characteristics:
(1) Has exaggerated sense of self-importance;
To be a high performer you have to have an inflated sense in yourself because you will be confronted with more dis-believers than believers.
(2) Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty;
People aren’t going to believe you if you don’t believe in yourself. Steve Jobs said it best when he said you have to be self -delusional and irrational about what you believe. It’s not believing what you see it’s seeing what you believe.
(3) Believes he is "special;"
You have to believe that you are limitless. When you stop trying to be liked and stop trying to please other people your abilities become limitless.
(3) Requires excessive admiration;
Most high performers like significance of their ideas and thus themselves. Name one who doesn’t love admiration? The great Tony Robbins says significance is one of the main drivers and motivations of people.
(4) Has a sense of entitlement;
That sense of entitlement is coming form a belief that hard work and problem solving is followed by some success and rewards. A high performer is certainly going to stake claim to what they believe is rightfully earned as there.
(5) Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends;
This is clearly in the eye of the critic. Most feel the actions we take are for the whole and the actions taken by someone else are largely for selfish reasons. Are the parts more important than the whole? Leadership sometimes sacrifices the parts for the survival of the whole.
(6) Lacks empathy
I get criticized for this in many conversations. Now on the internet we can find anyone who will sympathize no matter your position. There is a support group for everything and anyone. Too much empathy becomes enabling. A high performer knows that life is hard. The less you can feel bad for yourself the better your chances for success. This transfers in not buying into other’s emotions. Success in life boils down to our ability to control our emotions, get over our emotions fast and keep moving forward. This lack of self-empathy becomes a projection and can be viewed as a lack of empathy for others. Life is Hard!
(7) Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him;
Being driven by what one sees is not necessarily being envious. It provides a goal, road map and someone to model who has already been there and done that. A high performer and leader also leads by example and a high standard. A high performer needs to set a high standard as a leader so people follow. Thus, an outsider may think they want others to be envious, but what they want is for you follow them and support their ideas.
(8) Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes.
There needs to be a guardian at the gate. You have to have an open mind, but not too open. When someone is speaking contrary to the path you’re on it’s tough to be patient and listen. There are many naysayers on a high performers pursuit. If you allow these naysayers to have an impact on you, you will stop your actions.
Other descriptions of narcissism include….
Excessive concern with material wealth and especially the show of wealth;
This is exactly what drives high performers. The pursuit of the unattainable. We have a culture that is shifting to demonizing wealth and the pursuit of wealth.
Aggressive responses to criticism;
This is a learned behavior to cope with many of the naysayers along the way. These naysayers drastically out way any positive feedback you will receive by taking the huge risks you’re willing to take that other’s are unwilling to even understand.
Hater’s will hate!
Belief that the rules and norms that apply to others don’t apply to them;
Self-delusional and irrational. A high performer has a go against the herd mentality. Just yesterday I was attending a Winter Wonderland exhibit. The line we encountered appeared long and time consuming. We sought out another solution. This idea that norms don’t apply usually leads to a problem being solved.
I have extensive training in Spiral Dynamics. The higher the evolution of the persons thought process the more they go against the grain, the more they push the envelope and the more they live by their own rules.
Disregard for or rejection of facts that don’t support their inflated self-image;
Ask Jobs, Gates, Musk, Branson about what would happened if they listened to facts? This go against the herd will lead others to believe they have an inflated self-image. Is this what it takes to be a problem solver? Problems aren’t solved among the herd. Problems are solved at the level of Gates, Jobs, Musk, etc.
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.
If we’re being taught that being a high performer is a narcissist where does that leave us? Confused, victimized and feeling guilty for what we want. We feel that if we go for the things we want, which is hard work and emotionally draining that we should feel guilty. Thus, we point the finger that high performers are victimizing us and they must be narcissist, since we are being taught to feel guilty about material wealth and for the actions that it takes to be successful!
By reading the definition of what a narcissists is and studying many High Performers there is a fine line between a narcissism, High Performance and being a Problem Solver. High Performers are the ones who advance society.
I'm not advocating to be a Narcissist. I'm giving you the traits that High Performers seem to express to get things done.
Does Narcissism = High Performance? Can High Performance people be misunderstood?