100 Things I wish my Dad had taught me – episode 3 “True self worth stems from within.”

It feels bad for me to load this one on my dad. How would he ever know this? His inside was a mess. In fact, the mere survival of life was a miracle for him given his story. But I still would love to have heard it at some stage during my early years.

The one great thing about not knowing this fact that true self-worth stems from within is that I tried really hard at everything I did. Whether it was sport or a business or whatever, I really really gave it my all. Or so I thought.

Wannabe or try hard people are some of the most unlikable people you will ever meet. They are trying to gain their self respect by achieving things but really deep inside they don’t feel worthy. That makes them rather aggressive. It also means that they are selfish and self obsessed when it comes to achievement. In no area of life did this reveal itself to me more than in relationships with women.

So there is one story I have said goes back long before Moses was born. I was 15 years old and through some strange circumstance met with Anne. And went to a very prestigious private school called plc in Hawthorne. I went to a grunge school built near a tip called Greythorne high school. And wore school uniform and looked $1 million, I wore rough and tumble secondhand clothes and looked like I just finished working in of mine. I was extremely aware of the intellectual differences between us. All of this simply reflects that I had very little self-worth. Because in reality Anne and I had a lot in common, but that was not how it felt to me. The point here was that I really wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend with Anne but I made the intrinsic mistake of putting her up on a pedestal or putting me down in a trench and therefore, all that existed between us was me trying hard, which as I’ve said before is a most unlikable quality.

Four years later, now with driving license and a surfboard on the roof of my car, with a job and high school behind me, I reconnected with Anne. In this new dynamic there were things about me she could admire including my surfing prowess and my passion for the outdoors and her academic achievements, were less important. She was now at university having achieved incredibly high scores in her matriculation exams, I had failed those exams. I was finding my feet outside of the academic world and was beginning to get the feeling that my life and my love of nature was more aligned with who I was.

We dated for 3 to 6 months, during which time we went surfing and visited her parents beach house and all looked as if it was going to progress smoothly. But and could see that I had sold myself short in my career. She was picturing the future with a man earning a pathetic salary spending most of his time surfing and that wasn’t going to meet her standards. With a loving heart and suggested that I should apply to university to be accepted as a mature age student. She filled out 20 different applications to universities throughout Australia. We sent those applications and continued surfing and enjoying life between her study and my sporting passion. But one night, as we were preparing for our first sexual encounter, and vomited all over the back of my car and I rushed her home, to the arms of her parents and I was never to see Anne again.

One of those applications was approved. It changed the course and direction of my entire life. NZ self-worth guided my life into a new potential. I think I went to university to make everybody else in the class look smart. I still didn’t know it at that time but I had severe dyslexia and studying from books was an entire nightmare. The point here is that I had put Anne on a pedestal at first, then taken her off the pedestal to feel equal and finally benefited from a relationship with her that change the course of my life.

I also found something academically that I loved, environmental protection. In this field I put nobody on a pedestal. I felt empowered and capable of standing my own ground and all I wanted to do was talk about air-pollution control and the environment. When we find our passion our true self-worth reveals itself. When we find our passion we take people off pedestals and simply ask how they can help us fulfil our passion. When we find our passion study becomes easy, doors open, life seems to flow like a river in a flood. From that day when I started university, struggling with an IQ in single digits, I learnt to use my wits, my intuition, my abilities to achieve incredibly good results academically as well as materially. We all have a zone in which our true self-worth Blossoms and we all have many zones in which our true self-worth is in the rubbish.

It is a mistake to think that’s self-worth is a constant across all aspects of life. When we are working on something we really love our true self-worth grows, and when we are working on something we do not love and I’m not necessarily good at, we put people on pedestals and we feel like shit.

This all leads to some very important awareness. Most trees have many branches and we human beings have many branches to our life as well. We have relationships and sport and health and work and money and many more things. Not all of those things do we have self-worth. And so, in some areas of life we use substitutes for self-worth. I as an example, let’s use money. Let’s say you are working for a business and you have put your bass on a pedestal because you don’t feel very good at your job. In another language that means you do not love what you do or do what you love, and therefore you are in this environment a wannabe. That feeling, of being vulnerable to somebody by putting them up on a pedestal is really difficult to deal with because it’s aligned with low self-worth. Now, nobody is going to walk around happy with low self-worth so you would find something to do that makes you feel good. And example might be taking up triathlon, renovating a house, birthing children. You will find something where you have high self-worth to compensate for this shitty environment at work.

So we have mini branches to our life and we can find something to do that we love to compensate for doing something we don’t feel good at and don’t love. And in doing this we can waste an enormous amount of life wishing we were somewhere else. But if we want to make money and we want that money to be on the high end of wealth, then we’re going to have to be in love with making it and not put people on pedestals around us because that’s a guarantee way of losing it. Remembering hear that money can be a substitute for true self-worth and you don’t have to look far in Bondi to see people using it for exactly that purpose.

There are people who get their self-worth from spending money, from demonstrating to the world that they have money, but sometimes these people are not as good at making it as they are at spending it. So then they will need to attach themselves to an income stream, typically called a relationship where that resource of money flows in and allows them to feel good about spending it. Whether this is good or bad is not important, as you will know it is both. However, substitute self-worth leaves a vacuum in the question of where is that individuals true self worth?

If we except that we play sport quite often to boost our self esteem, we spend money and buy houses to demonstrate self-worth, we choose our car our clothing and many other things to give us a feeling of self worth and can therefore accept that much of our life is spent as a wannabe self-worth, then we also would be wise to except that all of this cannot replace true self worth. As long as we know these decorations are substitutes they are harmless and fantastic but the minute they cause us to put people on pedestals we lose our humanity because we can no longer deal with that person eye to eye.

Let’s say you go to work and you put your bass on a pedestal because that person provides access to you to wealth. You can even use an example of a customer who has a large share of your company business. It is easy to put that person on a pedestal, lowering your own self-worth, because they are the direct line of access to your ambition for wealth which is, in this instance, really important as a substitute for you for self-worth. Now, the complication is that your humanity has gone out the window, your sense of true self is gone from your work life, because once you have put your bass on a pedestal you have unconsciously diminished yourself.

Any person that you perceive you cannot live without you have placed on a pedestal in some aspect of your life. Sometimes we even called this pedestal laugh. But a pedestal is not love, it is infatuation and if we express for infatuation we repressed its opposite and turn the negative torch in on ourselves diminishing ourselves. When we put people on pedestals they can fall, and they do. When we put people on pedestals we lower our own self worth and raise theirs. When we think putting somebody on a pedestal is love we make a big error.

The reason I wish my dad had told me that true self-worth stems from within is that it would have made some of my interactions with people much more humane and I would not have had to feel like shit in order to gain success. This may not resonate with you. My life started from very humble beginnings and so self-worth has always been under pressure for me. Even in my travels to the Himalayas at first I felt like an impostor. This impostor syndrome, widely understood psychological term, means that even though you are there doing exactly what everybody else is doing you don’t feel as if you deserve to be there.

I graduated after two years doing an MBA at the University of New South Wales. During the course of this two year full-time extravaganza I wrestled with the quality control of the examination process. Do University was obsessed with graduating as many women as possible, and maintaining its status as the eighth top MBA school in the world. When graduation day arrived and my 120 colleagues lined up to received their masters degree in business I didn’t attend. I honestly felt like a total impostor. I really didn’t feel that what I had done over those two years qualified me in anyway as a master of anything. I was punished severely for this attitude. My photo does not appear in the yearbook of my graduation. But I have never seen myself as an academic purist, what I stood for in the university was practical, real, business acumen, and what the university was producing were a bunch of people who knew theory. Ultimately all this is just bullshit but, it demonstrates how the impostor syndrome works and justifies itself.

True self-worth stems from within. You find that self-worth when you find your passion, purpose, and the work all the sport that you love. When we are wannabe people, we are operating in areas where our self-worth has been diminished by ourselves. When we do what we love and love what we do our self-worth is at its highest. When we do things with true self-worth we do them without the need for a substitute. The activity becomes its own reward. When we do things with low self-worth we place people on pedestals, we seek substitutes as rewards, we try to replace true self-worth with cosmetic substitute self-worth and this is a blessing because without this substitute we would self sabotage ourselves into oblivion.

The human spirit works hand-in-hand with money. They are not antagonistic to each other. Our true self-worth, the human spirit, creates wealth and feels like it deserves every cent. And that is our true nature alive and well.

this is the end of this the third of 100 things I wish my Dad had taught me.

With Spirit,


    Subscribe to my newsletter and be inspired