Narcissism.

The word came from the Greek character Narcissus, who was unable to tear his gaze away from his own reflection in a pond.

It means you are self-centered, that you view yourself as talented, and that you crave admiration. Recent research has shown if you think you’re a narcissist… well.. you probably are.

When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound like the best personality trait. Who wants to be a narcissist?

However, like any personality trait, there are good things and bad things about narcissism.

Leadership

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 1) Leadership

Researchers have found that there’s an optimal amount of narcissism for leadership effectiveness. Narcissists often emerge as group leaders, in part because they are often extroverted.  Being too insecure is ineffective, but so is being so self-centered that you are noxious to everyone around you.

For Emily Grijalva, an Illinois psychology professor who was the lead author on a study of leadership and narcissism, we shouldn’t eliminate potential leaders if they have a larger ego. She says that leaders should have:

“a nice balance between having sufficient levels of self-confidence, but do not manifest the negative, anti-social aspects of narcissism that involve putting others down to feel good about themselves.”

2) Creativity

Narcissists are adept at convincing others on the merits and creativity of their ideas, in part due to their enthusiasm for their ideas. Like narcissism and leadership, there appears to be an optimal amount of narcissism in a group to generate creative ideas.

3) Happiness

Researchers have found that overt narcissists are often socially charming, while covert narcissists feel inferior to others and are sensitive to criticism. Overt narcissists are happier people as compared to covert narcissists.

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4) Higher Self-Esteem

Narcissists have higher self-esteem. For example, college students with a moderate amount of narcissism are more comfortable with their bodies and are less worried about other people looking at their bodies in a exercise setting. Feeling comfortable enough to exercise is important for life long health.

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5) Less Anxiety and Depression

Those with higher self esteem have less anxiety and less depression as well. This is thought to be because narcissists might have a larger amount of agency.

There are five reasons why having a little bit of narcissism might be a good thing. But extreme narcissism produces negative outcomes in many situations — including leadership, creativity, happiness, self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. When a challenge arises that threatens a narcissists’ self worth, they are often defensive and self-protective.

So, is being a narcissist a good thing or a bad thing? Well, like everything, it’s a balance.

Author

Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lone Mind. Apart from Lone Mind, he is a serial entrepreneur, and has founded multiple successful companies in different industries.

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