The New York Times reports that some psychologists believe we are raising a narcissistic generation.
The psychologists point to the love songs young people sing to themselves today. Instead of “we” and “us” the lyrics are studded with “I” and “me”, as in “I’m bringing sexy back” and “It’s blazin’, you watch me in amazement.” This raises a red flag: a self-centered attitude and narcissism blunts effective emotional intelligence and can get in the way of great performance.
This topic made me think about appreciative inquiry. Does it encourage narcissism, an inflated sense of self-importance and a preoccupation with self? Appreciative inquiry does focus attention away from the problems in one’s life onto what works.
But, in my experience, that is almost always in the context of other people: what works for me in the office, in the family and in other life relationships. It’s a “we” analysis. Though the idea of Appreciative Inquiry starts at the self, it also deliberately assesses where we are with perspective towards those we work with, live with and our other relationships.
And the process of selecting what works, at its foundation, also acknowledges that some other things don’t work. That’s the opposite of narcissism. The purpose of appreciative inquiry is to build on what works to become the best we can be in all aspects of life. This is profoundly different from what Rivers Cuomo claims in, “I’m the greatest man that ever lived.” This type of statement takes into no account the benefit of the community and support around us.
To read the Times story, click here. Remember to sign up for my weekly blog notice to see the topic for conversation!
Certified Personal and Executive Coach