Commentary on “The Success Indicator” by MaryEllen Tribby


. The chart above is a chart that I have recently seen reblogged on a couple of blogs I follow

Part of Love–part of what distinguishes becoming a more genuinely Loving human being from becoming merely a kinder and nicer and warmer human being (which is still a very good goal!)–is that a genuinely loving human being tends to be a deep thinking human being, one who is able to discern pure from impure, good from bad, healthy from unhealthy, necessary pain from unnecessary pain, fluff and fad from what is perennial and substantive.  I look at Love as a deeper version of kindness & compassion–Kindness & Compassion with some real roots and reliability.

Charts such as the one above (and the one that follows) are aplenty on the internet–basically they’re charts that try to distinguish what is psychologically healthy from what is psychologically unhealthy.  The titles may be different–“Ego versus the Soul” “Successful versus Unsuccessful People” et cetera–but the intent is not.  The intent is to force the viewer/reader to choose, to pick a side, to declare oneself.  Basically these charts are the grown-up version of the classic Highlights for Children “Goofus & Gallant” cartoons.

Having said that, I tend to take these sorts of charts with a grain of salt.  Perhaps more than a grain of salt.  Perhaps a shaker of salt.  I like the idea behind such charts: I think that showing two alternate poles or extremes of possibility and encouraging the viewer or reader to consider where he or she wants to align him-/herself is a good thing; I think it can stimulate thinking and promote growth.

But I always think such charts require some skepticism, some critical thinking.

The first change I would make to the chart would be to the title:


Clearly “Ego-Driven People” (or “Unsuccessful People”) are not very psychologically healthy people, displaying traits of narcissism, as well as being fairly superficial and bossy.

I think what the author of the chart is really trying to get at is a non-ego-driven definition of success, or a vision of success that includes more than the ego.  Soul, perhaps.

There are other changes I would make as well.  Personally I think some successful Non-Ego-Driven People (NonEDPs) watch TV; it’s just a matter of what they watch and how much TV they watch.  I suspect that NonEDPs typically watch TV to learn or to be informed, whereas EDPs typically watch TV to zone out or be titillated (or not to be bored).

I also think that simply “reading every day” is not what contributes to helping a person become successful; I think it’s a matter of being selective about what one reads–choosing or prioritizing reading something of substance every day. Reading junk and drivel is not likely to help a person become a successful or Non-Ego-Driven Person; but reading spiritual and religious and growth-oriented books, reading poetry and philosophy and psychology may well.  Reading books by C. S. Lewis, Nietzsche, Rilke, Krishnamurti, M. Scott Peck, Erich Fromm, David Schnarch, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Stephen Covey, Viktor Frankl, Ken Wilber, Thoreau, Emerson, Jacob Needleman, Thomas Merton, Simone Weil, Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, and the like, will likely do much to help one become much more of a Non-Ego-Driven Person

I also think that successful people/Non-EDPs never criticize, rather I think that they criticize constructively and judiciously, and that they tend naturally to surround that criticism with affirmation, validation, and encouragement, something around a 4:1 ratio of encouragement and positivity to criticism.  And I think that EDPs (Ego-Driven [or “unsuccessful”] People) tend to be harsh and off-putting in their criticism, as well as tending to be general in their criticism, rather than specific and constructive.

What do you think? Anything (or anything else) you would change in either of the charts?


About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in "The Success Indicator", Critical Thinking, Criticism, Luke 6:32-35, MaryEllen Tribby, Matthew 5:43-48, Mental Health, The Examined Life, Truth, Waking Up, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Commentary on “The Success Indicator” by MaryEllen Tribby

  1. I agree…it is not a matter of success or failure…that is relative and a matter of perspective. Your new titling is a better way to frame it. I might also call it Open vs. Closed. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: Successful and Unsuccessful People by MaryEllen Tribby, copyright by MetEdge LLC | Nathan S. Gibson

  3. Pingback: Successful and Unsuccessful People by MaryEllen Tribby, copyright by MetEdge LLC | Take Initiative, have grit, creatively solve problems

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