“Who Is Derrick Bell And Why Is He Right?”

“Self-esteem is like a difficult-to-cultivate flower. It requires frequent nurturing that occurs when you keep your word and follow through on your promises.”

I receive a daily quotation from Brian Tracy which I find helpful and frequently thought-provoking. The one today was so startling, I just had to go, “Wow!” I had to find out more about the author, Derrick Bell.

Derrick Bell is an African-American, an author and lawyer who has had his integrity tested many times. According to Wikipedia, he was in the Justice Department in 1959 when he was challenged to quit the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for the (probably spurious) reason that it compromised his objectivity and judgement. He left the Justice Department. He went on to be a thorn in the side of every educational institution he worked for that racially and sexually discriminated overtly or covertly, including Harvard! He is arguably (and that’s a good word for it!) the most significant author and commentator on race and critical race theory challenging both liberal and conservative white thinking.

Now why am I interested in this man? Well, it was his arresting quote. This man has kept his word and has been prepared to make people uncomfortable and become extremely unpopular for what he believes in. He has high self-esteem – and he’s certainly highly influential.

Many of the clients I see lack self-esteem although they work and fret and worry about meeting deadlines. They don’t see that keeping promises to themselves are equally as important. A little thing (or is it?) like promising yourself some time off to enjoy a walk, eating smaller portions or playing with your children is deeply meaningful. The unconscious is listening and watching. It is an inner child. If you break your promises to a child, it loses trust and confidence in you. If you break promises to yourself you lose trust and confidence in yourself. This affects your self-esteem. Derrick Bell is right. Your self-esteem needs time, attention and action on your promises to be strong and healthy.

What have you promised yourself you’ll do lately?


About anrah

Anrah is a business development consultancy specialising in helping senior women in engineering and science, their teams and doctoral students increase 'presence', improve communication and generate impact to win stakeholder buy-in at the highest level.
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