Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Charisma & Self-Love

Hello Mr. Brown:

I read a recent article where you made a correlation between charismatic personalities and narcissism. Do you believe that all charismatic people are narcissistic?

Phillip Roman
New Haven, CT

Dear Mr. Roman:

Thank you for your inquiry. As I have noted in previous letters, I study historical data to isolate patterns of behavior among charismatic personalities. I try to stay away from absolutes, but one of the major traits I have found with genuine charismatic personalities is a great deal of self-love. This self-love is not inherently a negative characteristic. However, it can become destructive when the charismatic person’s major drive in life is self-gratification at the exclusion of any other considerations. I would go as far as to suggest that narcissism is more pronounced within charismatic people than average individuals. I am comfortable making that sweeping generalization, because the goal of bona fide charismatic personalities is often to complete some overarching mission or crusade. Whether it is creating a new religion or designing a new sports car, the drive, intensity and passion required to complete such a task requires a certain level of self-possession and self-absorption.

In the mind of the charismatic individual, he is the only one who can bring an idea to fruition. The mission or crusade begins in the mind of the charismatic person and will not be deterred by outside influences. Such intensity requires an inner focus that often precludes external considerations. To the charismatic person, he knows more than everyone else, because he has imagined his greatness far before embarking upon his mission.

Edward Brown
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute

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