Is Your Ego Your Enemy?
Most people are not living On Purpose because their ego is getting in their way!!
They wander through life in a daze looking forward to the next fix (viz. disposable pleasure) to relieve the tedium of their existence.
They wonder why they lack inner peace (viz. fulfilment) as life seems to pass them by.
They drive to a job they dislike to pay for that newish car that takes them there to earn just enough to pay the mortgage on a home they abandon each day to go to the job.
Have I depressed you enough?
Let’s understand the limitation of egocentricity before we look for its antidote.
Human ‘ego’ may be defined as, a person's sense of self, which is all well and good. But when out of control, ego manifests as dominance over or submission to others. This win/lose, lose/win posture conflicts with the higher ideal of collaboration ~ a combined output greater than the sum of the individuals.
The founder of Brass Check, Ryan Holiday observes: “Ego is the enemy of … mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success.”
Too many people in the western world have been ‘educated’ to believe that ego is THE vital component to accomplishment. Whereas an appropriate sense of self-worth is 'karma', an out of control ego “… repulses advantages and opportunities. (is) a magnet for enemies and errors.” Ryan Holiday, again.
Ego loves the comfort of its zone ~ of where it is. But any over-inflated sense of self-importance chips away at the true potential of the individual. Always seeking more than the next guy, the egocentric mind tends to berate and abuse others on its supposed journey to get ahead.
Wow, that doesn’t sound too good!
Many harmonious and effective people ~ those truly comfortable in their skin ~ found peace of mind, even within highly unfavourable circumstance, by answering the following questions to reveal their purpose in life:
- Why am I doing what I am doing?
- Who is the real me?
- What purpose am I serving?
Stoicism is an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded in the early 3rd century BC. It teaches the highest ideals of life are the virtues, meaning: living in harmony with the divine reasons that govern all nature, remaining philosophical about any unwelcome or unpleasant events or to the pleasure or pain those changes may bring. In other words, "It Is What It Is" (iiWii), and we only control our responses to events!
Think of it this way: talking is easy, everyone does it. But silence gives you the opportunity to listen. And, in today’s world listening is rare. Out of control egos shout for it to be recognised. Yet, real confidence is in silence.
We must re-teach our ego to let go of the pressure and distraction of peers, of social media, of the news and to pay greater attention to our life’s purpose. And, if we don't have one, find one!
We must learn not to concern ourselves with complicated theories about the world we live in, but overcome destructive emotional re-actions by thinking through and acting on what can be acted upon. This is founded on appropriate, uplifting action, never manipulative argument.
When you pursue your life’s purpose, the ego within begins to lessen. You gain the quiet confidence of having a sense of your own destiny. As you talk less and act more you will begin to gain a tranquillity that helps you maintain your purpose and positively influences others:
As Seneca eloquently put it, “The one who puts the finishing touches on their life each day is never short of time.”
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Complicated IS Easy! Simple IS Hard!
Recommended reading, “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor E. Frankl