If you find yourself troubled with ego problems, read this, then read it 10 months later
What you are getting into: 861 words, 5mins read
I wrote this to and for myself. Hope you like it.
Table of Contents
- 1 Who do you spend the most time with?
- 2 How do you react if someone else’s idea is better than yours
- 3 When you have ego, you disregard alternate opinions (or facts) and seek out confirmation bias
- 4 Not everything is about display of power, people who are behind the scenes have power too
- 5 Even if it’s about power, letting go of your ego (temporarily) is part of the long game
- 6 Bringing it all together
Who do you spend the most time with?
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn
You know that quote.
For most people, it’s coworkers and family. Maybe it’s friends. Maybe it’s the members from your social group or community group.
Take stock of the 5 people. Be honest with yourself, Zen.
Are they energy vampires? Or are they energy enablers? Energy vampires are people who leave you drained even if you may have a good time with them. Energy enablers are people who no matter what they say or do, just having their mere presence is sufficient to make you feel good. They of course, are fun to hangout with and you should already have close relationships with them.
Say goodbye to energy vampires no matter how hard is it. Say hello to energy enablers, again and again.
How do you react if someone else’s idea is better than yours
- React negatively
- Feel that your identity is threatened and get defensive
- Let it slide and silently blacklist the person
- Ask questions about the alternate idea
- Listen intently and identify logical arguments
- Question your own assumptions
Can you accept being wrong?
Do you fall into the trap of associating the ideas you have with your identity?
Will you ever change your mind?
What firmed up your beliefs in the first place?
Now to the most important question: Do you often disagree with your top five people? If yes, why? If no, why?
When you have ego, you disregard alternate opinions (or facts) and seek out confirmation bias
Egoistical people seek out validation that their behaviour, ideas, work, are the greatest. Who’s gonna praise them? Minions and sheep. Do you know anyone who is egoistical and yet actively seeks out feedback, and doesn’t get defensive when not validated?
Accepting alternate versions of opinions is hard. Accepting alternate versions of facts is even harder. It’s particularly poignant that many people are unable to discern between opinions and facts. Don’t be one of them.
To make it even worse, they mistaken alternatives as a challenge to their identity, their ideas, their work. Rather than putting their ego aside to revaluate their work, work that is painstakingly crafted, they choose to turn constructive (hopefully solicited) comments to shit and defend them till death.
This is where good ideas go to die. This is where the new ways of thinking never get to see the light. This is how egomanics miss opportunities because they can’t control their own ego and emotions.
Don’t be that guy, never.
Not everything is about display of power, people who are behind the scenes have power too
Now you might be thinking: “If I accede to opinions every now and then, how am I going to show em who’s boss? Who will listen to me if I’m always the one listening?”
In the exceptional book 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, particularly Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker – seem dumber than your mark, talks about the art of asserting your power gracefully. In Chinese folklore, often eunuchs have the unseen power. They know the secrets of the King, the ins and outs, the behaviour of the King. Thus holding a tremendous amount of power on the state affairs.
Eunuchs are looked down because they are castrated. In the olden days being castrated is equivalent to committing social suicide. However, eunuchs are able to level their playing field by playing the sucker, ultimately convincing the King to make decisions favourable to themselves.
Even if it’s about power, letting go of your ego (temporarily) is part of the long game
What do you want in 10 years time? Will standing by your ego serve the goal? Or will it be derailed by your ego-driven reaction? Don’t mistake entitlement for righteousness. Most times, keeping your mouth shut and letting others win is the best policy, especially when you are not the one with power. One may feel morally right on a particular belief, but feeling entitled to defend the beliefs, only to cause detrimental consequences is another thing.
Bringing it all together
Do you have healthy discussions with the top 5 people you spend the most time with? Do you consider their alternate viewpoints, or their viewpoints are often the same as yours? When they have alternate viewpoints, do you react in a negative or positive manner?
The best case scenario is surrounding yourself with 5 people who will listen to you, yet giving you their firm alternate opinions, they also won’t hesitate to challenge your assumptions, and you won’t get butthurt in the process.
If each time you are going to feel personally attacked for every innocuous comment, you are going to have a bad time.
Go long, just let it go.
Now go back and look at the picture at the top, once you let it go, the fragmented mirror will return back to normal.