Last week I wrote about ego and its power to hold back your potential and kill your happiness.
Well, I received some questions like this one…
“How can I remove my ego entirely?”
The thing is, our egos are here to stay.
They are an inherent part of our biological wiring.
So the question isn’t so much getting rid of ego, as much as wrestling with it, taming it and ultimately managing it.
“Arrogance. Self-centred ambition… The need to be better than, more than, recognized for, far past any reasonable utility — that’s ego. It’s the sense of superiority and certainty that exceeds the bounds of confidence and talent.”Ryan Holiday
When your ego gets out of control it prevents you from hearing critical but necessary feedback.
It makes you overestimate your own abilities and worth, and under-estimate the effort and skill required to achieve your potential.
All of this means that you lose touch with reality, and you miss opportunities — to improve, to connect with others, and to achieve your goals.
Ego makes you assume that you “deserve” some outcome — a job offer, a promotion, a sports win, etc. — because of your past efforts.
It creates a feeling of entitlement: I want what’s mine, what’s due to me. I know what I deserve.
In my own life for example, I’m proud of my attitudes and habits towards my health and fitness. I’m disciplined, pay attention to my choices and work hard – I know I’m going to be successful in this arena thanks to these.
However, that sometimes leaves me thinking: “There’s not much left I can learn here, I won’t change any of these for a long time.”
Every time that thought crosses my mind, I call bullshit!
It might be true that these basic principles won’t change much, but there’s a huge load of things for me left to learn when it comes to being strong, fit and healthy.
It’s a never-ending process.
And that is how you keep your ego in check.
It’s as simple as this…
Focus On Effort, Not Outcomes.
John Wooden was an American basketball coach Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood”, he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach for the UCLA Bruins, including a record seven in a row.
Basically he was very, very good at his job.
John Wooden’s advice to his players gives you an insight why:
“Change the definition of success. Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
The easiest way to achieve this… Always stay a student!
Successful people (who are also happy) tend to be comfortable trying new and unfamiliar things.
They find the process of learning to be enjoyable.
They stay open minded when faced with new challenges.
Because the truth is you are never perfect, and never too good to fall from where you have climbed to.
Keep in mind that your journey never ends.
By actively managing your ego, you will be more receptive to diverse perspectives that challenge your thinking.
You will be open to new ideas and opportunities, and willing to do the work required to achieve great things.
You will focus on things that you control (your effort), rather than things you cannot (the outcome).
Imagine how much more creative, productive, and energised you would be if you always lived life this way.
This is what we are striving for.
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