In January 2008 I got a serious reality check.
Here’s what happened…
“I’m going to be an officer in the Royal Marines.”
From 15 years old this was my response when asked what I was going to do after school.
The older I got the more sure I became of this outcome becoming reality.
Until suddenly I wasn’t!
Because, standing outside Southgate House, the Navy Careers Office in Cardiff, I was coming to terms with my test results.
I’d just failed the maths sections of the potential officers initial exam.
9 years of certainty were suddenly in doubt.
I was given a choice – wait 6 months to try again, or join as a rank and file soldier.
My pride didn’t want to admit I’d failed, but I also didn’t like the reality of a six month delay in pursuing my dream.
In the end I swallowed my ego and 2 months later walked through the gates of Lympstone to begin basic training – a decision I will never regret.
How often has ego threatened to sabotage your efforts?
Imagine you are…
At the beginning of setting out to do something.
You have a goal, a target or a new found calling and the road ahead looks promising.
You are so excited that you begin to tell your family & friends about what you aim to achieve.
You think there is no way you will fail and that you can’t be stopped.
A dark force crawls into your mind like a plague.
It fills you with something that human beings have suffered with since the beginning of time.
A force that is responsible for more failures than anything else,
And a name that strikes fear into anyone who speaks it.
They call it…
Every great journey begins with confidence and assurance, yet far too many of us never reach our intended destination.
Ego more often than not is the cold-blooded culprit.
We build ourselves up with fantastic stories and pretend we have it all figured out.
We let our star burn bright, only for it to fizzle out and we never know why.
Ego is the enemy and humility & reality are the cure.
There is always the danger of early pride.
Pride leads to arrogance and away from humility.
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and of course, as long as you are looking below you, you cannot see something that is above you” – C.S. Lewis
Pride blunts the very tool we need in order to succeed in life: Our mind.
Our ability to learn, adapt, better ourselves, strive and build relationships are all blunted by pride and ego.
Don’t Boast. There is nothing in it for you.
This leads me to the next tool to use against Ego.
Living clearly and presently takes courage.
There is nobody you need to ‘perform’ for in life – in reality it’s just you vs you.
The work to be done and lessons to learn are in the here and now, so be present.
Every time you sit down to work, remind yourself:
I am paying my success tax.
I am earning what my ambition burns for.
I am making an investment in myself instead of my ego.
Give yourself credit for doing this, but not too much because you’ve got to get back to the task at hand: practising, working, improving!
Do all of these things and you will become humble and disciplined, both of which will make it 10x more likely you will achieve your goals.
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