It’s true that your ego will always find something to cut the legs out from underneath your success. That it will throw at you everything it has to prove its story.
And yet, your ego is still a valuable vehicle. It’s simply a matter of knowing when and where and how to park it.
Maisel’s research on rethinking depression reminds us that we are all built with an ego and powerful desires and there is no reason not to honor that part of our endowment. Even if we have learned to live in a detached and phlegmatic and philosophical way, he writes, we can still cherish achievement. There is nothing paradoxical about holding both contentment and accomplishment as meaning opportunities.
Besides, too little ego can actually work against you. It can hamper your ability to be critical and start something new and stand alone next to your dream and do the necessary work required to make it a reality.
A healthy ego, on the other hand, can take you to some beautiful places. Because it’s an asset. A psychological reserve to be tapped into during situations when you need to bear down and face your fears and push through the doubt.
In fact, people with healthy egos, specifically company executives, tend to bound back from failure faster, inspire peak performances in others, have more optimistic outlooks about their direction, take calculated risks and feel secure enough in their ideas not to be threatened by feedback or criticism.
What’s not to like?
And so, no matter how many ancient teachings you read about the death of the ego as the path to enlightenment, understand that completely eliminating the ego is a near impossible feat. You’re not a celibate monk wearing a robe working in a garden.
Perhaps it might be more useful to recognize the ego, understand it for the bullshit that it can be, but also use it when necessary. There’s a fine line between having an ego and being egotistical. There’s a fine line between healthy ego needs and toxic ego traps.
As a coach friend of mine like to say, you can use your story, but once you start believing it, it’s using you.
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