We are all born with ego’s. I have an ego, you have an ego— there is nothing we can do to prevent that. As I literally just mentioned, but I’ll do so again, it’s something we were born with.
There was once a time when our ancestors had to fight for food as a matter of life and death and an ego was a necessity to live. You needed to believe that there was nothing that can stop you and the environment then was conducive to such an attitude and ultimately worked in their favor. It was an environment where an ounce of fear, doubt, vulnerability and empathy could likely literally end your life.
When I think back to what it was possibly like back then, I can’t help but believe that ego’s were like a form of non-exchangeable currency. Where the greater the ego you had, the more successful you were. It was the determination of your societal stature and everything associated with having an ego represented attributes that one would aspire to, because after all, an ego was what determined your success.
Fast forward to today— the environment in which we live in is drastically different. As species we continued to progress maybe not as physically as we have mentally, but we continued to grow. As each generation passed we’d review our childhood, extract the positive attributes to pass on to our children as well as acknowledging the negative aspects with the intent of fixing them. So as each generation passed, as intended we’ve filtered the negative while piling on the positive and with that over time our species have become more fine tuned as our instincts naturally lead us down a path to perfection.
However, we’ve reached an inflection point. As the developmental rate of our brains continued to accelerate, so has the expectations and standards— with that adding additional pressure. We’ve reached a point where the standards that have been set for us from a societal perspective is not something that we can obtain by ourselves. Survival of the fittest has evolved from the prioritization of self to the importance of collaboration. As the standards continue to rise we need to become more reliant on one another to meet them. Relying on one another requires having the ability to co-exist and our ego’s which were once the representation of dominance are now a flaw that represents insecurity and discomfort with oneself therefore prevent proper collaboration.
The problem is that not everyone still views their ego as a flaw. No matter how small an accomplishment, when someone slightly excels they still wrongfully credit their ego. The reason why this is so dangerous is because you’re crediting the same characteristic that will prevent you from further succeeding. So because you don’t further succeed and grow as an individual— you become more insecure and therefore have a greater desire to feed your ego which is a repetitive cycle that doesn’t stop until you hit the bottom or set lower expectations of oneself, therefore never reach your true potential.
So what does foster collaboration? Passion, love, fear, doubt, vulnerability, empathy. That’s what makes us human and as species we desire to be around individuals we relate to, so by demonstrating these qualities, people feel comfortable around one another which creates a culture where all involved wish to work together, collaborate and look out for the best interest of their peers before themselves. This is what happens when you believe in a vision and work towards a greater purpose. This is how love takes form because by desiring to look out for one another you need to be understanding of their vulnerabilities and aspire to protect it.
There is a difference between having a big ego and being confident. Having a big ego is a result of primarily crediting ourselves for any accomplishment and believing that there is nothing in the world that can stop us— but in reality there is and confidence is acknowledging that, accepting it and developing an understanding of oneself. Confidence yearns to be in a vulnerable position as doing such a thing develops a greater understanding of oneself as a result of experience, humiliation, and failure. An ego can’t survive such confrontation therefore avoids it and refrains from any possibility of being in a vulnerable position.
Once ONE ego enters the mix— you risk the whole batch going sour.
And one of the primary reasons why ego’s make me irate is because they have the ability to suppress greatness. How so?
To explain this best, i’ll break down greatness into 3 stages:
1. At this stage we’re naive— we care to be better but don’t quite yet know what we want to be better at. But, we care, so we become more curious therefore more observant. Because we are naive we often tend to feel lost. So we talk with others and ask for help, advice and some guidance which requires not having an ego. If you have an ego you will never get passed the first stage. At this point your ego will prevent progression.
2. You develop an understanding of yourself. You find what it is you are good at and become passionate about it. You find your purpose, set a standard and formulate a vision. You fear action at first because you’re not quite yet sure how you’ll react to failure so you hesitantly proceed. And then exactly what you feared happened— you failed, but come to realize it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be. You became smarter from it— learned about yourself and most importantly no longer fear it because it’s no longer an unknown occurrence and now you know you are capable of bouncing back. So you move forward, but this time it’s different— you’re more confident because you have a further understanding and with that comes belief. Once you believe, your actions will demonstrate such a notion and the person you become will create an aura that others can’t help but acknowledge. You will begin to become misunderstood and most people won’t quite be able to identify how you will become great— but they believe you eventually will.
So, now you face the potential that the ego’s of others intervene. Because greatness can’t be accomplished on its own— we need help and many instances that help will come from individuals who are in a position to do so therefore at the current moment are more successful. But because you believe, others will begin to get this sense that this individual is destined for greatness. So when someone believes that you can potentially be more successful than them, creates a notion in their mind that is very intimidating, therefore if one has the power to suppress greatness and prevent it from happening and helping someone who they believe has the ability to be more successful than they will— they will not help because their ego is telling them not to. They may not understand the bigger vision and great leaders will have a tendency to blame themselves for not properly conveying their vision but they also need to understand that sometimes it’s a matter of denial by others in an effort to suppress greatness from happening to refrain from questioning their own practices. At this point the ego’s of others will prevent progression.
3. And then someone enters your life who is in a position to help. They are able to understand you and get the bigger picture. These people don’t compare themselves or their successes with others because they know they can’t take sole responsibility for their success so they just work towards creating the best them they humanly possibly can and know that happens by working with individuals who are like minded and believe that everyone can learn something from someone else. They don’t have an ego and are able to offer assistance. That assistance signifies acceptance and with acceptance comes validation.
Once greatness is validated is when it drastically accelerates and relentlessly flourishes.
The vast majority of the time someone is on the verge of greatness, is either hindered if not entirely diminished by the second stage. People will try their best to push you down and prevent you from passing them because they are under the belief we’re all in competition with one another, which is the exact reason why they will be passed. They’re fooling themselves. Be strong and fight through the foolishness.
Don’t be a victim of the ego.
We’re no longer fighting for food— we’re hunting for love.