Living with our egos…
Too often in life our behaviours and what we achieve is driven, not by our strengths and passions but limited by our fears and insecurities. We can be afraid to confront an issue, make that phone call, start a conversation or even just try something new. We end up being driven in another direction all together, making excuses, procrastinating, hiding our ignorance, changing our plans or continue suffering in a poor relationship. As with any problem or issue you need to get to the root cause and address this rather than the symptom. With behaviours and knowledge it is often the case that the root cause is our ego. As Captain Jack Sparrow said ‘the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem’, which is often driven by our egos. An ego related problem is almost always linked to lack of confidence, poor self esteem, perceived rejection, fearing ‘loss of face’, ridicule, defeat and fearing being wrong. Our fears, of course are irrational because they create a far worse future than any ‘short term pain’ would if the issue had been dealt with at the time.
At various times in our lives we have all come to realise that we have been trying to change something about our habits or behaviours and have not done it. It maybe to do with our health, exercise, learning, relationships, stress levels, work, making time for the important things or just taking back control of yourself. It is the usual problem we are aware of it, we say it is important to us and we even constantly remind ourselves to do something about it but with no success. It becomes the ‘holy grail’ of our daily existence, occupying our mental thoughts but with little or no physical progress.
The bad news is that if we have not done anything about it up until now, even although it has been on our to do list for ages, then the odds are heavily stacked against us ever doing it by ourselves. Let’s think about it; if we say it is important to us, we constantly remind ourselves about it and we still believe that we will start doing it tomorrow, I think we are getting close to the definition of madness, ‘to continue doing what you have always done but expect a different result’. But the good news is that we are not alone. We have all done it and then eventually realised that we need help as we are not going to do this on our own. This step should be celebrated and it is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. We all need help at one time or another. No matter what our role is, our position or stage in life we all arrive at junctions where we need help to successfully continue on life’s journey.
What prevents us asking for this help? It is usually one of two things, either lack of self awareness that we need help in the first place or our egos which can prevent us from asking for it. We tell ourselves stories like ‘I should know this’, ‘I will look stupid’, ‘I should be able to do this myself, everyone else does’, ‘I am a senior manager I cannot admit I don’t know’ and thats just a few of them. So one of smallest words in the English language ‘ego’ can be one of our biggest stumbling blocks to progression, success and happiness. It really is that easy – ‘don’t just get over it, get over yourself’. Once we realise that it is just our ego that is stopping ourselves it becomes easy. We need to remind ourselves that we are human after all and one of the greatest attributes we can have is the ability to laugh at ourselves. A nurse once reminded me that physical injuries can take months to repair but egos can be repaired in seconds.
The secret to success is to overcome your ego and ask for help and support when you need it to become the best you can be.