The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.

~ William Cowper (1731 - 1800) ~

The Fearsome Power Of Ego

December 4th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 27 secs

"That's mine!"

“That’s mine!”

Ego might seem a minor thing. But it remains an awesome force. Were we to harness it wisely, many of the world’s problems would be solved.

Does that sound like an exaggeration? If so, then I better explain…

Ego, or that sense of selfish identity that, like a child, demands ever more of everything is a wayward and fickle thing. For most of us, we only notice it when there’s a spat, or some matter of vanity that demands attention.

But there is more to this self-seeking imp within us than that. Workplaces are all too often rife with the machinations of egos out of control. Where one person or group pins their self-importance on their superiority over others, clashes occur, dividing identity and cooperation down invisible lines.

Ego rips through interaction like a proverbial dose of salts. Even seemingly agreeable groups will often expend considerable effort addressing its energy depleting effects, instead of getting on with original priorities.

From person to person, families, groups, organizations and societies, ego is a potent and often scary force. When one nation’s leaders take offence at the actions of another, the cast is set and ego is the wildcard that leads people to behave beyond reason.

Greedy companies plunder for the sake of ego as much as building corporate viability, because leaders tie their identity to the intoxicating feeling of power.

Wherever there is discord, selfishness, or wanton destruction, rampant ego can be found at the heart. Like a broken hose spurting out of control, ego thinks nothing of people’s needs, cooperation, or living within our means.

Instead, like a child who sees something they want, ego protests until she gets it. Then, having tired of that new distraction, it demand something else (only this time, it must be bigger and better).

Maybe I’m being simplistic. But, to me, the lack of considered thought and respect for others that ego shows is a serious problem. And, much as I’d like to see it resolved with education and cooperation, I don’t believe it ever will.

On the upside, every person who learns to see their conceit for what it is begins to address it. By seeing the futility of our greed, and capricious self-interest, we can begin to reign it in.  Better yet, we can form thoughts that generate better ways to behave, like identifying our common needs and respecting the worth of others.

Wisdom really is the antidote and ego-driven action appears silly in front of it. Wise people have learned to distrust their ego and by doing so, release their better selves without having to impress anyone.

Seeing ego plainly is liberating. For, when its venal nature is compared against the kind of awareness that yields more satisfying happiness, greediness loses its grip.

Of course, many people will never do this. Instead, they will remain slaves to this willful element of self, never knowing that their release and happiness is not dependent on willpower but realization and reflection.

But for those who do – who understand that self-centeredness is just a primitive part of who we are – the opportunity to find abundant happiness and joy in life seems to happen automatically.

Now, of course we are complicated. So that means there are caveats. But in a basic sense, the more we turn our attentions toward the welfare of others the less we get bogged down by petty self-interest. Fulfillment, paradoxically, comes when we lift others up, and in doing so, ego’s energy is converted from fearful into something truly beautiful.

Ugly People Timely Advice

Shared Selfishness

Faint Praise





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