Your ego will fight tooth and nail to not give up the reigns. It will go as far in doing so as to pretend it is you, that way it can take you on a ride to short term gratification and “protection”.
If your ego is at the wheel, it wants for you to go through the clean, safe and fast highway, instead of going through the bumpy and unsafe road. Every time you pay at the toll to avoid going through the bumpy road, you miss an opportunity to learn, grow and know yourself; and your ego wins.
When your ego wins, it’s not only that you are losing to your ego, you are losing against others who have a healthy relationship with their ego. The gap between those who have a healthy ego and those who don’t widens.
However uncomfortable the bumpy and unsafe road may be, it is paramount you force yourself to go through it, instead of having your ego take you through the “safe” highway.
An ego that takes control over you will prevent you from putting in the work, because you are smart and don’t need to work; it will prevent you from learning, because you already are knowledgeable; it will prevent you from listening to opposing views and opinions, because your ego will always think it is right…
It will also prevent you from going to a gym, because the first day at the gym is the day you realize how small you are, and the ego doesn’t want to accept being wrong, it doesn’t want to accept you can be a newbie.
Your uncontrolled ego prevents you from taking the bumpy road, it prevents you from progress and only wants to shield you from life and experience. Ego wants you to stay a child.
However, your ego can be a great tool in your arsenal, if mastered. It is my ego which prevents me from losing, so I will work as hard as I can to not lose; it is my ego which prevents me from resting in comfort; it is my ego which prevents me from accepting my “fate” or position on the hierarchy.
My ego prevents me from intellectually respecting anyone, which means I don’t take any advice for granted until I test it myself. My ego prevents me from being mundane, and, the greatest prevention of all:
My ego prevents me from being fooled by my own ego again.
I want you to think about this sentence a bit.
Your ego will fool you, as it is the root cause for dissonance between your mind and reality. When we refer to “life humbling lessons”, we talk about those instances in which the house of cards our ego built crumbles down when faced against reality.
Your ego will prevent you from many things in life. Be it lessons or understanding of reality, your ego can also be used to brainwash yourself to success if used correctly as a fire from within. However, when it comes to taming one’s ego and those moments in which life hits you hard, there are only two options:
Protect one’s ego at all costs, by weaving another house of cards foundation to continue on the smooth and easy highway, or
Embrace the lesson, accept the failure and get angry at yourself for having been fooled by your ego, to then start to build a proper foundation from the start.
By acknowledging failure, you will come to realize that you are not as special as you mistakenly thought, not as strong as you thought, not as smart as you thought… And this is the chance to start changing that.
Embrace every single embarrassing situation, fail continuously, seek discomfort, etc. do everything it takes to go through the bumpy and unsafe road. The most important dialogue you will ever have is with yourself, and it is a dialogue that ends only once you drop dead.
Only once you come to terms with who you are in your mind, and who you are in reality, you can have the power to change both. To improve oneself, one must know thyself. To know thyself, one must continuously test oneself.
Ego can be used as a tool, as the ideal self it wants you to believe you are can be achieved if you work to become that person. By accepting that you aren’t there yet, you know have the starting spot and the finish line.
To master thyself, one must get to know thyself. Only when one has mastered thyself, one can help others.