Over time, the word ego is often being related to negative behaviours such as arrogance, condescending, and self-absorbed. Being consumed by our ego will drag us to show more of our “bad sides” as a human which can be a trickster to our confidence. It will also make us end up following THE exaggerated version of ourselves – which is bad for our wellbeing.
“The ego is the worst confidence trickster we could ever imagine.” – Dr Yoav Dattilo
On the other hand, having no ego can result in mental illness or helplessness. Ego captures our thoughts, beliefs, memories, and emotions regardless if they are bad or good. The problem is, being too self-centred driven by ego can turn you into a victim instead of warriors, said Gustavo Razzetti, the founder and author of Stretch for Change.
Moreover, egoism is just like security, certainty, and repetition. It makes us feel comfortable by reinforcing an idealised version of ourselves. For example, if people threaten your position in the workplace, your ego can be a shield to protect the position by telling people that you are credible for the title. Thus, you can prove that you are the right person to be on the role. On the contrary, without an ego, you might end up letting people belittle you.
In a fine term, you can simply refer to ego as a booster and adversary that if not used properly, we can be a victim of our own ego.
“The ego is a way of organising oneself; it comes from the intellect as the mind starts to click in.” – Mark Epstein
As ego has both good and bad side, added Razzetti, balancing egoism is the key to a successful team and self-discipline. Accepting all your sides, rather than exaggerating one side will help you in a very critical situation, for example, being threatened by a competitor of their new product. By balancing both, you can also harness the best result out of your egotism.
To harness the “beneficial” sides of your egocentric self, you should focus more on self-awareness and mindfulness. By focusing on both, you can decide which act or behaviour that you should protect or eliminate instead.
Self-awareness and mindfulness can help you separate the stimulus from an emotional reaction, hence, you can choose how to react and not let your ego takes over the situation. Mindfulness is also a path to a journey to abandon the illusion of self (negative egotist) for the sake of well-being and happiness. Alternatively, if you want to harness and have full control of your ego, you can adopt these techniques.