This is the fifth and final volume of a multi-volume series aiming at hacking the 'ego'. It doesn't mean I solved the 'ego' piece yet. Simply that I found the steps and processes to move forward and 'hack' away.
Battling the ego stems from a deep conviction that living free of it is a big step towards well-being. The biggest enemy in thriving towards any personal goal however is oneself. The phenomenon is wide-spread, well documented and has a name.
"Greenspan might have been a hero - just by being lucky. But there seems to be some failing, some pernicious gene that drives the lucky to acts of self-destruction."
Bill Bonner from 321gold
Self-sabotage or self-destruction is the action or habit of un-consciously creating the conditions conducive of failure, especially when one is getting nearer to accomplishing one's goals.
- Inadequacy - Such a condition could be due to the fact said goals don't correspond to the true nature of the self
- Procrastination - Or that said goals' long-term payout is lost of sight or no longer relevant. That's a form of procrastination
- Pseudo-perfectionism - It might be that personal improvement hasn't lived up to one's standards and a make-perfect-the-enemy-of-good attitude leads to a radical tabula rasa
- Success Stress - Another reason could be that succeeding at personal improvement is inherently stressful as it pushes us away from our comfort zone
- Lack of Acceptance - One last reason could be a lack of acceptance as it creates the environment for negative willpower. Not accepting who you are at a given moment will lead to an attempt to join another (maybe sub-optimal) personal status-quo
That might sound like a bunch of spiritual blablabla for lack of a better Oxford dictionary word. However this covers examples as practical as dieting, waking up earlier, sticking to a productive schedule. Amazingly, the very demon we're fighting might hold a solution to this problem in its genes.
Vaccines are viruses that were stripped out of their viral components. Same for ego. What if we shouldn't throw the baby with the bath water ? What if some aspects of ego are actually beneficial and should be kept and leveraged. Ego is most probably a product of evolution. If it's there, it's for a reason and imho it's mainly to give us purpose.
My friend Klaus struck me with the following some days ago : your "story" is your ego, your purpose. Consider how you sometimes try to frame your personal story by bleaking its beginning and making your past sound harsher. Maybe our 'culture' has something to do with it. Consider Walt Disney movies where the lion king, who lost dad and got kicked out of the kingdom, then rose to claim it again. Look at Mulan and Snow White and how the beauty of their success stems from how hard their beginnings were.
Ego is the driving narrative of the self and an acute perception of it. So it may be that ego is a means of self-acceptance and a way to solve burden #5 in the quest for self-fulfilment mentioned above. Ego helps you love yourself. One needs to inoculate against its nasty sides however : When self-love becomes the default way of interacting with others.
Can Ego help overcome self-sabotage and become a solution to the pyromaniac fireman inside us all ?
A discussion with a friend yesterday opened my eyes to the importance of a large driving force in life. A purpose that encompasses all aspects of one's existence. I drew, or tried to draw, the following in my journal some days ago.
Purpose, willpower and structure are an interacting trio making sure one is on track and moving forward. Ego has its role to play in forming a purpose at a personal and spiritual level. It shouldn't be present however in any other aspect of one's life: Mental, emotional, financial or emotional.
The ego is something to be kept for oneself. It's a mirror one can look into and smile when alone. Self-contemplation during social interactions or in thriving for a physical / health goal is a pity. It should be a personal lens and a judge. Ego can serve as an internal feedback mechanism and ensure compliance high standards on oneself. The second it starts spilling over, it gets smudgy.