Big egos are shield for empty spaces
December 27, 20198 Minutes

Why quieting the ego strengthens your best self. 

Is that you or your ego? Something that we all have heard at some point of time in our lives. Fact to be told, our egos are fed when we are acknowledged for our achievements and accomplishments. It instantly boosts our self-confidence and makes us ready to tackle the next big project in our life. However, as with many things, balance and moderation is the key. Too much ego can be detrimental to our success.

Truth to be told, like a car, a house, a family, we all have an ego that often tries to make its presence felt on multiple occasions. The key is to keep a check on it and make sure it is not hampering our daily lives, making us unapproachable and restrictive to feedback and criticisms.

Now the challenge is how do we do that? As everything is doable and achievable, keeping our egos in check even after being at the epitome of success is what will define how we are going to spend the rest of our lives, enjoying mental peace and happiness.

Guru Nanak said: 

O Nanak, one who understands That the whole world is according to God’s plan (hukam or order – command or he himself unfolds in reality), will not speak in ego. ||2||

ਸਭਨਾ ਜੀਆ ਕਾ ਇਕੁ ਦਾਤਾ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਵਿਸਰਿ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੫॥

सभना जीआ का इकु दाता सो मै विसरि न जाई ॥५॥

As rightly said by Nanak, ego is just an illusion that we have in our minds, a self-created bubble that makes us feel superior than others and us the best ones to judge/comment in a situation. While Guru Nanak always asked us to have self-belief and self-confidence, finding the thin line of difference between confidence and ego, especially the one that harms us is something that we need to consciously do for the rest of our lives, with increasing success and achievements coming our way. The one who is open to having reality checks, analysing our actions regularly and realising the fact that nothing can make us superior than the other person is the one who has found his way towards using the right energy that ego has in offering and see the positives of a situation.

Money, power and fame – these ambitions have proved to give rise to ego in individuals, looking only to fulfil their self-interest and not going after the greater good. And it’s safe to say that it has led to their downfall too. Pick up any Shakespearean tragedy and you’ll find more than one character whose downfall was fueled by ego. In the real world around us too – from celebrities and politicians to industrialists and business leaders, we’ve all read about the ego and its implications on their lives.The hunger for power, money and fame give rises to self-interest and ultimately leads to their defeat.

Keeping the ego in check is steep task in hand. However, here are a few things we can try to be more successful in this process.

Look for ways to be humble: 

It’s hard to be humble when you feel you are the greatest. This is the attitude we foster when ego takes control. Acknowledging others and their contributions, realising our self worth and stop looking for validations are ways how we can uncover humility. The greater is our sense of looking good into others, the easier it will be to encourage others.

Give up your need to always win: 

Let’s reflect back on our wins and loses. Let’s think of what motivated us to win. Is it what we wanted really or something that we just did to satisfy our ego and to validate what others think of us? Is winning making us less open to feedback and opportunities to improve? Can we see learnings from what others have to offer and find ways to challenge our own ideas and thoughts?

Don’t get all personal about things: 

The first thing one needs to do is get less personal about things. We should learn to be at peace with ourselves and know that people don’t always mean what they say.

Accept all our mistakes: 

No one is perfect, and in the process of learning, we will eventually make mistakes. A great way to work on our ego related problems is to carry out a thorough self-analysis and accept our mistakes. There will always be opportunities for new learnings from them.

Know that you aren’t the best: 

All of us have heard of the proverb, “If you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room. Smart people know their limitations and are absolutely okay with the fact that someone else must be better in something. That makes us more humble and approachable. The key is to be accepting towards situations.

Be thankful for the little things we have: 

Often in our lives, we are appreciated for some good work we have done. While that makes us feel proud at times, the fact remains that there must be someone who is equally hard working as like us but not standing at that point. Key to our success and personal happiness is to be happy with what we have got and also understand all is temporary. While things are going great, they may not be always and it is perfectly okay.

The most important thing is to just try. We may fail multiple times in this battle against our egos. But, all these small learnings and changes will lead to a big personal development someday, even before we realise.

Nothing is easy. But who stopped us from trying!