Ego is a complex human feature that has defined human evolution and general learning process. It is effectively a philosophical theme that is based on our own existential insecurity. Why are we here? What are we supposed to do with ourselves? Are we enough? All these questions amalgamate in childhood according to the region and the family we grew up at. It is a discussion that is rooted to every human and thus to every business man or woman across the world. So, why is ego something that is covered here? A professional insight portal that focuses on business consulting?
Well, the globally renowned book Ego Is the Enemy, which is one of the Top 10 must read books for businesspersons, recognizes that most of our difficulties in life are not caused by external factors such as other people or circumstances. In contrast, Ryan Holiday emphasises that most of our challenges derive from our own mindset and self-absorption. In other words, by allowing ego into any situation to prevail it prevents us from being logical, objective or strategic. No leader or organisational structure can withstand ego as the central pillar of decision making.
As we acquire more power, people around us will tend to agree more with our view and this results in a limited or biassed discussion on important matters. The problem with this is that when ego is left unchecked, it grows. And this has an awfully negative chain effect, because ego can easily twist our perspectives and our values. Ego narrows perspectives and corrupts our behaviour, often causing us to act against our own interest. Managing our craving for money, fame or influence is something we must constantly remain vigilant about. If we do not, then life will do it for us.
Ego has the tendency to act like a big sign. And it becomes pretty big and obvious as it grows! And like any target, the bigger it is, the more susceptible it is to being struck. Therefore, an unchecked grandiose ego makes it easier for others to be less genuine. Ego craves positive reinforcement and attention which makes us predictable. This inevitably drives us to make bad decisions that end up being harmful to ourselves, our people, and our organisation. This is why we need to be careful in checking in with ourselves and our egos by focusing on the following:
- Stick to Your Values
- Energy Management
- Constant Humility
- Openness to Learning
The depth of our own creativity is what makes each one of us a unique value proposition to the world of business and humanity at large. Ego is based on self-delusion and control and is a destructive force in life and business. Confidence on the other hand is self-acceptance and self-love. Confidence allows one to truly connect with others and exchange the best ideas forward. It effectively removes the insecurity and fear from the equation. The day we start focusing inwards and appreciating our own uniqueness and gifts we carry in this world, is the day we realise our own greatness. Ego inhibits true success by preventing a direct and honest connection to the world inside and around us. Therefore, EGO is an enemy!