Five Reasons to go Ego-less

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Too much ego is a pervasive, worldwide problem and one that is holding us back.  In my own experiences, I have witnessed (and experienced) how our ego holds us back from collective growth.

When I say ego, I am not talking about Freud’s balance between the Id and the Superego.  I am not referring to self-confidence or self-esteem, and I am certainly not arguing against positive feedback and praise.

When I say ego, I am talking about egotism.  I am talking about the right/wrong dilemma that is so prevalent today.  I am referring to attachment and defensiveness.  And, I am referring to the fixed mindset (versus the growth mindset) that keeps us tied tied to our own self-importance.

In this post, I am arguing for a collective letting go of ego.  Here are five reasons why we need to let go of ego and embrace the discomfort of real growth.

  1. Our ego serves no one, not even ourselves.  When we get attached to an idea, that is our ego refusing to let us grow.  When we get defensive, that is our ego protecting us against vulnerability and discomfort.  But vulnerability and discomfort equal growth.  If we do not practice being uncomfortable, we will never reach our highest potential.
  2. Our ego is detrimental to our goals.  Our ego puts up barriers and tells us that we are right.  Maybe we are, but how does being right serve the goal?  What would be more helpful in moving the situation forward in a positive direction?
  3. Our ego keeps us attached to mediocrity.  Our ego tells us that we are great, wonderful, right…What it doesn’t tell us is that we are also fearful and timid.  Perhaps of being wrong? Rather than being focused on being right, commit to learning more, being better, and serving the greater good.
  4. Our ego equals pride.  Pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  Need I say more.
  5. Our ego causes fights.  Our ego eggs us on, tells us that we are right and revels in conflict.  It feeds our anger and makes us feel righteous and indignant.  But, does righteous indignation actually feel good?

If we are truly in the business of learning and growth, we must be learners ourselves.  That means allowing ourselves to be wrong and “inexpert” at some things.  As humans, it means being vulnerable.

Serving our own egos does no one any good, not even ourselves.  So, I am calling for a collective letting go of ego(tism), so that we can all grow, continue to improve, and learn more!

2 Replies to “Five Reasons to go Ego-less”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with you on this topic. Of course, it is much easier said than done. I just had a conversation with a colleague who will be taking some of my coordinator roles next year and I really wanted him to understand the value of this ideology. The concept of detaching yourself from ideas, to reduce your “ownership” will also reduce your need to defend a position; this is a really great learned value when you are committed to a collaborative process in your work environment. When you are identified more as having a facilitator role in a meeting, you see trust levels go up, and more initiative and innovation develops from participating staff who feel like they are truly valued in the process.

    Good post, got me thinking more about this!
    Thanks Tara!

  2. Great post. Is there a practical place for self righteousness in modern societies? I think going further down your line of thinking here most ego (and the reactive jump to outrage) is a form of narcassism. People get a little hit of dopamine when they feel their own personal line has been crossed and stand on a soapbox. In reality, there are no lines. Only 7 billion circles forming one big messy Venn diagram.

    If we all sought deeper understanding with questions when we didn’t agree or understand the world would be a better place.

    I struggle with this Tara, but I imagine I’ll struggle with it till my last days. I was conditioned in the old school. But after reading your post I commit to redoubling my personal efforts and to arming my son with tools that will help him avoid so much struggle.

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