Don’t Cling Too Tight To Your Ego
There are many taglines to describe this age – the age of information, the digital age, the gig economy age – but to that we could reasonably add the “age of ego.”
In this sense I mean the Merriam-Webster definition of ego as the self, especially as contrasted with another self or the world. It is the ego as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality.
Since the dawn of mankind as we know it people have gone in search of their true egos, their sense of self. We still do that today.
One morning as we manoeuver our way through traffic jams and smog and cranky people and we get to our office and find demanding memos from a boss we hate, we look up and declare that we don’t know who we are anymore.
We use descriptions like “hamster on a wheel” and that is precisely how we feel as we go about an endless series of tasks and chores and responsibilities, none of which fulfill us.
We declare that we must change; that we must go and find ourselves.
What we mean is that we have lost our sense of inner wholeness. We feel segmented from our inner self and the world in which it must live. Our ego is shattered. It doesn’t know which world to live in: the one we are in or the more balanced world we yearn for.
We want our life to have purpose again. We do not want to live as a separate ego enclosed within our body.
As far back as the 1960s, British philosopher Alan Watts predicted this would happen. In his 1966 masterpiece The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, he eloquently described how so many of us now see our lives:
“There is a growing apprehension that existence is a rat-race in a trip: living organisms, including people, are merely tubes which put things in at one end and let them out at the other, which both keeps them doing it and in the long run wears them out.”
His solution to this dilemma is as fascinating and relevant to this dilemma today as it was in the 60s.
He believed that most of us suffer from a distorted sense of our own existence. We see our ego as something that is separate from our body, even though it is bounded by it. It is a part of ourselves that confronts this alien outside world.
For example, we say: “I came into this world,” instead of “I came out of this world,” as a flower would bloom or the leaves would come out of the tree. We do not have a sense of wholeness with this world we are in, and that creates conflict for us.
Watts said we must consider that every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.
“This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin,” he wrote.
It is a fascinating thought, and one I want to try on and see if I can live with. I will loosen my grip on what I perceive as my “ego” and look with fresh eyes on the world that I am part of.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion. 24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.Check out Paula’s best selling books: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and due to be released soon “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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