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The One Thing Holding You Back

An underlying theme in some of the recent posts I’ve written, is that the only thing holding you back from doing something truly amazing, is you.

And what I mean specifically, is your ego.

Ego has the power to influence our decisions with misguided thoughts of security, getting us to spend our time and energy on what we can have rather than on who we can be.

It is obsessed with presenting itself in ways that gain the compliments and good opinion of others.

This, along with its ability to set limits on the beliefs you have about yourself, can prevent you from living as your True Self.

While ego has an important role in our life, it can often dominate our thinking to the point that it stops us from doing anything fulfilling.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of moments where ego has been my enemy!

Here are some ways to recognise when ego could be working against you:

  • You care about what others think about you. Your thoughts about how others may react to what you’re doing silences what your wisdom is trying to tell you. You are afraid of embracing your True Self for fear of how others may judge you, thus caring more about all the stuff you have than the things you’ve done. It’s no surprise that Bonnie Ware (an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care) noted that the most common regret of all amongst the dying was “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  • You fear failure. You have more potential than you realise, but potentiality does not imply actuality. You talk a lot about what you would love to do, but talking does not imply doing. The fear of failure keeps you locked within your comfort zone because uncertainty scares your ego, stopping you from growing and regularly learning something new. You consider failure and success to be opposites, when in fact it is part of the journey and process of success. By avoiding failure, you avoid success.
  • You feel the need to always be right. This need can cause relationships (whether that’s business, work or personal) to break down very quickly. Because you have to be right, you end up focused on creating win-lose situations rather than win-win situations, the latter being the key to building sustainable and successful long-term relationships. You crush any chance of creativity flourishing and thus leave many opportunities undiscovered. Listen more; talk less. And realise that there is always something you can learn from the insights of others.
  • You blame others. When things don’t go your way, you’re quick to blame someone or something other than yourself. You’re never the one to blame because it is difficult for you to accept full responsibility for where you are today in all areas of your life. By doing this, you give up any form of control over the outcomes you desire. While others are starting before they feel ready, the time is still not quite right for you. You’re waiting for that elusive ‘perfect time’.

The goal here is not to suppress your ego since it is an integral part of who you are, but to know how to transcend it and let your True Self shine through, by better understanding and management of your ego.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below on what strategies and hacks you use to manage your ego?

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Have your say

  • Great post, Simon!

  • Josh

    But how does one better manage their ego? Do you have any posts on this subject?

    • Not yet Josh, but I can share some of my thoughts here with you. The first is to let go of your need to impress others.

      The second is to raise your awareness of the role your ego is playing. When you do something for someone else, consider why you are doing it; when you purchase something, consider why; when you seek credit for something; consider how you feel when you don’t get it.

      A great way to manage ego is by getting yourself involved in something that is greater than you. That could be volunteer/charity work and helping improve the lives of others less fortunate than you. When you aspire to make a true difference in people’s lives through what you do, you begin to control your ego.

      Remember, no one other than you, can say who you are.

  • I have found once I stripped away my habit of judging and labeling everything my ego vanished. My intense desire to either like or dislike was out of control. I stepped into a place where everything just was. In that place there is no ego. Simple, but the positive impact of my life was monumental if not complete.

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