Continuous self-reflection will allow you to learn and ground us to who we are, not who we think we should be. One of the early members of Alcoholics Anonymous defined ego as “a conscious separation from.” From what? From everything and everyone, including our own nature.
When we are in the sway of ego, we are arrogant, selfish, shortsighted. We are mean, we are superficial, we are insecure, we are fragile. In short, we are everything a friend, a community member, a leader, a parent is not supposed to be. It’s impossible to learn when you already know everything. That’s why we should avoid ego. As a leader, it’s important to avoid the stain of malfeasance – the ego that would come from believing you have unlimited power. The same portion of our ego that makes us believe we are always right.
No one can work with other people if we’ve put up walls. We can’t improve the world if we don’t understand it or ourselves. We can’t take or receive feedback if we are incapable of or uninterested in hearing from outside sources. We can’t recognize opportunities – or create them – if instead of seeing what is in front of us, we live inside our own fantasy. Without an accurate accounting of our own abilities compared to others, what we have is not confidence but delusion. How are we supposed to reach, motivate, or lead other people if we can’t relate to their needs—because we’ve lost touch with our own?
The Greeks knew that ‘Hubris’ – ego by another name – was the ultimate enemy. That it must be conquered. That humility and self-awareness were where true strength lies. We need to remember the same. That’s why continuous self-reflection is essential in our daily lives.
By Brian Nadon