Monday, September 23, 2013

Ego and Success: Are They Strange Bedfellows

English: visual representation of the Freud's ...
Freud's id, ego and super-ego (Photo: Wikipedia)
by Joseph Dabon

Since I posted Success is Ego given Substance, I've been reading a lot of articles about the connection between ego and success.

So far, things are more confusing than when I started.

In fact, I am beginning to see the wisdom of the saying, "too much learning is a dangerous thing."

But my big ego wouldn't easily let go of an idea. And when I am stumped, unable to proceed because of some hitches, I always go back to basics. Here they are:

Ego is our self-image, not our real self.
Success is a favorable or desired outcome of an endeavor.

Are ego and success strange bedfellows, then? The answer is both Yes and No. Yes if the real self is dominated by the ego. No, if the ego doesn't get in the way of your real self where your range of possibilities, creativity, intentions and power reside.

They are not strange bedfellows if you can make your ego work for your real self, not the other way around. But you must know your real self first.

What is real or true self?

"You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making" - Stephen Richards.

Your real or true is that central inner force, common to all human beings, but different in each, which is your deep source of growth, or power.

It is your natural self, devoid of any preconceived ideas or pretentions of who are. It comes upon you when you act naturally and spontaneously of the world around you. It's kind of welcoming an unexpected visit of a very close friend.

Moving from your ego self to your real or true self requires some effort but necessary if you wish to live in the real world, not in a dreamland.

It is kind of like kicking an alcohol or drug problem - it requires toughness and resolve; of throwing away old ideas and concepts of yourself and start embracing self-awareness.

What is self-awareness?

It is the clear perception of who you are; your personality, strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs and emotions. It allows you to understand others, what they think of you and your attitudes and responses towards them.

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to understanding of ourselves" - C.G. Jung.

It can also be very deceiving. Our brain can be very tricky. It bombards us with thoughts, ideas and images of ourselves that we can mistake for self awareness.

I met two guys who would swear on their mothers' graves that God talked to them. Maybe God did or maybe I am just a hopeless skeptic. An experience of that kind involves a very heightened level of self awareness. Call it discernment, if you may. That requires a visit another day.

Why is self-awareness important?

Self awareness allows you to make changes in your thoughts and interpretations occupying your mind. It is one of the attributes of emotional intelligence - an important ingredient in achieving success.

Your self-awareness allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you; allows you to see and control your emotions, behavior, and personality so you can make changes if you want.

It is the first step in creating what you want by helping you focus your attention, your emotions, reactions, personality and behavior on where you want to go and do in life.

In closing, your ego creates the images which your real self make real, breeds dreams which your real self turns into successes.

Joseph Dabon

I am a retired engineer who has taken up writing to share with the world my experience in personal improvement during my long years in the corporate world. I am currently writing a book, Chase Your Dreams, and blogging.

Visit my site at and join me in this exciting journey of searching for that success formula that resides in each one of us.

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