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What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It

Protests. We see them. We discuss them. Some of us even participate. The world seems to have fallen into a state of dis-contentedness, as the rise of the outspoken individual or group takes center stage in our modern politics. The true phenomena however, isn’t the high number of people exercising their right to free speech. The phenomena is the effect that open expression is having on practitioners and spectators alike.

We like to think of ourselves as open-minded, no matter how askew or jaded our perception may be. Though there are undoubtedly some whose action is pure – other’s have taken the idea of open-mindedness, and used it as a form of discrimination all their own.

They double down on their beliefs, regardless of what additional information may be received, and ostracized those who oppose them. This ironically causes the opposition to react in the same way.

The once steadfast and just cause, can now take the form of a close-minded prejudice. This effectively leaves all persons involved defensive, angry, and striving to prove themselves as valid. This is commonly referred to as the backfire effect.[1]

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We’re not born to be open-minded.

Doctor Saul Levine of Psychology Today believes that this developed bias may stem from our internal desire of strictly positive and agreeable information.[2] Levine states that –

“…This Denial is akin to Stephen Colbert’s “Truthiness,” in that these deniers adamantly refuse to accept verified scientific facts because they get in the way of their own rigid ideas”.

Every individual wants to believe or hold something to be true. At that time there is still a sane and rational response to added information, and therefore an ability to alter an opinion.

It’s when we forge an emotional connection with the idea or belief, that logic is no longer a factor. The goal is to be right, despite what information may be learned.

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When this happens the individual in question is no longer fighting for a just cause, but rather for their ego, stability, and their personal understanding of truth. This in turn causes them, to close themselves off from anything that may stand to the contrary, creating an endless cycle of misappropriated frustration and a general stagnancy in mental and emotional growth -i.e. close-minded thinking.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t become open-minded.

When we allow this to happen to ourselves, not only does it harm our personal growth, but also hinders the education of, and willingness of others to see an opposing point of view.

Once emotions are brought into a rational dispute, the feud tends to become displaced from a field of reason to an ego, and self-propelled motive.

If we can stop ourselves before getting carried to this point – we may have a chance to not only have our voices heard, but hear others as well, and possibly gain some insights on why there is such a hostile disagreement in the first place.

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There is no solution to an argument once you refuse to accept the entirety of it. We should – at the very least – attempt to understand and reconcile our ideas with that of the opposing side.

At the very least, a tad bit of sympathy, can open the door to a conversation that can truly lead to a solution.[3]

Be willing to step outside of yourself, and you will be granted the gift of understanding.

So before you glue together your picket sign, run to Twitter to complain, or rant for hours to an agreeing friend, keep in mind-

  • You can’t solve a problem, without fully understanding it.
  • Ego can get in the way of what’s right or just.
  • Not everyone is an enemy, they may just be misinformed.
  • Sympathy, will win you an ear. Vindication, will cost you a voice.

It’s great to be right, it’s okay to be wrong, it’s best to understand and to be understood.

Be calm, and truthful in your endeavors. Be open to the opinions of others.

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Stay out of your own way, and allow reason to intervene when your emotions begin to pry.

Become truly open-minded.[4]

Reference

More by this author

Antwan Crump

Novelist, blogger, essayist, podcaster.

What Happens When Ego Closes Our Mind but We Aren’t Aware of It The Hardest Part of Being a Minimalist That Most People Have Overlooked 5 Ways to Beat Procrastination How to Survive the Holidays. 5 Productive Ways to Multitask

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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