“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
― Carlos Castaneda
The ego, as Juan Matus describes it, is a dragon with one thousand heads. It is a destructive, blinding creature that forces us to believe that we are what we are, only in comparison with others. We spend energy believing this fiction, energy we could be using to enjoy life. What do you have to do to cut the heads of this dragon, overcome your ego, and claim your power back?Advertising
1. Define your motivation
What drives you to take on a challenge? Most of us, most of the time, are excited to explore, learn, and sense. As we seek a source of motivation in life we will encounter an antagonistic fight between our higher self and our ego. The ego will force us to be motivated by what we achieve and conquer, whereas our higher self wants us to learn, experience, and live. The big difference between learning-based motivation and accomplishing-based motivation is that failing to accomplish leads to a crisis of self-worth. A learning-based motivation is the best way to overcome your ego and your unreliable accomplishment-based motivation. We can always learn even when we don’t succeed!
2. Focus on the process
Life is a process, not a trophy case. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” When we start acknowledging life and its true essence we will realize that what really matters is what we experience during life and not its outcomes. In the process of life we find all the beautiful and unforgettable experiences. We find all the laughter, tears, kisses and troubles. We find our real passions, interests, and worries. In the process of life we find all that really makes life meaningful and magical. Our ego will automatically make us absorb an attitude where all we want is to arrive somewhere and achieve something. Our ego does not care about the process as long as it achieves and feels superior. If we follow our ego, we will never enjoy the present moment and all the adventures we can be part of. If we don’t arrive somewhere or achieve something, our ego will make us feel useless, demotivated and purposeless. Overcome your ego so you can enjoy the now, focus on the process.Advertising
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
Your ego will always compare yourself with other people. That is its main source of power, the power that we want to claim back. When we compare our achievements and past performance with our present, sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we won’t succeed at something we had previously done or someone else has done. Our ego will punish us and make us fell inferior and useless. Our self worth will be affected and we won’t have a stable source of confidence. If we succeed and overcome others, our ego will make us believe we are superior and invincible, something which is certainly an illusion. Our self worth is totally subjective and should never be compared to others. This is what the ego wants to hide from us. We all have a value which is unmeasurable and unredeemable. Not comparing ourselves does not mean that we will keep a mediocre mentality with no goals. Not comparing ourselves means that we focus on becoming conscious about ourselves, destroying our unconscious habits and really knowing what we are made of.
4. Forget the habitual system
We are all part of a system, a big dominating system. But more specifically, we are part of a reward/punishment system, or as I like to call it, the win-or-lose mindset. Since we were little babies, we have been always punished when we make mistakes. This continued into school, high school, university, work and probably even death. Heaven or hell, reward or punishment? This system is just a way of feeding our ego and completely destroying our capacity to value ourselves. Our ego will make us feel superior if we win and we will always expect a reward from our successes. If we lose and fail, our ego will crush us down and make us feel like an ant in Manhattan. Forget this system and start noticing that we are not circus animals who need a reward to feel valuable and a punishment to learn. We are independent beings, fully conscious and aware. We learn through experience. The only real reward we should look for is the knowledge and power we acquire throughout our lives.Advertising
5. Stop the boastful talk
Occasionally we mention our achievements, adventures and goals in conversation. Certainly it is a good icebreaker or conversation material but if we want to have dragon meat for dinner we will have to reshape the way we talk. As we talk with someone, our ego will automatically measure itself with this someone. As this happens we will start naming places we went, things we achieved, things we have, stuff we have done, and so on. The ego will fill all the missing spaces in our talk with personal material, material that obviously does the job to make us valuable and hopefully awesome and superior. We are awesome and valuable without the need of telling everybody our achievements, posting on Facebook, or replying to someone´s brag with our own glorifying speech. By acknowledging that our achievements are ours, we will notice that what other do does not really matter. We will obtain personal power and become independent from our ego and the different opinions about us!
Featured photo credit: Grimace/RyanMcGuire via pixabay.comAdvertising
Last Updated on December 16, 2018
12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude
We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:
1. Listen to good music.
Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.
2. Don’t watch television passively.
Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…
3. Don’t do anything passively.
Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)
Time is incredibly valuable.
4. Be aware of negativity
A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.
5. Make time to be alone.
I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.
Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.
Take some time to figure out who you are.
This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.
Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.
Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.
7. Have projects.
Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.
You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).
8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.
That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.
One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.
9. Change your definition of happiness.
Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.
10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.
I get varying reactions to this one.
The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.
There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com
I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).
On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.
11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.
Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.
I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.
For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)
12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.
It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.