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5 Hacks to Overcome Your Ego

5 Hacks to Overcome Your Ego

“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?

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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.

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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.

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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.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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