What if I told you that there is one thing preventing you from all of the success you’ve ever imagined, one thing causing all of your pain, one simple thing? Would I have your attention? Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t. It’s not money, God, your soul mate or a unicorn horn. This one thing controls all of your actions, your current financial status, how you feel about yourself and others, basically how you perceive the world.
Twenty years ago I realized that it’s important to question things. One of my questions was “why do I do what I do?” And 20 years later, it lead me to this answer. Self mastery is part of the equation. If I do not have control over myself, then how can I succeed? It’s like driving a car that turns left sometimes when you turn right. So I studied myself. That may sound strange to some, but examine our greatest achievers or the wisest of the wise, and they spent a lifetime doing so.
So what is this one thing? It’s the ego. I typed “your ego.” but deleted it. Why? Because I didn’t want to hurt your ego and cause you to stop reading.
I remember listening to Van Halen in my youth. I heard all the stories about how David Lee Roth had a huge ego which eventually lead to the breakup of the band. I remember thinking to myself that a big ego was bad. I didn’t grasp what that meant at the time, but thinking too much of yourself didn’t feel right. This coincided with my self-belief that I wasn’t good enough. I knew lots of arrogant people. I didn’t like it when people were full of themselves.
A while back, I met one of Sim’s (my wife and co-owner of our business) relatives and he went on to tell me about his great job and fancy car. I left the conversation thinking wow, that guy is successful. Sim later told me that he lived with, or off of his parents and most of it wasn’t true. But I fell for it and placed that guy up on a pedestal. So his ego made up a story and my ego thought more of him.
This ego is like Steve Jobs’s “reality distortion field.” It warps the truth, or a perception thereof. So if we walk around with lies turning into truths, how can we succeed? For Jobs, this worked well. But not so much for others. It’s one thing to make the impossible happen, which he did. It’s another to tell yourself that you love your life, when you can’t sleep at night, are on anti-depressants and are living paycheck to paycheck.
So there’s a simple way to listen to your ego. We’ve been listening to it all of our lives, or since we fractured from a whole person as a young one. My ego is psychotic at times, has tourette’s syndrome, and is quite angry. It’s like a little devil sitting on my shoulder. I’ve noticed lots of women’s egos are quite different. Often they are telling them they are not good enough. Just look at all the marketing targeting women, it’s all image based.