How Your Ego Can Be Helpful In Living Your Best Life

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There are a lot of misunderstandings out there about what "ego" is and how it works in our lives. 

In many situations, when working or playing in a team, you're told to "Leave your ego at the door." That old trope proves that the concept of ego is often poorly understood.

You assume that your best foot forward must be devoid of ego if you're to be accepted and integrated into the group. You may then apply that thinking to most circumstances, whether at work, play, or in your personal life and relationships.

In many instances, writings and discourses seem to describe the ego as a bad thing, an attitude that must be put aside when interacting with other people.

But ego is not a bad thing, overall. 

The reality is that "ego" should be viewed and understood as a key pillar of our personality — and leaving it behind results in an incomplete person.

There are benefits to ego, but you must balance it in order to live your best life.

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What are the benefits of ego?

A quick check of the definition and meaning of "ego" reveals that a more useful and empowering explanation is that ego is really a self-concept, according to psychologist Carl Rogers. It's about who you are.

Socrates is quoted as saying, "…know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves." Essentially, he reminds us to always work to raise our awareness of who we are.

That's how you can nurture the strength of your ego to be the best at the best of times.

Evidently, keeping in mind the notion of self-concept as a key to performance, you must believe that your ego is helpful in living your best life.

The challenge is to learn and become agile in balancing your ego to flow harmoniously within the context, stepping forward when your contribution means improvement and knowing when to step back when it's others’ turn to help attain the desired result.

Ego is a powerful self-concept.

Recognizing that your self-concept is a key to your performance and that success can only be achieved if you knowingly and consciously are present in what you do, you will find the zone that is described by sports psychologists when speaking about Olympic athletes.

Their focus is on execution, but the drive to excellence is anchored in a deep belief that the "can do" mindset is what brings them to the podium.

When you seek excellence in your everyday life, you're tapping your natural essence of self-esteem and self-worth that spurs your motivation and determination to go beyond and be better than last time.

It’s a characteristic that lives inside every human being who is present, mindful, and aware of the circumstances in which their activity plays out.

Eckart Tolle has given us a deep understanding of the impact of being present.

In his book, The Power of Now, he illustrates and explains how our focus on the present allows us to be more measured in our effort, essentially providing guidance on how to inject balance in our day-to-day life.

Balance: Understanding the Yin and Yang of ego

It's important to apply the principle of the right stuff, in the right amount, and at the right time.

Life is not about the pedal to the metal. Too often, that's exactly what causes a person to overdo the ego bit, which interferes with their own achievement.

Ego tends to blind you and pushes you to forget about balance, the synergy that results from allowing everyone to be part of the game.

On the other hand, if you're a person who cares deeply about others and always aims to step back and let them have the podium while knowing you could contribute to the discussion or decision, you let the pendulum swing too far the other way.

It's admirable and very worthwhile to help build other people’s ego. And, sometimes, you do it to the detriment of your own success or achievement.

Again, it's important to stress the concept of balance.

There are caring ways of injecting your self-concept into the discussion. One of the best ways is to ask pertinent and meaningful questions to help others be present, mindful, and aware of the factors at play — focus on mindfulness.

No one is perfect or all-knowing.

There's magic in practicing mindfulness.

This mindset allows you to slow down the steady stream of thoughts rushing through your brain as your senses capture the stimuli emanating from your environment or within your own mental interpretation inner center.

Mindfulness helps improve your ability to maintain balance in mastering the impact of your ego on results.

Holding An Objective View

Taking a panoramic objective view of a situation, you want to perceive your ego as fitting the circumstances. One of the best ways to ensure balance is to keep the end goal in mind.

Usually, unless you're the only person involved, the end goal would be a result that has been agreed to before getting on the road to execution, which is another factor that affects the balance of the ego.

In order to make your best contribution in a team setting — whether it's business, community, social, or personal relationships — the purpose of the activity must be clearly understood and supported by all involved.

The key is to make sure you have a comprehensive grasp of the end goal. Avoid worrying about others. Just make sure you're on the ball, present, in balance, and aware of how your self-concept can contribute to the collective effort.

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Keep your ego in balance

As in any endeavor, there will always be challenges to your ability to stay in balance and "check your ego at the door."

And here lies the winning concept: to be the best you can be and lead your best life, you have to practice.

And one way to balance your self-concept is to make a conscious effort to be present, mindful, be aware, and fully conscious of the human interactions you have with other people.

The end justifies the means.

The telltale sign of balance

Observe how you react to communications, whether it's gestures, words, or any other medium. Be conscious of being in balance or out of balance.

Watch for the telltale sign. Usually, your emotional level will tell you when you are out of balance.

If you feel calm, cool, collected in a situation, you are more likely to be in balance. If you feel a surge of positive or negative emotion, be sure to step back and recognize that your ego has been impacted by the message.

As recommended in the technique of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the A-B-C concept prompts you to ask yourself two questions.

About the event: is it real and/or impactful?

If the answer is"yes", how can you use it to get better.

If the answer is "no", forget it and move on.

The secret is to create space between the A (the activating event) and the C (the consequence or your reaction) by testing the B (the belief that triggers the emotional upheaval).

You want to move from "overly upset" to "reasonably upset."

When you develop that A-B-C technique and apply it to the small stuff, you will gain mastery of your ego and learn to implement balance and effort-less effectiveness in pursuing your best life.

Achieve your best life

With a strong sense of self, self-concept, or commonly named ego, you can make judicious choices about stepping forward or stepping back depending on the context and, thus, inject the balance that leads to your best life.

The ego can be your greatest ally in creating a better world for yourself and others by providing the clarity, energy, and drive to adjust your effort in most circumstances and achieve peak performance in all you do.

You will learn to avoid "the pedal to the metal at all times."

Wouldn’t you want to achieve that level of expertise and balance in your life?

Now go and practice, practice, practice!

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Raymond Perras is a personal development coach, certified life coach, and author of the book AïM for Life Mastery. Connect with Raymond at or Twitter at @coachrpp for a free consultation to explore how you can partner in creating a better world for you and those you love or lead.