As an adult, I’ve come to learn the quickest way to insult, enrage, or quickly lose friends and make enemies, is to challenge someone’s ego. Challenge the perception of what that person believes themself to be. This doesn’t even need to be done on purpose, it can even be done on accident and the effect is the same. The ironic thing is our egos are rarely, if ever accurate. What we think of ourselves is often not even close to reality. Need proof? Try and record yourself talking for 30 seconds, it’s NOT going to sound like what you think you sound like. You probably will hate it and that might make you a little irritated. The juxtaposition of ego and reality is never pleasant.
We create our egos because we as humans inherently long to be something. We WANT to be good at things, we WANT to be good people, we WANT to be smart, funny, charming, good looking, athletic, great singers, all these things we want. And if our ego is untouched, unchallenged, we can be those things.
But the moment someone shines a light on your ego, shows you how far it is from reality, that your are not that ripped athlete, or genius prodigy, super entrepreneur, genius marketer, or super model, and instead you’re the equivalent of that troll from Ernest Scared Stupid (seriously, that movie was the scariest thing i watched when I was 9) when compared to what you wanted to be, we get mad, upset, or hurt. We feel these things because our egos represent what we truly want to be and seeing that we are not what we thought we were is crushing.
Nothing hurts more than seeing the disparity between your ego and reality.
I know this is fact. So I try my hardest to keep my ego in check. I know am a D+ entrepreneur (at best). I had 6 businesses fail prior to Ukulele Underground. I’m not great at playing guitar, I don’t even know my scales. My voice is annoying (speaking and singing). I have very little patience. I’m often rude because of my terseness. I’m often really rude because if I find people uninteresting I cannot fake being interested. I’m not a people person. I have issues with my mother. I got shitty grades in college not only because I drank and partied a lot, but because I probably am not very smart as well. I suck at tennis. I suck at pretty much every video game I’ve ever played. In fact, I suck at pretty much everything I enjoy. As well as UU is doing, there are a ton of companies that are doing way better and they’re run by way smarter people. I’ve made a ton of bad deals. I’ve lost lots of money trying to make more money. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in the past. I’m embarrassed by many of my past actions.
I can go on and on with what I suck at and what is wrong with me, there are a few things I think I am ok at, but I’m not really great at anything. In fact, I’d be lucky to qualify as mediocre at anything. And thats OK. By definition we all can’t be extraordinary.
I asked my wife tonight what she thought of my hypothesis that the reason I have anxiety these days is because I’m not as delusional with my ego as I used to be. Maybe ego is necessary to deflect the harshness of reality and a more realistic ego is not healthy. Maybe I should pump my ego back up because I seem to get just as mad when I interact with people who can’t acknowledge their own egos. Who knows. All I’m hoping is that maybe if I can get my ego totally inline with reality one day, that I can finally cast it off and be totally free of its burden. The burden of this imaginary thing that I created. Think about that, the only one who agrees 100% with your egos is you.
In the end, our egos die with us, we’re remembered by our actions not what we thought we were.
I hope I don’t come off as depressed or anything in this post because I’m really not. I’m still laughing that I remembered Ernest Scared Stupid. This is just some random ramblings that was going on in my brain after a rough day. As mediocre as I am, I know that I got lucky and what I have going in my life right now is pretty amazing. Perhaps I should think about that more than ego, but ego probably wouldn’t like it.