Ring, Ring… Your EGO is calling
What is the ego and what is it designed to do?
Mother nature created us with the purpose to perfectly survive and thrive.
Your ego is that little voice inside your head that lets you know when you’re in danger. It’s a primal protective mechanism that we need in order to survive (Kerwin Rae describes it best here). For example. Thousands of years ago when we used to hunt wild animals for food, we needed to be fully aware of our surroundings and be alert enough to “fight, flight or freeze” if we were in danger. It’s a protection mechanism that if we didn’t have it, it would be too late, the tiger would have already caught us. Without this mechanism the human race wouldn’t have survived as long as it has.
Leave your ego at the door.
Where did it go wrong?
Fast forward to current day, where there is minimal physical harm we encounter day to day, our brain is still hard wired to protect us from danger. Unfortunately due to the brain not being able to differentiate physical danger from mental or emotional danger, it reacts the same way to it all. Pumps up the heart rate, increases breathing, releases adrenaline + cortisol & prepares us for survival.
Because our brain has not evolved at the rate the human civilisation has, we find ourselves confused more than ever about what exactly we are afraid of. It’s quite confusing these days. How do we change our physiological response to danger if we don’t know what they danger is? It’s about what you perceive to be dangerous and it’s starts with being aware of every situation where you find yourself acting in one of the 8 following ways. Being aware of what makes you tick, what makes you angry and what paralyses you from doing anything at all.
Each response is a result of your EGO telling you, “watch out, here comes danger, you’re about to be attacked”.
My ego experience.
The EGO is one thing I very quickly had to check when I was into #bodybuilding, I was the biggest, strongest and leanest I’d ever been… and then I woke up one morning without the use of my legs and at the same time lost the use of my left hand due to nerve damage & pain (unrelated but happened at same time). At this stage, I lost control of my body. The one thing that was my pride and joy, that I’d invested so much time, effort & money into looking “sexy as f*#k” or “the best version of myself” or “the body I’ve always dreamt of”. The one thing I was afraid of losing, I had lost. I took a good long hard look at myself and how I was defining who I was. Fast forward 6 months, I was no longer the guy who had the best abs or the biggest arms. I started listening more than I was speaking, I started learning more than teaching. I started trying to understand others more than getting others to understand me.
Now you might be reading this thinking… well you sound all cocky and confident telling people to check themselves… where’s your ego at right now? You’re absolutely right, my ego is flying high right now but not from a place of fear or danger. For every action there must be an equal and opposing reaction, (Newtons Third Law). So your #EGO can drive you down a negative spiralling hole OR if controlled and focused with the right intent, can be a shining light to take you where ever you want to go. You only need to be aware of it and control it.
You’ll feel your EGO popping up everyday when:
someone cuts you off while driving,
when someone rudely interrupts you while you’re working,
when your boss aggressively storms into the office.
when you look at social media and think “I wish I looked as good as that”
when you’re in the gym comparing yourself in the mirror to the bigger/leaner/sexier person right next to you.
It only takes 5 seconds looking at Instagram and you’ll see a perfect #peach or #6packabs glistening from the hardcore #beastmode workout they’ve just demolished, leaving you feeling guilty or ashamed that you don’t have that… OR when someone is expressing their point of view & others step in to quickly shut them down to prove they’re right or wrong, leaving you feeling like you’ve done something wrong… OR when it’s all a pissing competition about who’s got the best gym, best equipment, best coaches or cheapest prices, teaching the rest of society exactly what they should be comparing… WATCH OUT… the EGO is about to knock you off your high chair.
9 words used to describe when you might notice your EGO coming out to play.
Distortion – the “it could be worse” story.
Demonstration – showing someone how you can do it better.
Defend – “No, no that’s not it. It can’t be that.”
Deflection – “That could be the reason but this is so much worse.”
Denial – “that’s not the problem I have.”
Justification – It’s like this because… I have to because…
Blame – “It’s not my fault.”
Comparison – “I’m not doing as bad as that person, it could be worse compared to them.”
Judgement – “you don’t actually know, but you acknowledge your opinion as more righteous than anyone elses.”
Some specific circumstances you might have experienced.
When you’re trying to help someone, they choose not to take on your advice, but you continue trying to convince them.
When you look at what everyone else is doing and say to yourself, I wish I could do that.
When someone is trying to tell you how to do something and you can’t wait to show them why your way is better.
When people use excuses to blame someone or something else.
When you’re struggling in life but tell yourself things will get better if I keep persisting (without changing anything).
When you look at others and compare what you’re doing to what they’re doing and think they’ve got it easy or they’re lucky because…
When someone tells you, you have a problem but you refuse to accept the possibility they’re right.
When you’re having a deep conversation with someone and they giggle or change the subject to escape the uncomfortable experience.
How It Sabotages You
There’s no rules with the EGO, it has one purpose, to survive. Whatever it takes. When you’re in the gym, if you detect there’s a stronger guy who is threatening your status in the gym, your EGO says you’ve got to lift more than that guy to prove your worthy status, and you’ll then challenge yourself with something outside of your capacity. Pain & injury usually live in this zone and these are the physical signs we aren’t listening to.
These days it’s easier than ever, for the EGO to let loose as there is no celebration after the catch, no relief after the escape, no exhaustion after the chase… no where for or all the pent up adrenaline + cortisol to go… so it sits & waits until the next opportunity to come out and you can bet it’s going to be bigger than last time (ever experienced someone like that?). Stress is the common language we use to describe the EGO today.
Ever seen someone break down at work because they are so overwhelmed with everything, although there isn’t anything really threatening them?
When someone doesn’t know how to deal with stress, it comes out in bursts of EGO, as the world is crashing in on them, they feel the need to protect themselves. Too much stress leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to… everything the doctors tell you before they prescribe a happy pill.
At Earn The Right, our first principle is “Check your EGO at the door”. We understand that everyone is at a different stage of their health, fitness or strength journey and to compare yourself to someone else who has a completely different lifestyle, life principles, values, family, friends, occupation… it’s just crazy. There are times we invite the ego out to play for strategic competitive advantage, but it’s not what is driving the results 90% of time.
So... What To Do When You Feel Threatened?
7 Rules To Overcome Your Ego
1. Check your ego at the door Are you in control or is it?
2. Ask yourself what is the intent behind doing what you’re about to do...?
3. Be fascinated before frustrated
4. Curiosity before criticism
5. Don’t be afraid of silence.
6. Listen to understand, not to respond.
7. Practice open & honest communication
“More the knowledge, lesser the ego… lesser the knowledge, more the ego.”
Feel like your EGO is sabotaging you? Click here to find out how we tame the ego & get the best results for our members.