Quiet Your Ego
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If your ego is too loud, it stops you from reaching your goals and having a happier, more fulfilling life.
That’s the message from Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at Columbia University, in an insightful article published in Scientific American.
Kaufman defines your ego as, “that aspect of the self that has the incessant need to see itself in a positive light.” He claims that, “the more the ego is quieted, the higher the likelihood of actually reaching one's goals.”
His views are shared by Mark R. Leary, the author of The Curse of Self. Leary observed that “egoism” can “profoundly affect people's lives, interfering with their success, polluting their relationships with other people, and undermining their happiness.”
Kaufman and Leary advocate self-awareness and reflection. Both are essential for reaching your goals. Problems arise when our egos are so “noisy” they actually impede the goals we are trying to achieve. Kaufman puts it this way: “A noisy ego spends so much time defending the self as if it were a real thing, and then doing whatever it takes to assert itself, that it often inhibits the very goals it is most striving for.”
Instead of adopting a defensive posture in an effort to prove you are “right,” and being concerned about self-enhancement, Kaufman suggests you quiet your egos, which will foster a sense of well-being, health, self-esteem and other benefits.
Having a quiet ego means being less concerned about getting across your point of view and more concerned with identifying with the experience of others. Instead of dominating a conversation, show your interest in what others are saying. Not only is your behavior a form of kindness, it will be perceived by the other person as being compassionate.
Tips for implementing
Those with quiet egos have a “detached awareness,” which permits them to see both sides of an issue. They are open to reexamining their thoughts, positions and beliefs.
They have an “inclusive identity.” They are cooperative and compassionate toward others, rather than focusing on themselves.
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Why it’s important
Success as an advisor is largely dependent on your ability to make an emotional connection with prospects and clients. A “noisy” ego leaves little room for focusing on others. Your bandwidth is absorbed by a preoccupation with yourself – how you are being perceived, your views on the issues, your background and expertise. The list goes on…and on.
When you quiet your ego, you appreciate it’s not about you. It’s about your ability to focus intensely on your prospect, client, loved ones and colleagues.
On a macro level, Kaufman observes, “I don't think it's an overstatement to say that the cultivation of these skills in our society would lead to greater mental health, useful reality-based information, as well as peace and unity among humans.”
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