Ego: Tame It or It Destroys You -By Omotunde Davies

Filed under: Democracy & Governance |

Omotunde Davies


Just last Saturday, my neighbor came into my apartment, so weeping emotionally as she fell into my arms…feeling sad about how her fiance, who she’s been dating for over 6yrs, ended the relationship despite the fact that they were already planning for their wedding.

“What was the problem?” I asked in a very soft voice. “He said he can’t cope with my ego…he said am an egoist who only cares about herself alone,” she replied. With her head on my chest and hugging me so tightly, I rubbed my hands against her back as I tried to help sooth her pains away. Few minutes later, I asked for her car key and drove her to where she could catch fun and forget her pains, at least, temporarily.

Last night, she came to me asking my opinion about the word “Ego” and below are my words to her:

Ego is when self-confidence becomes arrogance; assertiveness becomes obstinacy; and self-assurance becomes reckless abandon. It’s when the notion of ourselves and the world grows so inflated that it begins to distort the reality that surrounds us.

Ego is that petulant child inside every person, the one that chooses getting his or her way over anything or anyone else. The need to be better than, more than, recognized for, far past any reasonable utility – that’s ego. It’s the sense of superiority and certainty that exceeds the bounds of confidence and talent.

Ego is the enemy of what you want and of what you have: Of mastering a craft. Of real creative insight. Of working well with others. Of building loyalty and support. Of longevity. Of repeating and retaining your success. It repulses advantages and opportunities. It’s a magnet for enemies and errors. Ego is that force that if not put in check, will suck us down like the force of gravity.

Ego is there at the root of almost every conceivable problem and obstacle, from why we can’t win to why we need to win all the time and at the expense of others. From why we don’t have what we want to why having what we want doesn’t seem to make us feel any better. But guess what? …we don’t usually see it this way. We think something else is to blame for our problems (most often, other people). We are more like the proverbial “sick man ignorant of the cause of his malady.” Especially for successful people who can’t see what ego prevents them from doing because all they can see is what they’ve already done.

With every ambition and goal we have – big or small, ego is there undermining us on the very journey we’ve put everything into pursuing. The egotist does not stumble about, knocking things off his desk. He does not stammer or drool. No, instead, he becomes more and more arrogant, and some people, not knowing what is underneath such an attitude, mistake his arrogance for a sense of power and self-confidence.

If ego is the voice that tells us we’re better than we really are, we can say ego inhibits true success by preventing a direct and honest connection to the world around us. To me, ego as “a conscious separation from” – a separation from everything. The ways this separation manifests itself negatively are immense: We can’t work with other people if we’ve put up walls. We can’t improve the world if we don’t understand it or ourselves. We can’t take or receive feedback if we are incapable of or uninterested in hearing from outside sources. We can’t recognize opportunities – or create them – if instead of seeing what is in front of us, we live inside our own fantasy. Without an accurate accounting of our own abilities compared to others, what we have is not confidence but delusion. How are we supposed to reach, motivate, or lead other people if we can’t relate to their needs – because we’ve lost touch with our own?

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you: your ego. “Not me,” you think. “No one would ever call me an egomaniac.” Perhaps you’ve always thought of yourself as a pretty balanced person. But for people with ambitions, talents, drives, and potential to fulfill, ego comes with the territory. Precisely what makes us so promising as thinkers, doers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, what drives us to the pinnacle of success, makes us vulnerable to this
darker side of life.

Just one thing keeps ego around – comfort. Pursuing great work – whether it is in your career or art or Business – is often terrifying. Ego soothes that fear. It’s a salve to that insecurity. Replacing the rational and aware parts of our mind with bluster and self-absorption, ego tells us what we want to
hear, when we want to hear it.

When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed; its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gas-lighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.

My aim for writing this piece is simple: to help you suppress ego early before bad habits take hold; to replace the temptations of ego with humility and discipline when we experience success; and to cultivate strength and fortitude so that when fate turns against you, you’re not wrecked by failure. And I hope it achieves just that.

Remember, neither me nor the other person is your enemy, your ego is. Always remember to keep it in check.

Have a wonderful day. I love you all.

Omotunde Davies