We envy birds so much, our egos have rationalized our decisions to hold them captive in cages. We do the same to our minds. Our minds are naturally unbound, yet our egos need for validation acts as a self-assigned cage.
If you intend to have pride in yourself for working hard, you must also prepare your pride for the times when you will fail hard. It’s inevitable. Embrace it!
Multitasking seems to be something we boast as a talent. The more we can juggle or balance the greater our capacity for success. But, consider this: with every new “thing” we take on, are we doing so to more clearly define who we are or only what we do? When it comes to the core of our identity, what’s more impressive: a lengthy description or a succinct definition?
The extra wants a speaking role. The speaking role wants a bit part. The bit part wants a supporting role. The supporting cast want the lead. It’s the energy we put into what we’re doing now that matters, because the reality is that there will always be higher demand for extras than leads. If we fail to shine as the leads in our own lives, it’s because the spotlight is continually succeeding at lighting our shadows.
The best thing in life to get the better of is the desire to better than the best. That’s an external drive with (at best) only momentary validation. The internal drive to be better than you were yesterday so you can be your best self today is renewed every waking moment. That’s sustainable, even on days when it feels unrealistic. If you can vanquish the desire to be anything more than the best you can be in the moment, you’ve defeated the worlds greatest rival…the Ego.
Support is temporary. The habit of supporting people when they aren’t in need will only support their inability to ever stand on their own. That approach is hurtful rather than helpful, and truly only serving your own ego. Avoid turning selflessness into a selfish pursuit of validation.
If your instinct is to first throw yourself under the bus before anyone else, the likelihood of a helping hand being there to pull you out of the wreckage increases tenfold.
There are two young children, both of the same height. They are standing on a playground, when one parent hands one of the children a balloon. In this moment, just like in the cartoons, the balloon begins to lift the child off the ground, much to their delight. Now hovering a few feet off the ground, the elated and elevated child looks down at their friend still firmly planted on the ground and comments, “Look, I’m taller than you!” The grounded child replies, “From where I’m standing, we’re still the same height, you’ll realize that soon enough,” as they bend down to pick up a pebble, hurl it towards the balloon with sniper’s precision, popping the balloon. Only having been a few feet off the ground, the no longer elevated child’s feet are back on the ground, utterly aware of how their perception was off and how accurate not only their friend’s aim was, but insight as well.
Our purpose is threefold: Remember where we were, compare that to where we are and choose wisely about where we want to be. In past, present and future thinking, ego will paint with rose-colored strokes all our innocence – covering up all the hooks we’ve let ourselves off of with angelic wings. Humility is a homeless, wingless angel.
What we do daily is the result of how we think about our choices. When that little voice in our head speaks wisely, we tend to say less, yet our words carry more weight. When that voice amplifies our egos instead of our purpose, we tend to speak too much adding little value to any conversation.