How to Keep Your Ego in Check for 2014


With 2014 not too far away, Ihope you’ve got some exciting plans in place for your personal growth and development.

However, there is one factor, which might try and stop you in your quest to increase your confidence, your performance or whatever it is you want to do – your ego.

No big deal though. This is what the ego does. It tries to protect you from danger and risk.

However, many times your ego doesn’t really help. Below are some situations where your ego might get activated, along with tips on what you can do:

You’ve not been able to change so far, so why try now?

Here your ego is telling you why even bother? And it has good intentions, especially if you’ve never tried pushing yourself. Your ego is trying to get you to believe that you’ve been the way you are for too long, you are stuck with it and you can’t change. It tries to keep you the same, and is comfortable with the way you are. It thrives on this.

However, what your ego leads you to believe is false. Because as soon as you start to do things differently or behave differently, and experience that you can change, you can doubt your ego. This is obviously something it doesn’t want, so it will try and hold you back.

You suddenly think you’re better

You can also go to the other extreme and make so much progress you think you’re better than anyone, now.

If you’re ego becomes too large, then it’s useful to remember where you were and where you’ve now got too. Life wasn’t always easy for you. Why suddenly think you’re better than others when you know what it feels like to be in a bad place?

You become too focused on competing

A dose of competition can do wonders to get your motivation going. However, if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others and believe you don’t have as much money as that person down your local gym, or your colleague is better than you at making sales etc. then your ego has taken over.

Remember, people will always be better than you. Unless you’re playing in a team based sport, then the clue is the name – personal development; personal meaning keep your progress personal and compare only to yourself.

You don’t want to help others

If selfishness creeps in, then your ego has taken over. It has become all about you and self-gains, and anyone else doesn’t even get a look in. Beware as you now risk not being able to nurture your existing relationships and developing new ones.

It might be worth reminding yourself just how much your relationships with others helped you to get to the stage at which you’re at.

The day you stop wanting to help others and only think of yourself, is the day to actually go out and do something for someone else, without expecting anything in return.

You can’t stop talking about yourself

Don’t get me wrong. Being able to talk yourself up is important. If you don’t, no one else will.

However, avoid a bragging frenzy and don’t forget to find out about other people, who are important and also want to share their stories and achievements.

My friends, it’s over to you:

• In what other ways might your ego raise its head in the New Year? What can you do to help yourself when it does so?
• Please share your valuable views, experiences and thoughts in the comments box below.
• Please also share this post on your favourite social networks. Thank you.

Photo Credit: dullhunk

  1. Hi Hiten

    The fight between ourselves is a constant one. We either think too much of ourselves or not enough.

    We either lack confidence and try to talk ourselves out of something brave or believe we are better than others. Finding a happy medium… to stay confident enough and yet humble.

    I think I constantly battle the lack of confidence or that I am not good enough or smart enough. Past experiences hold a lot of that lack although they are not accurate. Yeah, our ego keeps trying to protect us from failing, but that is also not an accurate assessment.

    Too bad we got this dialogue pumping away in our brains. How far we could soar if we could only silence it.


    1. Hi Mary,

      What you wrote in your comment is so true. There is an inner fight that goes on within us. As you said, we either lack self-belief or we can become over-confident. There is a fine balance and it is this happy medium as you described it, which can be tricky to obtain. Being conscious of what is happening inside us in such circumstances is a start, at least.

      I can resonate with you wrote about experiencing the ‘I’m not good enough or smart enough’ feeling. It creeps up every so often. I do what I can to become objective to the feeling so that I don’t associate with it. You’re right. What we could achieve if the negative dialogue stopped would be tremendous.

      Many thanks for adding so much more to this post, Mary. Have a great festive season!

  2. Hi Hiten,

    Lovely post indeed 🙂

    I think having a little ego is important so that we have some kind of a self-esteem and confidence level, while if we have too much of it, it will surely get to our head and not allow us to be humble. A perfect blend is what we ideally need, which Mary also mentioned above.

    We often see people talk either about themselves all the time, or the word ‘I’, which is SO often used in all their words, which just makes them very self-centered and egoistic people. Yet, at certain times to prove your point, you need to do that too – but it has to be within limits, isn’t it?

    You raised another important point about not having changed earlier, so why now, something that most people think because they become used to a certain habit or being the way they are. I think there is no age, nor the right time to change yourself. All you need is the will power to do so, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead, and congrats for yet another book as I see on the right sidebar 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post, my friend.

      You are so right. A certain level of ego strength is very important to have from a healthy self-esteem perspective. Indeed, as you and Mary stated, a balance is what is best. I think being aware of our ego and how it impacts us can really help in making effort to achieve the balance.

      Absolutely, Harleena! ‘I’ is the ultimate word used by the ego and those who use it the most are usually quite egoistic. This in itself can also be ok, as long as people also ask others about themselves.

      Indeed, I can really appreciate what you said about people being resistant to change because of habits. I think it can be useful to look at difficulties with changing being caused by habits, because habits can always be changed! As you quite rightly said, change can happen right now should we will it to.

      Thanks very much for adding so much more to this post, Harleena! And thanks for the words of congratulations for the new eBook! 🙂

  3. Hi Hiten,

    I must say you have written about an interesting topic, I think most of the times people don’t even know that they have an ego problem. They only feel that people don’t like them because they are superior than others.

    I personally believe that apart from focusing on your goals, you should also make sure that you keep good relations with people. This will ensure your success and also help you to get support from the right people to continue your growth.

    1. Hi Bharat,

      I just loved what you wrote in your comment! Your are so right. A lot of the time people don’t even realise their egos are causing problems in their life and their relationships.

      One really begins to see how much their ego affects them when one gets into self-awareness. What you said about keeping good relations is so important. Our networks are vital for our success and we shouldn’t forget them.

      Many thanks for commenting, Bharat! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  4. Ego can definitely be a issue.. sort of a twist on your #1 is New Years resolutions. People often make half assed “resolutions” without any real plan or idea of HOW they are going to make a habit change fail. Then when it inevitably does they just jump on the “New Years Resolutions never work” bandwagon.

    1. Hi SJ,

      What you wrote about New Year’s resolutions is so true. I agree when goals are not set in the proper way, New Year’s resolutions just won’t work and then people will complain that such resolutions are a waste of time. I wonder just how much the ego gets involved in coming up with these types of conclusions!

      Thanks so much for commenting, SJ. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Ahh the ego – our mortal enemy. Always picking at your faults whilst simultaneously not letting you truly improve either. Both the devil and the angel on our shoulders – bickering and debating without the insights to convince you to act on your desires.

    The only way is to say ‘yep, thanks for your advice Mr Ego, but please shut up and let me do my thing.’

    That’s how I plan to deal with it next year, anyway!

    1. Hi Jamie,

      What you wrote about the ego really does sum up what it does! It eats away at us by bringing our faults to the fore, yet doesn’t want us to get any better!

      Jamie, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to use a similar sentence to yours and tell my ego to be quiet next year, too! I loved it and thanks for sharing your technique.

      Have a great weekend!

  6. I love the first and second points – two extreme ends, both equally damaging. I suppose they could be helpful, in certain situations (discourage us from taking too many risks?) but we have to be in control.

    I do agree with your point about competition. We should be competing against our past selves, but the world doesn’t exactly encourage that, does it? Take for instance: schools. They send the wrong message when they only award and praise only people who are in the top (what about others? Isn’t participation/trying more important than winning something?).

    Plus, too much obsession with numbers (does getting a better grade mean someone is smarter than me? Not necessarily..but that’s what schools are teaching).

    As for helping others, I suppose we have to make it clear who ‘others’ are…helping family/friends is ….you help them because they are family/friends. Are they truly acts of selflessness?

    I think helping strangers is the real selfless act. But, we aren’t really good at that, are we? If we were, shouldn’t malnutrition (and lack of basic needs) be solved by now? It’s not that we don’t have any resources to solve those problems, right?

    Great points, anyways 🙂 Thank you for sharing them, Hiten!

    1. Hi Jeevan,

      Many thanks for your wonderful comment, my friend.

      I’m really glad you could resonate with the first two points. As you pointed out, they are both opposite extras, yet are most damaging. Our attitude becomes healthier as we move away from the extremes and closer towards the middle. I liked the positive aspect of the ego stopping us from taking too many risks. I never looked at it like this before and thanks for sharing.

      What you wrote about competing is so true. The healthy way is to compare to our own progress, yet society doesn’t encourage this at all. Ever since we are school, we are taught to be competitive. Again there is nothing wrong with competing. However, the ego is firmly behind our competitiveness and as it can get insecure easily, it can cause problems to our confidence and self-esteem unless we actually understand the workings of the ego. Indeed, there is too much importance given on numbers. However, in the process, substance, which lasts a person a lifetime can often suffer.

      I can really resonate with what you said about helping others and how it depends on whom those ‘others’ are. As you quite rightly said, helping strangers is the ultimate act of selflessness. Absolutely, we certainly are not that good at it. Most of the time we get caught up in our own lives, yet there are so many people suffering in the world right this moment, some are just around the corner from us.

      I just went over to your website, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to your launch in the year, Jeevan! Thanks once again for commenting, and hope you’re having a good weekend.

  7. Hiten, Although ego can deliver a self-confidence that we need in our daily work, there is always a danger of extremes. If our ego hurts others by putting them down or holding them back, then we have gone too far. If our ego hurts ourselves because we do too little or too much, then we may need to re-balance. Self-reflection, self-awareness, and true listening to others will help us use our ego in productive, meaningful ways. Thanks! Jon

    1. Hi Jon,

      What you wrote about ego delivering self-confidence, which Harleena also alluded to, is very important. Without a certain level of ego strength our self-esteem can negatively get impacted.

      Indeed, the ego seems to cause most problems at the point of extremes, as you explained in your comment. Ah, Jon what you wrote about self-reflection, self-awareness and proper listening was wonderful! These are the best ways to see our own egos at work, which then as you said, enables us to use our egos in healthy and productive ways.

      Many thanks for commenting, Jon and for sharing some wonderful insights! Hope you’re having a good weekend.

  8. Hello Hiten,

    What an interesting post. I think one of the main ways my ego causes me problems is in my desperate need for other people’s approval – I know it’s something that becomes ingrained into us, but it can cause such misery and anxiety. So I try to remind myself that it doesn’t really matter what other people think – it’s not the be-all and end-all – and to be guided by what I know is right, rather than by concerns about other people’s opinions.

    And I try to laugh at myself when I make a mess of things or think I’ve made a fool of myself. I often call to mind Anthony de Mello’s take on the “I’m OK, you’re OK” mantra – he turned it on its head and liked to say “I’m an ass, you’re an ass” – which is very liberating, when you think about it 🙂

    Thanks for another thought-provoking read, Hiten.

    1. Hi Sue,

      I’m really glad you found the post interesting, my friend!

      Many thanks for sharing your experiences with regards to seeking approval of others. I can so relate to this myself, Sue. It can cause lots of misery and worry. I used to be serial approval seeker, mainly because my self-esteem was so low when I was younger, and I believed I needed to get people to like me. It was only when I got into self-development and I began to let go of the need to get approval as my own confidence grew, that I was able to deal with this issue. Although, even now, my natural inclination is to ensure people are happy and this has helped me tremendously in my career when doing sales and building rapport with clients.

      As you said, it doesn’t really matter what other people think. I also like to tell myself that life is just too short to be worrying about what other people think at the expense of not doing what we need to get done.

      Many thanks for sharing the humorous approach when you’ve goofed up, which all of us do! And you’re right, it is funny and we should celebrate our mistakes as card carrying fallible human beings!

      Thanks for leaving such a wonderful comment, Sue! Hope you’re having a good weekend! 🙂

  9. Hello Hiten,
    I would love to quote your words “Being able to talk yourself up is important. If you don’t, no one else will.”
    I have never any write-up like this talking so positively about something called EGO. I never thought that keeping an EGO might also lead to help sometimes and not every time.
    I have seen people making the biggest mistake and blunder in understanding the difference between ego and attitude.
    They often misunderstand our attitude with ego and end up fighting and throwing sarcasm.

    1. Hi Charmie,

      Many thanks for your comment, my friend!

      Indeed, we certainly do need a strong level of ego strength so that we have the confidence to take on challenges and to believe in ourselves.

      The trick is to notice when our egos get too big and then take action to do something about it.

      Thanks for joining the discussion, Charmie!

  10. As always a thought provoking read Hiten. Since I am all too human I am sure there are times when my ego gets in the way, and I will confess to a certain leaning toward competitiveness. But most of the time my issues relate more to questioning my abilities and fighting off the negativity of perfectionism that cause me to constantly second guess myself. I’m not sure which is worse, but the ultimate goal remains the same … finding a middle ground of authenticity and vulnerability.

    1. Hi Marty,

      Indeed, I can certainly relate to the experiences you share and in particular the point you made about perfectionism. I used to be a serial perfectionist and even now, can at times go back to perfectionist tendencies. One way I’ve tried to deal with this is to understand that my perfectionism is a fear of not being good enough. As it’s a type of fear, I can choose to ignore it.

      You’re spot on, Marty. The ultimate goal really is finding the middle ground of authenticity and vulnerability. Many thanks for sharing this.

      Thanks very much for adding to the discussion here, Marty.

  11. I think all the major things you mention in the post,

    — Thinking you’re better than others
    — Focus on competition
    — Not helping others

    Arephrased in a bit of a negative way.

    I’d think the majority of people struggling with self-esteem or success aren’t GOOD ENOUGH at these things and actually NEED to get more of “an ego”.

    Sure, there’s such a thing as getting a big ego, but I think the majority of people would benefit more from being a bit “selfish” and “competitive”. Especially in my native country Sweden.

    1. Hi Ludwig,

      Indeed, you are spot on. For those struggling with low self-esteem, building up of ego is exactly what is needed. Even for a person with a healthy self-esteem, a level of ego strength is needed to maintain confidence levels.

      I think it’s useful to be mindful in those circumstances where one’s ego gets so big, that one begins to experience insecurity and feelings of having to be better than others, in order to maintain one’s own value.

      Many thanks for commenting, Ludwig. Have a great week ahead!

      1. Indeed. One might go so far as to say that having a large ego is a luxury problem in some cases – at least if it’s based on success.

        You as well!

  12. Yes not being enough allows our unhealthy ego to so often stops us being who we are here to be. I believe once we love from within truly , have a healthy self esteem then the negative side of the ego can go on holiday 🙂

    1. Hi Suzie,

      It’s wonderful to see you here!

      I just loved what you wrote in your comment. You’re so right. When we love ourselves truly and value ourselves, our self-esteem rises and our ego’s concerns of not being good enough can subside.

      Many thanks for commenting, Suzie! Hope you’ve had a good start to the week! 🙂

  13. Keeping my ego in check by striking a balance seems to help me. There is that fine line between too much and too little.I sometimes feel I overcompensate with my concerns for other people, so that I don’t pay enough attention to what I need. Some people are very comfortable focusing on themselves, while others concerns themselves on everyone else, but themselves. It’s finding that middle ground that is the challenge. You’ve brought up some thought provoking ideas in this post. Thank you. Well done!

    1. Hi Cathy,

      What you wrote in your comment makes so much sense. Like you, I’ve too often am concerned about others at the expense of what I need. I’ve had to work on this one a lot and continue to do so.
      As you quite rightly said, achieving the balance is what is needed. However, creating this balance is challenging because unless we are mindful, our ego really can cause havoc.

      Many thanks for commenting and for adding some wonderful insights to this post, Cathy!

  14. “then the clue is the name – personal development; personal meaning keep your progress personal and compare only to yourself.”

    That phrase made me think. I realized that true personal development is like what you said.

    Maybe in the earlier phases of personal development, people are actually learning about ‘personal development until the point you are better other’. After they reach that point that they think they are successful, then will true personal development came to be as the ego is satisfied but not the other part of us – ourself.

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