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Monitoring the ego

Just over a week ago my wife and I went to the Gold Coast to pick up a new (used) car (that one in the picture above) and drove it back down to Canberra. It’s a lovely ride, and I’ve really been enjoying the experience and the feeling of driving it around. It’s exactly what I was hoping it would be. But I’ve also been thinking about how my ego feels about all this…

Some people really love the emotional high they get when their ego is being stroked by other people. I don’t. And I don’t relate to those who embrace it, who become egotistical narcissists, parading themselves and their fancy items for everyone to admire. As a result, I’m strongly motivated to avoid having others feel the same way about me, which means I’m often monitoring my own behaviour to make sure I don’t fall into the same patterns.

Back in the mid 90’s when I used to run a spiritual development group, one of those who attended called me a guru. I was horrified! I didn’t consider myself a ‘guru’, and I didn’t want to be elevated as someone special. As far as I was concerned, we were all students and teachers to each other, and none of us were any more special than any other. All I was doing was facilitating spiritual growth in others, but I was facilitating my own at the same time. I was learning from them and my experiences with them while they were learning from me.

The labeling of me as a spiritual guru was just one of a number of things that occurred around that time that made me decide to move away from a spiritual path and focus on a different path. When people felt that I was better than them, I was completely uncomfortable with that and ended up changing my behaviour that caused them to feel that way. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea that I’m better than anyone else, or that anyone else is better than me.

On a side note, this is why I have significant problems with many of our social and legal policies and attitudes today that attempt to elevate any group of people above any other group of people. It annoys me when people think any person or group of people is better than any other person or group of people. The same goes with religions, philosophies or ideologies that make anyone better than anyone else. There’s nothing about them that I like.

But back to the topic.

The concept of ego has always been something I’ve been interested in. Back when I had my performance car, the Ford XR6 Turbo, I ended up feeling very powerful.

My ego was being affected by it. I’d enjoy the occasional street races (up to the speed limit, of course) that I would win 9 out of 10 times, but the feeling of superiority was having an effect on my behaviour, and on my licence – I had somehow lost 11 out of 12 points on my licence, and unless I did something drastic, I could see myself losing it.

I recognised my ego was enjoying itself more than I was happy with, and so I decided to sell the car and got a much slower 4WD to completely change my life. This had also been influenced by a vision I had where I was enjoying the view of watching the sun set out in the desert while sitting next to a 4WD, so there were a few different influences on me to change what I was doing.

Today, as I’ve changed my life again by getting a luxury vehicle to replace the the 4WD, I’m reviewing where my ego sits in the choices I’m making. Some of my blog posts recently have been part of this process of self analysis.

With ego being a part of who we are, it’s like yin and yang, black and white, good and bad. It’s all part of the energy that we are, and even though it can sometimes inspire destructive choices, we can also use that energy positively to drive our choices.

The dark and the good side of the force exist within us, but it’s up to us how we let it influence us.

It’s ego that motivates career ambition. It’s ego that motivates friendships and relationships. It’s ego that needs to be liked and appreciated, and it’s ego that needs to be successful in our careers and in our life choices. It’s an essential part of who we are. But while being essential, it also needs to be controlled, to be kept in balance with those other essential parts of who we are.

So every now and again I review who I am, and how my ego plays a part in my life choices and behaviour, in order to seek and maintain that balance. I understand ego is important with my ambition and my goals in life, but I also understand the need to keep it controlled so that I don’t become the kind of person I dislike.

When reviewing the choice of having a BMW versus a standard car, I know that ego is involved in this. It’s because I want the luxury and comfort that a luxury car brings me. I want to relax in my driving, take it easy. I can also see that after the hard time I’ve had this past few years (emotionally and financially), I want to feel rewarded for what I’ve been able to achieve in my life. This choice is a gift to myself, and a gift to my ego, which has been hammered a bit over the past few years.

There have been other influences on my decision, of course. When coming back recently from our holiday to Ayers Rock and the off-road drive along the Oodnadatta Track, I felt that I had done the most challenging and enjoyable off-road adventure I was likely to ever do, and in my heart I knew that I didn’t need or want to do anything like that again. (Disclaimer: at least not at this time in my life!) As soon as I felt I wasn’t going to use the 4WD for its purpose any more, there was no need for me to keep it. If we get a 4WD in the future, it’ll be my wife’s daily driver which can be used to go off-road if we ever want to.

The other major decision influencer for me was that managing the tyres is pretty stressful when you have to understand tyre pressure, how it’s affected by temperature change, and how the pressure affects the tyres and their ability to handle offroad terrain. I was monitoring the tyres most of the time we were offroad, making sure they were at the right pressure for the terrain. It was stressful because I didn’t want to get a flat tyre. Those tyres are really large, and having to change a flat tyre would hurt my back. I had a repair kit with me to repair an ordinary puncture, but if the sidewall was cut, it’d need to be changed. And what if you get more than one tyre with a destroyed sidewall? I only had one tyre….

So the BMW means I don’t need to worry about that as it has run-flat tyres, which means if they get a puncture I can still drive on them (carefully) to the nearest tyre shop and get them fixed or replaced. Much less stressful, and better for my back!

So my fitness issues have been an influence on this too, with everything coming together to result in a car that’s better for my current life and lifestyle.

But I’ll still be monitoring the ego to make sure I don’t become ‘that guy’ who no one likes.

Thanks for reading! Please add your own thoughts below.

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