The Ego's Control

The other day I wrote about anger and the effect it has on us. When we look at the situation further, we understand that the human ego is what drives us to behave in such a manner. If it wasn't for this simple mechanism, we would cease to get upset about that which we do.

To start, the ego is what pushes us to eat. We cannot survive without this crucial human component. It is the most basic of survival mechanisms. At this level, the ego is a helpful asset to be cherished.

However, mankind has a way of allowing the ego to get out of control. There are many names for it: vanity, false pride, etc... The bottom line is that we get into conflict when we allow our opinion of ourselves to become distorted. Harmony with our fellow man disappears.

People's opinion of themselves tends to drift towards one of two extremes. First, someone holds him or herself in very high regard. This shows through in the form of cockiness. Each action is done with the intention of showing you how good they really are.

The second way the ego gets distorted is by making the person believe he or she is worse than everyone else. Because of some past (or even present) conditioning, these people think that everyone in the world is a better person. These individuals continually put themselves down. Their belief system tells them they are worthless.

Each of these two situations is a gross distortion of reality. Everyone has worth, a tremendous worth. We each were blessed with certain skills. Nobody is completely worthless nor is there anyone who borders on perfection. We all have faults. Some excel in areas where others fail and vice versa.

The way to break the ego's control is to attempt to keep things in perspective. Much of what I write about on this blog deals with the perspective one keeps. To me, this is the essence of our existence. Whereas one sees lemons, another sees lemonade. One focuses on the crisis at hand while another sees opportunity. The perspective creates the reality.

You are just as worthy as the person next to you. There are skills you possess which are individual to you. Nobody else can do what you can do. At the same time, you cannot do what another can. That is the paradox of life. We each are not better or worse than others, simply different.

Adopting this mindset makes us realize that much of what we fret about is the ego trying to maintain its place. Anger is a weapon used when it is threatened. Overcome this desire by understanding that circumstances are no reflection of the person that you are. We all deal with things the best we can. Mistakes are made which provide an opportunity to learn. At the end of the day, your own comfort and happiness is what is important.
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Why The Anger?

Have you ever noticed how people carry around anger with them for years? There are those who want to carry things with them eternally. We see this with political people on television. This also arises when one refers to an ex. It always baffles me how bitter people are even decades later. Makes you wonder if the payoff the person is experiencing is worth the grief it causes.

Why are people so angry? It is crucial to remember that anger is the way that people typically mask fear. When they are angry, they are really covering for a fear they have. Throwing themselves into a stage of rage often is how they believe they are maintaining control. Of course, watch someone in this state and you will see how out-of-control they really are.

Anger comes out in many ways. One of the most common is in the form of negativity. We all have encountered those people who are pessimistic about everything. No matter how things are progressing, they will find the dark cloud. It is as if they go out of their way to find fault with everything.

Naturally, we find these people rarely experience moments of happiness. People who want enjoyment in life choose not to seek all the negative that exists. Here is a simple truth: everyone has bad circumstances. Nobody is exempt from the ups and downs of life. The difference is in how people respond to the situations they encounter.

Take the example of the person who is still sore at an ex-spouse after a decade of more. When is that person going to let it go? The sad truth is probably never (unless he or she is reading this). Holding onto a resentment plants the seeds of death. It is impossible to be happy when one harbors such hatred.

The bottom line is that many people had rotten parents, got into bad marriages, had bosses who were jerks, or were fired through no fault of their own. Get over it. Being angry at something that happened in the past is what children do. Yet, they have the uncanny ability to wipe the slate clean as soon as the next television show comes on. They let bygones be bygones.

Anger only offers the illusion of working. The bottom line is that the one who is angry is the one to suffer. Rarely is the one who is the target of the anger affected. However, the one who chooses to get angry always suffers.

A large part of my journey into growth was to overcome the deep-seeded hatred and anger I had for people and past situations. Certainly I was wronged many times. In fact, there are still circumstances where I get the short-end of the stick without provocation. Yet, at the end of the day, it is not worth getting upset over. My life is within my control. I refuse to allow someone else to occupy too much space in my head. This removes the natural inclination to devise schemes to get revenge. I move on with my life while learning a lesson.

Remember, anger kills.
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Take It To Another Level

This is a simple mindset trick that can radically alter the success that you have. Most of us operate at a default level mentally, energetically, and physically. It is most apparent when you watch the pace that people walk at. Most will go at something that is subconsciously comfortable to them.

One of the easiest ways to improve your life is to take everything you do up to another level. We often see this done in sports when champion athletes get "up" for the big game. It seems their talents rise to another level when everything is on the line.

You can do the same thing in your life. Most of what we do is segmented into different compartments. We have our work lives, followed by family, recreation, etc... Apply this mindset to each area will net us substantial results in general.

Let us look at exercise as an example. Most get into a routine and stick with it. Champion athletes chronicle how they often alter their routine to get maximum benefit from their workout. We need to do the same thing. Perhaps it is possible for you to enter the gym and quantify your exercise routine. Let's say that you normally operate at a level 5. You will see drastic results if you concentrate on performing at a level 7. This minor difference in effort will create a success rate that is higher than you were previously enjoying.

We can apply this to all areas. People who are successful operate at a different level. This exercise will help push you to a higher level. Try it for the next week to notice an instant difference.
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In 100 Years...

In 100 years, what will it matter? I heard this line again in a movie I watched the other night. This got me to thinking about all the trivial hangups we all have. Can, adopting this outlook, make a difference in the actions we take in our lives? I believe that it will.

Utilizing this idea allows us to look at the larger picture. Too often we want to focus upon the isolated situations in front of us. Fear, a constant within most people, prevents the taking of action. We are so scared to failed that we resist taking the action. In the end, we live a life of unfulfilled dreams and promises.

If we remembered this simple saying each time we are confronted with a choice, I believe that the chance of moving forward is greatly increased. People are more willing to accept "failure" if they know the outcome really does not matter. Isnt that true for most things in life?

Let me give you an example. What was the last thing that you were really upset about? Can you even remember what it was? Think back a few weeks to the time where you were really angry? What situation caused that anger to dwell within you?

Whenever I ask these questions, most people find out that whatever they were irritated with was not that important. Usually they understand that what seemed crucial in the moment is really inconsequential in the long run. Things such as spilled milk, lost items, or forgotten tasks rarely amount to much. However, what often is of consequence is the reactions we have to those situations. Our exhibition of anger will leave an impact on our loved ones.

Fear is a jailer that knows no mercy. Resist the temptation to give into it by understanding that things will not matter in 100 years. Rejection is something that only hurts in the moment. Long term, it has little impact on our lives. Yet an acceptance of our proposition by another often leads to a breakthrough. There is more gained in life by saying "yes" rather than "no".

This concept is all about taking chances. Realizing that failure means little in the grand scheme enables us to pursue opportunities without limitation. In 100 years, it won't matter. Therefore, how much does it matter now?
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