The Ego Diet: The reason you resist change

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Let’s face it. Our biggest obstacle to change is what is staring back at us in the mirror.

The main force that feeds us misinformation and prevents us from changing is our egos.

We are afraid we will be humiliated and our ego will be bruised when we we fail.  

As a result we settle for keeping it safe, we do the safe things, things that will insulate us from failure. Unfortunately keeping it safe is no longer safe anymore.

It is easier to fit in and be like everybody else. When I’m wrong, we are all wrong, then the humiliation is bearable because it is shared with everyone around.

Your ego is the factory where narrative fallacies are manufactured, preventing you from doing what comes first in creating change: confronting reality.

“Why haven’t I approached that girl yet?” Your ego does not want you to feel rejection.

“Why haven’t I started that businesses, wrote that poem, recorded that album, shot that video?” Because if I fail, my ego will be bruised and I will humiliated for the rest of my life and choke to death.

“Why haven’t I emailed that person I would love to work with?” Your ego is afraid that they would actually say yes.

“Why can’t I stop [insert bad habit here]?” Because then you would actually have time to, you know, do something.

Of course, there are systemic and personal issues at play here, but your ego plays a large role in helping you create excuses that prevent you from taking that painful first step.

We are all afraid of change. It is on us to fight our ego every step of the way.

Life is there ahead of you and either one tests one-self in its challenges or huddles in the valleys in a dreamless day-to-day existence whose only purpose is the preservation of an illusory security and safety.

People who are more concerned about their image, their brand and their ego, are likely not to take risks. Taking risks exposes your image, their brand and ego to danger.

You see failure, bruises your ego, the more you fail, the more your ego is bruised. The more you are rejected, the more your ego is hammered.

But let’s say you go on an ego diet and eliminate your ego. The more you fail, the more you learn, and the more you grow.

Get rid of your ego, it is holding you back.

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The Ego Diet: Knowledge and ego

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It was Albert Einstein who said more the knowledge lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge, more the ego. I have realised this statement through my own journey as well.

Einstein’s equations of “Ego=1/Knowledge simply means:

“More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the ego.”

Knowledge and ego are directly related. The less knowledge, the greater the ego

Egotists pretend all that they are all that, humility acknowledges all that we are not.

We all possess the same reptilian brains so none of us is free of the temptation to be egoistical. Experts, to protect their self-esteem, are more frequently tempted to protect and preen their feathers.

Other professionals such as politicians, journalists, teachers, engineers, lawyers, and physicians etc. are also more prey to egoism.

When you learn a little, you feel you know a lot, but when you learn a lot, you realise you know very little.

There is no much danger with little knowledge, maybe this explains the behavior of arrogant politicians. They think they know a lot, hence the ego, while they actually know little.

Socrates once said: ‘One thing only I know and that is I know nothing at all’

Our quest and thirst for knowledge will leave you extremely frustrated. Each new thing you learn will lead you to another new thing, and another, and so on.

The more you uncover, the more remains hidden, that needs to be sought out and exposed. It is ultimately impossible to know everything. That is what makes life so fascinating and humbling.

Learning is a life long journey as well as a spiritual path. The more you learn the more you realize how much you don’t know and as a result you humble yourself.

The true measure of a man is the degree to which he has managed to subjugate his ego.

Next time you encounter someone with a King Kong ego, remember what it means about their level of knowledge.

That arrogant politician who thinks he is the sharpest knife in the drawer, that professor who is an intellectual snob need the ego diet.

The King Kong ego can be cured by going on a ego diet.

If A is a success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. [A = X + Y + Z].

Where:

X is work,

Y is play, and

Z is keeping your mouth shut. 

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The Ego Diet: The magic word

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No, it is not “please.”

It is “ego.”

Lately, I’m noticing that people crave for crave for affirmation, praise, love, approval, compliments the same way a smoker craves for a smoke break every hour.

I meet a lot of confused entrepreneurs, and the primary cause of their confusion is that they believe that money equals motivation.

They believe that people will choose the best value.

That people will buy what they need.

That the best products and services will spread because they deserve to be talked about.

That employees can be persuaded to do things by paying them more and that consumers will buzz something if you reward them with cash.

That he who has the most money, win.

This is true. Every once in a while.

It is true for people who deep down equate money to ego. This tiny subset of the population really and truly keep score via cash. They are rare indeed.

We are constantly on the lookout for someone’s real motivation.

We don’t understand why someone would volunteer at a charity or take a lower-paying job or recommend a cool new CD or post something on their blog. “What’s in it for them,” we wonder.

Here in the world capital of capitalism (yes, I just made that up…) People have fallen in love with the idea that money can feed the ego.

Almost all the time, that is wrong.

Since this is a post about ego, let’s talk about… me. I smiled the other day when I read a review of my blog. It said (paraphrasing) “Like many authors, Roche blogs to be popular and hopes to sell more books through his blog.” Wrong. Actually, I write books so that more people will read my blog.

I don’t blog to make money, most of the time, I blog for myself. Just like writing a journal of thoughts, my blog is a journal of my thoughts. Later on my I revisit these thoughts and connect the dots.

I don’t blog to make money. I don’t run ads on my site. I don’t even blog to win awards. I blog because it pleases me to see my ideas spread. I like it when I see people talking about one of my ideas, without even mentioning where the idea came from. That means it’s the idea that spread, not my brand. Which is the whole point.

For me, anyway. Not for you or for her or for him.

And that is the tricky part about marketing to ego. Everybody feeds their ego in a different way. The art is in telling a story that matches the ego-outlook of your target audience.

The next time you are in a meeting and someone pulls out a spreadsheet, realise that you are about to hear about money/value = ego. That is fine. But what about everyone else? Ignore the rest and they will feed their ego somewhere else.

Needing fewer ego-boosts gives you your mind back to focus on your priorities, making the best use of your options and opportunities.

A leaner ego diet also makes you less gullible.

Like a kid with a sweet-tooth who can be lured into danger by anyone dangling candy, people who need lots of praise can be readily manipulated. The hungry are soon eaten.

When you are hungry for praise, it shows. People can tell you crave to hear. They will sing your praises until you are feeding out of their hands.

When your ego-appetite is tamed, you are put in solid possession of your soul, your life and what you want to do about it, less distracted by your need for approval.

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Today’s reality

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Big house; small family

More degrees; less common sense

Advances medicine; poor health

Touched the moon; neighbors unknown

High income; less peace of mind

High IQ; less emotions

More knowledge; less wisdom

Multiple affairs; no true love

Lots of virtual friends; no real friends to hang out with

More alcohol; less water

Lots of humans; less humanity

 

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Dear Entrepreneur…

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I see you.

I see the sleepless nights, the doubts you work so hard to overcome.

I see the days and months you go on without getting paid.

I see those moments you sit in your car staring at the yellow light telling you that you have run out of petrol and you wonder and pray to reach home.

I see those moments you have to swallow your pride yet once again to ask for money from your family member, yet once again.

I see those tears alone in your closed office, when everyone thinks you are the boss-lady, and deep down you know that business has been so bad, the bank just repossess the car.

I see the frustrations you get when a client delays that payment you worked so hard for and that was your last hope for the month.

I see your trembling hands when you are making that all important pitch of your life, you poured your heart and soul into it and you can only pray that all goes well.

I see that moment when you get that letter that says your application was not successful.

I see those moments where after countless failures, you start to question and doubt yourself.

I see those moments where people don’t trust that you will deliver quality service.

I see those moments where your friends are progressing and acquiring things and you are still stuck on making sales and getting clients.

I see the hustling, the grit and determination that keep you going.

I see the incredible dreams you have. For yourself. For your family.

The longing… the incredible longing for greatness.

You want to leave a mark on the world. To create something that is yours.

I see the days filled with split testing, market research, content creation… How time begins to run together after a while.

I see the exhaustion, the gratifying exhaustion after you have worked into the night to prepare your next launch.

I see how driven, intelligent and strong you are. The incredible strength you possess.

I see the fear that tries to creep in, while you are on this crazy roller coaster ride.

I see those moments when you make a difference in someone’s life through your business, doing work that matters.

I see how it bothers you, that your family and friends don’t understand. How can they? They have never lived a life like this!

They have never risked it all to pursue their dreams. Maybe they never heard the call for more… Or maybe they just never answered it out of fear.

But you did. I did. And I see you.

I see what drives you… Purpose. Desire. Freedom.

You were meant for more, so much more.

So chase your dreams, relentlessly. Never be ashamed of your drive and ambition

You are going to make mistakes, trip and fall, pick yourself, dust yourself off, raise your head and face the world.

Celebrate the wins and learn from your losses.

Just. Keep. Going.

You are making your mark. Your time is now.

The world needs more people like you. You’re brave. You’re changing things. You are MORE.

You are an entrepreneur.

You matter.

And I see you.

With Love,

Roche

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Dear Entrepreneur…

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Rejection will form a big part of your business life, learn to deal with it.

The question is not whether you will be rejected, but when.

Your application will be rejected, some organisations will not even have the decency to send you a reject letter, they will just keep quiet and not respond and you will have to read between the lines.

Developing a thick a skin is a necessary part of the journey.

If you crumble every time you are rejected, you may have a long way to go, entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted.

It is a myth that everybody will say yes to you, it is also a myth that everybody will say no to you. Your job is to look for those who will say yes.

When someone does not say yes, they will often give you a reason.

A common trap: Believe the reason.

If you start rebuilding your product, your pitch and your business based on the stated reason, you are driving by looking in the rear view mirror.

The people who turn you down have a reason, but they are almost certainly not telling you why.

Fake reasons: I don’t like the color, it is too expensive, you don’t have enough references, there was a typo in your resume.

Real reasons: My boss won’t let me, I don’t trust you, I’m afraid of change.

By all means, make your stuff better.

More important, focus on the unstated reasons that drive most rejections.

And most important:

Shun the non-believers and sell to people who want to go on a journey with you, you owe it to them to give your best shot.

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Dear Entrepreneur…

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Stop looking for validation. Just keep going, someone you don’t know is rooting for you. Don’t worry about those who aren’t rooting for you.

As social creatures it is nearly impossible not to care, on some level, about what people think.

It is a core human desire to be accepted, acknowledged and loved.

But on the other hand, caring about what others think, especially about how you look, dress, talk, write, who you love, how you behave, decisions you make or what you do for a living, makes you a volunteer for a caged life of misery and mediocrity.

Lao Tzu said it best here:

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. – Lao Tzu

I think it’s AMAZING that you have the chutzpah to start a business at your age (at ANY age!), you should be totally encouraged.

There will always be people who don’t get it, but as a good friend of mine recently said:

“I respect that is their choice to think that way as much as I respect it is my choice not to.”

Don’t work hard to prove anyone wrong, don’t look for the day everyone gives you applause. People pleasing hides the real you.

On that day, the day that everyone notices your work, approves and lets you know, then what will happen?

We spend an incredible amount of time and psychic energy planning and working for that day, but why? It will never arrive, and even if it does, it’s not clear that anything special happens.

Perhaps the approval of every person in the entire world doesn’t need to be the goal of your work.

It seems to me that you should only care about the opinion of those that are actually open to buying your offerings.

Shun the non-believers.

Do your work, your best work, the work that matters to you. For some people, you can say, “hey, it’s not for you.” That is okay.

If you try to delight the undelightable, you have made yourself miserable for no reason.

It is sort of silly to make yourself miserable, but at least you ought to reserve it for times when you have a good reason.

Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice. 

Don’t trade your authenticity for approval.

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Talk < Listen

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Listening is important.

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

A good conversation starts with good listening.

When you are in the secret place praying to God, don’t get in a hurry to leave the secret place when you are done talking.

We meet regularly with God, present our wish list to Him, and then get up from the place of prayer forgetting that God wants to talk back.

Prayer is not a monologue but a dialogue.

God’s voice in response to mine is its most essential part.

In most cases we do a great job of hammering out our needs before God’s throne, but not a good job of waiting to hear God’s response.

We are good at talking, but not in listening.

God talks to us all the time, through his word, through visions and dreams and through other people.

It is when you are still and silent, that you will hear him.

When you talk, you can’t listen at the same time. The more you talk, the less you listen.

The less you talk, the more you listen.

We leave the secret place too quickly, most of the time without hearing His voice.

Spend more time in the secret place, just listening more than speaking.

Sometimes the greatest speaking you will ever do, is in the total silence of your behaviour.

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Unsocial Media: Our obsession with me

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The numbers alone tell a powerful story of self-obsessions. More than 80 million photographs uploaded to Instagram every day, more than 3.5 billionn ‘likes’ every day, and some 1.4 billion people, 20% of the world’s population, publishing details of their lives on Facebook.

Is social media turning a relatively modest species into a pack of publicity-hungry narcissists? Or were we already inherently self-absorbed?

The internet is all about giving you a stage and giving you an audience, and that is one way it can bring out and magnify narcissism.

In a world where people want other’s approval, social media has created a perfect platform for people who attention to shine.

If you have a boring profile, you will get no likes. But if you post something revealing about yourself, or something provocative, then you get more likes.

People with 5,000 followers are constantly thinking about what they are going to post next to get a reaction of their followers.

 

It is not our outward behaviour that we need to concentrate on, we need to look inward.

We need to examine what is missing at the heart of people. What is really missing inside of us that we need validation from the outside world.

It is rare for people to put themselves in other’s shoes, to empathise with others in a world where people see others like items in a vending machine, using them to service their own needs, never being able to acknowledge that others might have needs of their own, still less guess what they might be.

Much of our distress comes from a sense of disconnection. We have a narcissistic society where self-promotion and individuality seem to be essential, yet in our hearts that is not what we want. We want to be part of a community, we want to be supported when we are struggling, we want a sense of belonging. Being extraordinary on social media is not a necessary component to being loved.

How about taking a photo of someone [Youfie] who just did something amazing and share it on your social platform.

How about celebrating others more.

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Unsocial Media: And Weapons of mass distraction

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Your professional success depends on your ability to focus intensely and to produce things that are rare and valuable.

You can do this by intensely focusing and honing your valuable skills.

Social media tools are designed to be addictive. This then results in fragmenting your attention as far as possible throughout your working hours.

There is a growing amount of research that tells us that we spend large portions of our day in a state of fragmented attention.

You can’t be the best in the world with fragmented attention.

We spend large portions of our breaking our attention to get a quick glance on your timeline.

This can permanently reduce your capacity for concentration and reduce your capacity to be the best in a competitive economy.

If you lose your ability to concentrate, you will become less competitive in the economy.

Today humans have a shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones.

According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer.

The average attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds. Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.

Ours is a distracted nation.

It’s like our concentration span is limited to 140 characters.

People can’t concentrate on reading a full article anymore, they scan the article and if it is long they don’t read it, they just scheme through it.

People don’t have the patience to concentrate for long periods of time because we are used to constantly checking our phones for messages and those beeps.

Social has stolen time we could be spending honing and perfecting our ski….. Wait! what’s that sound on my phone… another message, a retweet, a like… who is it? I wonder, let me check, 100 likes? wow, a retweet? by that celebrity oh my god… [your heart is pounding with excitement]… concentration gone.

You produce average work because you are constantly distracted, your attention is fragmented.

When everybody is on social media, value is going to come from those who are busy concentrating on perfecting skills outside social media.

Ps: Deliberately make this article short so as to increase the chances of reading it in full before you quickly check your social media message that just came in now.

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