February 25, 2011

The Obstacle of Your Ego

Day 56: 24.3 miles/1:27

 “The ego would rather re-arrange furniture in a burning living room than leave the house.” ~ unknown

The one thing that I learned about ego is that it is our ultimate survival tool.  The more pressures, challenges and threats we face, the more likely we are to rely on the survival skills of our ego to save us.  The problem is that our ego is the one thing that prevents us from effectively sharing and engaging in a way that may actually save us from our distress.

I have been reminded more than once about my strong ego.  I confused that observation as a compliment.  The message that was being sent and not heard, is that “you have a very strong ego which  is preventing me from engaging with you at a level that we both can enjoy and benefit from.”

If survival is your goal, your ego can probably protect you to a point.  However, if you are looking to succeed and thrive in the face of a monumental personal or professional challenge your ego will likely destroy you.  I struggled with the attitudes of others when, faced with a calamitous experience, they weren’t receptive to the ideas, solutions, and insights of others.  These people seemed determined that they could find a way out of their mess on their terms.  What was getting in their way was their ego and their sense that others didn’t really understand what was going on.  Instead, they were relying on their survival skills to hang in there – in essence going nowhere despite all the opportunities to engage and flee disaster.

Especially under pressure, your ego and your survival skills are not your friend.  They are the programs in your head that will keep you in a burning house despite all the pleas for you to exit the building.  I have learned and continue to discover that being receptive, open, honest, authentic and humble provides me access to people, ideas, resources, and gifts never before realized.  The reason that I am enjoying these gifts is that I realized the role my ego was playing in my life at times of greatest stress and pressure.  While I believed it was the only way I could survive what I was going through, I have now discovered that my ego was actually preventing me from leaving the building and finding new resources and solutions to my very challenging issues.

If your house is on fire, leave the building and your ego behind.  There are plenty of great resources, ideas, and opportunities to not only survive but to forge ahead to greatness.

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.