I have noted with interest and concern in recent years, a sharp increase in a terrible disease that can destroy individuals, projects and even corporations.
No one is exempt from this dastardly scourge and many of us have witnessed it’s deadly impact or been adversely impacted by it.
It is also highly contagious and we must be wary lest we become infected, caught up in its deadly embrace.
The disease is known as egofragilis, better known as fragile ego.
We all know about ego, the oft-explored, well-documented element of our psyche that provides us with the confidence to do what needs to be done and the cockiness to destroy it all in the process.
When we embrace and direct our ego appropriately, we create the opportunity for our unlimited skills, talents, strengths and abilities to create things that stagger the imagination.
When we allow our ego to control and direct us in turn, we nullify our opportunity to create these amazing things, limiting our results and the results of others to a small fraction of it’s ultimate potential.
If we allow our ego to be crushed altogether, we become a doormat to the world and feel like we have little of value to contribute.
Perhaps you have seen these symptoms (not a definitive list):
- A specific individual who needs to take the credit on a project and will do what it takes to get it, at the expense of anyone
- People who are afraid to admit they have made mistakes or are wrong, for fear of being perceived as weak, less intelligent or less capable in general
- People who are afraid to hire people who may be perceived as more intelligent or enabled than they are (even if the truth is to the contrary)
- People who are afraid to say “I don’t know”
- People who hide their self-observed weaknesses behind bullying or bravado
- People who insist on doing everything themselves, assuming that no one can do it as well as they can as they embrace the mantra of “if you want to do it right, you have to do it yourself”
- People who are so proud of their humility that they brag about it and highlight it constantly, unintentionally creating an excess amount of hubris, the very thing they brag that they do not have
- Conversely, people who martyr themselves at the expense of everyone because they feel that they are incapable of contributing anything of value.
The worst part of this terrible affliction is that while it is easy to diagnose it in others, it is not always easy to self-diagnose it in ourselves.
And that fact alone makes such a disease so dangerous, that we could become afflicted with something that could be destroying the potential of others as well as our own potential and we wouldn’t be aware that it is happening.
Never be afraid to stand up to ego when one sees it steamrolling over others.
But more importantly, be open to the suggestion that one’s own ego may be doing the steamrolling.
We can’t always improve the behavior of others.
However, we are accountable and responsible for our own behavior –it is something within our power to improve.
And since we are responsible for such improvement, we have an obligation to strive every day to be a better person ….
… including eradicating the terrible affliction of egofragilis.
Sometimes it takes a cranial defibrillator to fully get rid of egofragilis – but it’s worth it. :-)
In service and servanthood,
My Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Quarantine Area – Fragile Ego Present” can be found here.