Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ego is Not a Good Strategy for Success

"The ego is a false sense of self." 
~ Eckhart Tolle

Most of us learned that money, power, position and all that comes with it equals success. I am in the process of finishing a memoir that I have been working on since 2010. For those of you who write, the words "big deal" might roll off of your tongue. The writing process is long, arduous, research laden, and just plain hard, right? But does it have to be? Do any of our so-called successes have to come from a place of struggle? And more importantly, what is that struggle all about anyway? I would dare to posit, based on my own experience, that the struggle comes from the ego and not the work itself. 

What is the ego? Sigmund Freud, the father of the contemporary theory of ego divides the ego into three parts: The Id (primal desires, driven by pleasure, base nature - the wild child), The Ego (reason and control-the grownup self), and The Superego (the quest for perfection - adhering to moral standards by family and society). Carl Jung adds, “The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.” 

In my practice as a life coach, I have heard various reasons for pursing success:
            "I want to be free of my ex-husband paying alimony."
            "I want to make my mother proud."
            "I want to give back to the world."
            "I want to make money."
            "I want to be famous."

These are not necessarily bad things, but they are all things that stand outside of the self and will never completely satisfy our deepest inner yearning to know who we really are. I know many highly successful people who have the possessions and the status that success brings, but they are deeply unsatisfied and frantically continue the search to be whole. My ego created a false sense of why I wanted to write that trapped, paralyzed, and isolated my ability to freely express my deepest yearnings when all I really wanted was to find an expression to help me to fully know the self, or the divinity within me. 

Our work helps us to discover who we are rather than chart a measure of our worth. We find worth in the discovery of the soul's journey not the outer results. So when you're feeling the work is driving you instead of your inner desire to discover your true expression, close your eyes, take a breath, and let go.