There was a job to be done which my immediate boss and I took it upon ourselves to finish. From the concept to the planning and up to implementation we did it all and it was well-done. Although my contribution was more than his, my boss took the whole credit and it passed not only under his name but with a photograph as well. He did not give me any credit even in private. I was furious.
Later, in a reflective mood I wondered why my blood boiled? The answer came from within: my ego was hurt. Perhaps I wanted to hog the limelight. My mind started thinking about many situations we encounter at workplace or in our relationships. I came to the conclusion that most of the conflicts arise due to ego clashes.
Egoistic person suffers from self-obsession and boastful arrogance. His prime motivating force is self-promotion and self-glorification. By not getting importance for the substantial contribution made by me neither had I become small nor my stature diminished but I still fumed. I fail to realize that although my hard work was not recognized, I had not only gained knowledge but was also spurred inwardly to pursue the task further. I inferred that the need of my superior to remain important was greater than that of mine.
Ego survives on getting attention all the time: it needs constant feeding. Egoistic people get motivated by a spirit of competition and always want to win over the situation. They wish to continue to dominate and if required they will unhesitatingly intimidate others. Their only aim is to control without bothering about betterment. So long as their fake self-image keeps getting propped up they feel superior but when their ego is starved they suffer from inferiority complex. In either case they are robbed off their peace of mind. The problem with egoistic people is that they think they are always right and others are wrong. They often turn dictatorial wanting complete compliance, without realizing that blind obedience does not instill commitment. On the contrary freedom given to individuals to think and innovate generates enthusiasm to pursue personal and organizational goals. Egoistic persons become vindictive and revengeful. With all this they are drained off the energy that brings excellence. They feel threatened from inside and hence get obsessed with showing off to maintain the pretence of being one up. As a result they remain stressed and are not able to concentrate meaningfully on any complex situation. They begin to cut others to size. They become prey to flattery and hence are unable to take considered decisions. Consequently the institutional atmosphere becomes suffocating where nobody can express his opinion freely. People cannot remain committed and hence are unable to give their best.
If I had remained shackled to my ego I would have continued to be in a state of agitation but when I transcended my sense of ‘I’ my mind became calm and I was able to concentrate on the job at hand. It, then, dawned on me that ‘ego is the real enemy within’. It is a destructive emotion. People of intrinsic worth need not try to be page 3 celebrities as they are already page 1 stars. The unsung heroes of our society – be it an impoverished farmer working to build a school , a doctor working in the rurals, a soldier dying as a martyr, or a teacher in some remote hills who is tirelessly striving to make a better world – they all transcend the ego – the I, me, myself attitude and lead pure and honest lives.
In today’s media dominated world a large majority of people is in the pursuit of looking and being visualized in a certain way so that (s)he is lauded by the public. Individuals of true merit are focused on resolute purpose. Ego-filled persons will invariably have strained relationships. They will never be at ease. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we rise above petty self-images and think from a broader perspective. Let us continue to evolve to a little higher level of being. It is through this awareness alone that we can lead a tension free, serene and worthwhile life.