A recent article of an interview by Guy Kawasaki on the authors of a book called “egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability)” is a great read for anyone moving up the ranks of their career and other avenues of potential success in life.
Personally I find that a certain amount of ego is complementary to your professional reputation. One of the first answers in the interview suggests that if your ego has been boosted by success in the past, if one is not careful, that success creates the illusion that it was them alone that achieved that success. And the more publicly visible they are, the more they believe the headlines that attribute their success to just them.
I firmly believe that if you work hard on something and achieved success, your reputation will be increased naturally because word will get around eventually. So keeping modest and being humble of one’s success is not a bad thing at all. The author suggests that a potential combination of ambition, ideas, and healthy ego drives one’s success. So as with many things in life, finding the right balance is something one may just have to learn by making mistakes.
Several obvious tell tale signs of breaking the barrier to becoming an egomaniac that I found interesting in the article:
- Seeing someone you work with as a rival and think about how to beat them.
- Taking disagreement with your ideas personally.
- Compulsively following a competitors lead so they’re not doing anything you’re not.
- Criticizing competitor’s strategies and prematurely discard them as irrelevant.
- Disagreeing with someone’s point just because they’re the one who said it.
- Feeling worse about where you are when you see what others achieve.
- Seeking acceptance: desiring respect and recognition interferes with success.
So now you’re probably wondering what might be considered a “healthy ego”? The following interview excerpt might enlighten you:
Genuine confidence; confidence that doesn’t have to exert itself to prove it’s confidence. Healthy ego keeps us from thinking too highly or too little of ourselves and reminds us how far we have come while at the same time helping us see how far short we are of what we can be. But to understand what healthy ego is, you have to understand the relationship between ego and humility. For most people, tradition holds that the opposite of excessive ego is humility, when in fact having too little ego is just as dangerous and unproductive as having too much.
There are also those people who say that extremely confident and ambitious people can also show signs of being an egomaniac. I can’t argue with this idea either, but if you can balance the image of the ego with your humility and remembering how you achieved success in your life (if you started with humble beginnings), then you might just live a more harmonious life.