What is ego?
Depending on your level of cognitive awareness, you may or may not be aware that the being that you consider to be “you” is actually comprised of two ethereal parts. There is the “self” – the core being that represents the essence of who you are, that is driven by the subconscious, and operates on instinct – and the ego, which is your mind’s concept of who you are, shaped by your experiences.
The simplest way to define ego is: the lens through which your “self” views the world. Reality is delivered through the filter of your ego, weighed up accordingly against your existing belief system. Via this mechanism, the version of events which you perceive is not necessarily the actual reality of the situation.
Zen practitioners seek to ultimately completely eliminate the ego, so that they can exist in a state of “presence“, or oneness with the world. Without the encumbrance of an ego, they feel ultimately connected to everything and everyone around them. A similar feeling can be experienced when taking hallucinogenic drugs, which cause temporary death of ego. People who have had such experiences report a feeling of profound connection with themselves and the world, it frequently having lasting beneficial effects.
Realistically, this isn’t a practical way to live your life, unless you want to be high 24/7, or spend large portions of your time in anatomically unfeasible positions with your eyes shut, making “Ohmmmm” noises. Most of us have shit to get on with, which would be made somewhat difficult.
Why Does it Exist?
The ego exists as a self-preservation evolutionary mechanism. If most of us were fully aware of the harsh light of reality all the time – the fact we were ugly, had no friends, were poor, and were shit with women – we’d be so depressed we’d probably just sit in a dark room self-harming. Obviously, this isn’t particularly conducive to passing on your genetic material. Instead, the world and our view of our position within it is cushioned by our ego, which quickly works to rebuild a favourable view of ourselves when bad things happen to us.
The concept of “rose tinted memories” can be explained when considering it in the context of our ego.
Why Can It Be Bad?
Since your ego exists to preserve your positive view of yourself, it will stop you from taking risks, or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, in case the action goes badly wrong, leaving you humiliated, embarrassed, or socially ostracised.
It can easily be seen that this is the last thing we want when considering approaching a hot girl we’d like to hook up with, or quitting our jobs to pursue self-employment for instance.
Your ego will tell you pretty lies to make yourself feel better. “Don’t worry about not approaching that girl, you didn’t really like her anyway. And you know of course, if you did, you could have pulled her if you wanted to.” Face saved, ego preserved, reality avoided. “You didn’t really want to go for that high paid job anyway, you’re comfortable where you are, all your friends are here.” Face saved, ego preserved, reality avoided.
As you can see, an ego based on lies is a massive hindrance to getting where you want to in life. This is where probably 99% of the population exists most of the time. Think back to all your friends from the past, who vowed they would become a millionaire and fuck models, and are now working a shit dead-end job married to a fat, harping fishwife. They tell you they are happy? Do you think that their “self” speaking, or their ego?
The thing is, underneath it all, the “self” knows. You may be able to lie to others some of the time, but you can never lie to yourself. Why, in the quiet moments, do you feel a gnawing void in your soul? Because you are living a lie.
How Can We Make It Work For Us?
Wouldn’t it then be better if we could make our ego work in our favour, instead of against us? How can this be accomplished?
The first step, and the hardest – the step which most people simply cannot take, or take properly – is the most important. We must destroy our ego.
How can we do this? Simple, brutal, honest reality. You must stop lying to yourself. You must look yourself in the eye in the mirror, drop the bullshit, and just let loose on yourself. No, you don’t look “ok as you are” – you are out of shape, you’ve got shit hair and you’re badly dressed. No, you’re not “ok with women” – you’re awful, the only way you can talk to a girl is blind drunk, and you only sleep with ugly fat girls – or even no-one at all. No, you’re not “doing ok in your job” – you work a shit job, for low money, surrounded by braindead morons.
This might seem harsh – and it is. To strip away all of our layers of protection in this manner is to leave ourselves vulnerable the depressed, vulnerable state that is the very reason our ego exists in the first place. It’s not easy, and many people simply lack the intellectual honesty to do this fully. They might start the process, but their mind reels away from admitting the full extent of their own shortcomings.
Why do we want to do this? It seems masochistic. The answer is simple. Only when you have stopped lying to yourself, and killed your ego, can you actually then start to work on all the things that are wrong with you. Why would you ever take steps to improve your appearance if you think you are “ok as you are” (when you are not). Why would you ever go and study up on social dynamics and attractive behaviours if you can’t admit that are shit with women? Why would you ever quit your job and push for a better paid one if you think you are “comfortable”?
Self-improvement begins when the lies stop.
After the destruction of the ego has been achieved, only then can the work of value building begin. At this point, we begin to introduce positive habits into our lives. We start working out and eating healthily. We take a style consultation and begin to dress better. We take up evening classes to gain that extra skill that we need to push for that better paid job. We read up on male-female attraction dynamics and study evolutionary psychology by reading a select few of the better manosphere blogs.
As the months go by, and you begin to move forward in your chosen disciplines, incrementally improving yourself, you can look back and demonstrably see the progress you have made, and that you are becoming a more high value, confident person. At this point, you will find your ego returning.
But isn’t that bad? On the contrary. This time around – instead of our ego shielding our “self” with a web of pretty lies – having destroyed it and begun work on the rebuilding process, it is now based on fact. “I think I look pretty good” – because you do actually look good as the result of the months of work you’ve put into working out and rebuilding your warbrobe. “I’m ok with girls” – because you can think back to the last five girls you fucked, all above a 7 out of 10. “I’m doing well in life” – because you got that promotion as a result of your study, and you now earn more than all your peers.
At this stage, in constrast to the past where our ego would hold us back from taking risks to preserve the our fragile self-esteem, it will push us forward. “Go and talk to that girl, you’re a cool guy with your shit together and she’ll like you.” it will say. “Quit your job and live on your own terms, you’re too good to sit in this office and be ordered around by a dickhead manager” it will rightly point out to you.
And even when you fail – which you still will – it will come to your defence, with genuine, unarguable facts “Well, you must just not have been her type. You know you’re a cool guy, you’ve brushed up on your game, you look the part, the next girl will surely like you, and you’ve got 3 dates lined up this week anyway.” “Well, the job didn’t work out this time, but you’ve got a lot of positive qualities, you’ll get a better one in no time.” Instead of preserving our self-esteem with a fragile scaffold of lies, our ego is now preserving our self-esteem with the a rock-solid foundation of cold, hard truth. We have built value into our lives, and it acts as a permanent platform for the rest of your life, for kicking on and realising your ambitions, unencumbered by “bad” ego.
Your ego – from being a concrete block around your ankle, holding you back – is now a bulletproof vest, based on reality, protecting you from people who would drag you down, and preventing you from moping around when things don’t go your way.
Are There Any Pitfalls To This Approach?
Yes. The main one is the reintroduction of “bad” ego after you’ve made a little progress in increasing your value. Thinking that you are the dogs bollocks because you’ve managed to improve yourself a little. The key is to remain humble, which being able to recognise your positive qualities. So not “I’m ripped and awesome, I’m the fucking man” – when in actual fact you’ve only been working out for 6 months, and you’re still comparatively scrawny – instead “I’ve made a good start, I can be pleased, but I’m not where I need to be yet, and I need to buckle down and carry on working hard.” Not “I’m a fucking lothario, I can fuck hot girls” when all you’ve done is turn over a few low social value 7’s. Instead “I’ve improved, I’m starting to be able to bring the kind of girls I like into my life, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”
I’ve seen so many guys fall into the trap of talking themselves out of any further self-improvement after achieving just a little. “I’m awesome now, I don’t need to put any more effort into this.” – they say, as they bumble along in their state of “slighly above mediocrity”, petrified once more to face up to the fact that they’re not actually living the lives they dreamed of when they were young.
If you really want to explore your potential, and see how far you can go in life, you must never ever consider yourself the finished article. This doesn’t mean be down on yourself all the time. On the contrary. It means recognise how far you have come, and give yourself credit, but also be honest enough to admit there is still a long way to go.
There is always a long way to go. It never ends.