To move beyond ego, and become an effective leader, you must engage with your superego and soul, so as to achieve a high degree of self-awareness. Without an evolved self-awareness, it is just about impossible to be an inspiring leader. Also, because it has been shown that those with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) tend to be more altruistic than others, improving self-awareness will also make you more generous, more considerate and more interested in others, thereby earning their greater respect. This allows you to get past the ego and align with superego so that your soul can come shining through.
Practical Steps To Escape Egocentrism
Achieving the level of self-awareness required to overcome the ego and avoid egocentrism requires consistent and persistent application. However, if you have negative thoughts that are holding you back, you can change them. To do so, take as many opportunities as possible to ask yourself if some particular emotion and its related feelings or thoughts you are experiencing are moving you toward your goals. The more you do this, the more likely you will be able to make powerful, meaningful changes in your life. Here’s a checklist of things you can do:
1. Observe and analyze. Take time to ask yourself where your thoughts and emotions are coming from. Take them one at a time and decide whether the particular thought or emotion is serving you. Ask also if another thought or emotion might serve you better. If it’s a negative thought or emotion, do this:
• Determine exactly what it was that caused you to react the way you have. Give a name to the event.
• Think about the meaning you have given to this event, and why. What was it that made it negative for you? Give it a name.
• Identify your current feelings and their related emotions resulting from this event.
• Locate the place in your body where you are experiencing these feelings and emotions.
• Replace your initial determination of the cause of the event with alternate meanings, whether negative or neutral or positive. Think about which of those is the more likely.
• Choose the most attractive alternative meaning to act from.
• Identify the new feelings and their related emotions based on your alternative meaning you chose earlier.
• Embody (determine the place in your body where you are experiencing the sensations) the new feeling. This will allow you to change your mood. Because you have chosen something positive about it, this shouldn’t be hard to do.
• Disperse or let go of the old initial negative feeling.
• Take whatever action is warranted by your evaluation and new feelings and emotions.
• Feel proud of yourself for having used your emotional intelligence skills to make progress in becoming the best possible version of yourself.
I call the above-listed steps “decoding of your emotions.” My clients have found them transformative and useful because they help them to evaluate, change and cultivate powerful thoughts and emotions and make altruism a habit. Here are some other things you can do:
2. Evaluate and change. In the process of examining your thoughts critically, it’s essential not only to observe and identify them but also to evaluate whether they are serving you. This part of the process is critical because it empowers you to keep the good ones and to discard the bad ones. This is where your superego comes in. With its moral compass and aspiration for higher values, the superego can play an important role in making sure your values and empowering beliefs are in alignment with your actions.
3. Cultivate powerful thoughts and emotions. Pay particular attention to times when you feel that your feelings and thoughts are true and are serving you. With practice, the decoding of your emotions and their triggers will allow you to more easily cultivate alternative meanings for the same events. Choose the thoughts and emotions that energize, motivate and move you toward your goals.
4. Make altruism a habit. If the ego is self-centered and focused on benefits to the self, altruism will be minimized. It will not tend toward the laudable goals of doing things for others without regard to benefits for the self. Always be thinking about moving from “me” to “we.” I call this focus problem-centered. This happens when you focus on a problem that other people will benefit from, not only you. Altruism is a sign that someone may be less egotistical than others. It’s a habit to cultivate to lower the volume on the ego, which can often be unhelpful when it comes to achieving our goals and feeling fulfilled in life.
The higher value of altruism can not only enhance your personal journey but also help you make the world a better place. Our goal is not to make ourselves disappear entirely, but to find a balance between self-interest and altruism that brings out our best natures. You will see the difference when you approach the world focused on helping others and listening to your soul by being aware of your impact on others and staying in alignment with your own values.
This is where boosting your emotional intelligence can help. By regulating your own emotions and decoding your own and those of others, you can access your creativity and fuel your best intentions. Imagine the light of your true self radiating out toward others instead of always trying to feed an insatiable ego. With self-awareness, objectivity and humility, you can identify the ego clearly and thus gain the freedom to project the voice of your soul.
This article was originally published in Forbes.
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