If you look at the work Jim Collins has done in Good to Great - i think one of his key points is that the shift from level 4 to level 5 is when what happens when a strong leader i working towards a higher purpose. In short when Ego means I am doing this for me it is possibly not the healthiest way but when strong ego is applied to a higher purpose beyond that ego then it is a great driver of results - so once again we are back to purpose. Level 4 is often unhealthy ego while level five is healthy ego
The Power of Ego
by Randy Gage
As you know, I’m working on my next book. Right now it’s a chapter with a intriguing premise: that ego is good.
There is a fascinating section in The Master Key to Riches where Napoleon Hill lists the items required from the periodic table of elements to construct the human body, and estimates what it would cost to buy them. Even with today’s inflated prices, you can probably still replace yourself with less than twenty bucks.
Or at least that housing that you’re walking around in. So what really separates you, from that $20 worth of ingredients from the science supply store?
I would say consciousness, which leads us to a yet even more fascinating question: What makes us conscious of consciousness?
Your ego is what separates you from all the elements that make up your physical body. Yet conventional wisdom says the ego is bad. Ego has been characterized as everything from “Edging God Out,” to running amok, to actually being the devil.
Yet when you look at Hill’s magnum opus, Think and Grow Rich, a captivating realization jumps out at you: The people he did his powerful twenty-year study on, the most successful people in the world – all had strong egos.
From Ford to Firestone, Wrigley to Wannamaker, Alexander Graham Bell to Edison, Charles Schwab to Andrew Carnegie, Woolworth to Rockefeller – these were powerful, strong-willed, confident people. People with healthy egos.
Fast forward to some of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Meg Whitman, Michael Dell, Ross Perot, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and Carly Fiorina.
Have you ever heard any of them accusing of being egoless?
So what do you think? Is the ego good or bad? How do we harness it for good? Please share your thought below.
You're right in that the people you described have never been called egoless. But that's probably because the general society conflates ego with ambition. Also I think what spiritual teachers are talking about isn't ego as it's defined in the dictionary. The way I understand ego as say, Eckhart Tolle talks about is, is unconsciousness - in any area of our lives. So, Carly Fiorina may have a healthy competitive drive (=ego to general society) to build big companies, but do I really know what she's like in who she is as a person? How enthralled she is about her life? Does she come home after a long "successful" day and yell at her husband and kids? I don't know. Does she get childishly upset every time her husband (I don't even know if she has one, and I'm just picking on her cuz she was in the list) looks at another pretty woman?
Ego is about who a person is in the deepest part of themselves, when no-one is looking. Most uber successful people do have a healthy competitive ego for success, but there's more to life. Just sayin...
And before anyone thinks I'm picking on successful people, I think it takes a freaking humongous, sick ego to remain a victim in life.
As always, you provide some thought-provoking perspectives here. My first instinct was to comment that the difference is EGO vs SELF-CONFIDENCE … BUT when I look up the definiton of EGO it reads:
noun ( pl. egos )
a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance: a boost to my ego.
• Psychoanalysis the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. Compare with id and superego.
• Philosophy (in metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject.
Synonyms: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-image, self-confidence.
So as I sit here on a Sunday morning, with furrowed brows wondering "Are they really one in the same thing?" — 'they' being EGO and SELF-CONFIDENCE — my mindset shift is now telling me that generally speaking society has ascribed a negative connotation to this word » EGO. And rightly so, I believe that more often than not, people get "caught up" in their EGO and that causes them to take selfish actions rather than selfless ones.
However, I also believe that our EGO or SELF-CONFIDENCE should be used for carrying out our Purpose and I believe that our Purpose is always of a selfless and serving nature. That being said, it's the ABUSE or MISUSE of our EGO that is negative — not EGO in itself.
I am most definitely an advocate for developing SELF-CONFIDENCE — it's a vital characteristic to carrying out our Purpose — and now it looks like I'm PRO-EGO hmmm? I have to reflect on this one…
*whew* HaHaha thanks for giving my brain a workout this morning! LOVE it… ;-)~
Had to come back to add more thoughts… LOL
The difference to me is having a selfless EGO vs a selfish EGO. The word in itself isn't bad — just like money in itself isn't — it's the motive behind it that makes the difference. Yes?
Here's a thought shared by my FB friend Stephan…
"We have to be mindful of not allowing the ego to lure us toward negativity or lust as opposed to positivity and ambition. Negative thoughts feed the ego as easily as good ones. I agree with his analogy of how the word has been portrayed, intention is where the rubber meets the road as in all things."
Alright Randy Gage, you got me good with this post! Thanks for always stimulating our minds and shifting our thinking to a higher level of consciusness…
Randy, I think that Ego is diferent to self confident. From my point of view, Ego is focus on be right, an self confident is focus on result. Ego is about how the people watch in me, how the think about me. You cab be a looser with an big big Ego, I know a lot of them. In this point, my dear Master, I am not in your way. Love you. JP
@Juanisagel I like your thought process here JP. The difference to me is the humility factor.
We can most definitely be confident without allowing it to go to our head. I believe the difference is the motive behind the confidence -- is it for adulation? or is it to serve?
I'm still pondering this subject…
I'd have to say the ego is obviously good. Because I'm of the belief that there is only a source for good. So if the ego weren't of value then why would Source Energy, Christ Consciousness, God or the Universe (whatever label works) continue to create new egoec perspectives, right?
When we say "the Universe is ever expanding" I don't believe we're talking about an ever reaching blackness reaching farther and father into nothingness. I believe the idea of the Universe ever expanding is every time I have a new idea, the Universe just expanded.
The value in our egoec perspectives is that I'm the only one who can offer this particular perspective to the One Mind that we are all individualized expressions of. We have no secret thoughts. And desires are "of the father" so we're really of the most value to "others" when were following our own desires.
Proof the ego is of value? Babies being born.
p.s. I couldn't figure out how to spell egoec... egoic? Everything I came up with the spellchecker told me was wrong. Even playing around on the net for spell checkers they all kept trying to give me the word "ego" back. Am I making up the word? If I speak it in a sentence it sounds right... <laughing> Any guidance on that would be appreciated.
Ego is a tricky thing, RG. To me, it can be harmful if the individual isn't harnessing the right energy in using it. A "healthy" ego competes with itself (the person) only. It's when that energy is cast outwardly - judging and criticizing others - for not being better or having more, or on the flip side, for being better or having too much - that it becomes harmful territory. In my opinion, a person with a healthy ego knows that their gifts are just that, gifts - and at any point, it can easily be taken away. One thing I noticed about all the people you named above - is that they each gave themselves to their gifts, and used those gifts passionately to serve other people. That further lets me know that if we don't put our ego in check - when it's insisting that we are better, or pouring on the hateraid because we think someone else is better (personal problem, if you ask me) - we will never reach our fullest potential or the prosperity that you write about here. Awesome topic! Thanks for presenting it. :)
Just yesterday I posted an article on this subject on my own blog:
The ego is like the warninghts in your car:
You can think of them as bothersome so you choose to ignore them which will bring you in to trouble;
You can love the flashing lights and do whatever you can to make as many of them flash which will bring you in trouble;
Or you can choose to see the ego for what it is; a warning light which indicates that something is wrong.
So stop when your ego manifests itself and find out why it does!!
There's a distinction to be pointed out here where ego, confidence and self esteem connect. I sincerely doubt we can have healthy egos if we have poor self esteem. However, I have met many people who come across with a strong ego, when in fact they're incredibly insecure.
And in order to have a healthy ego, it would seem we must be in touch with our Truth, which in turn can nourish the ego. I think the ego is very important for all of us, especially those who live with vision and purpose. The statement "I Am" is very strong and can only be firmly made if we are connected with ego and are confident.
And like all qualities there are some who go a bit overboard too. I don't think driving a Viper, Ferrari, Lambo or Rolls is a statement of ego. Instead it's a healthy expression of abundance and self worth.
@Jonathan1 I agree with that last statement. But most people see driving a ferrari, lambo or what ever as a statement of ego.
I think we call it "megalomania" - which is another word for BAD ego. History showed-up with some examples.This is why it became so negative.
But me, I also grew up with the info to build a healthy ego, a supporting ego, an ego which doesn´t damage you nor others. It´s a fine line on which we dance and it´s positive thinking & success which leads us to the healthy friendly ego, I guess!
Most people automatically think if someone has a huge Ego they are a narsistic rude selfish person. having a healthy ego exudes confidence, strength and power. There is a huge difference between the two!! The real question is can a person exude the healthy ego! That's what draws the line between the successful people and the failures.
@Barbara godfrey If someone is able to back up what they say, then they are confident, not arrogant.It is indeed possible.
Great topic for discussion, can't wait to see who jumps in and has a new twist to share. My personal experience has been that I first had to become aware of the ego part of myself and how the childhood wounds were creating my reality.
Once you bring that to the conscious awareness it's then about healing, having a healthy balance between ego and spirit and always checking in to see if the ego is acting out old wounds since it is the conscious part of us that send the information to the subconscious mind which is impartial, it merely takes in and programs thoughts and feelings.
Can't wait to read your new book, thank you so much for sharing the skills and wisdom you have learned
If your ego wants you to drive a viper. You have to become a more succesful person to get your viper. So i think that's not bad.
Ego is good, when you have an ego you're confident of your internal power to achieve, accomplish, protect, and solve any problem. My EGO is my faith and belief in what I know lies within me.
My first thought was "ego is bad, it separates you from the 'source', OSHO tought to cast away the ego...".
My second thought was "Randy says 'healthy ego'... ok, maybe". But I can't continue my thought without one simple detail -- what do you mean by the word EGO? What is it? From your works I can infer that ego is the guy that says "Hey! What about me?". Also people are different, brought up in different cultures.... different languages... this leads to misunderstanding. So... what is ego?