I want to talk about something that I think is really powerful. It’s about empathy. There’s this concept of “are you going to choose to protect someone else, other people, or are you going to choose to protect yourself; your ego.” I think ego is this really hard concept that I know as a child, for me, I didn’t really understand ego. It was sort of this esoteric term, presumably bad. If I was focused on my ego, you know, I think as kids, we think ego is somebody who’s, um, arrogant, proud, um, thinks to hide himself or herself. Somebody who’s sort of snobby, right? There’s all these terms that we have identified with people that we believe to be focused on ego. But the truth is, is that we all have an ego. We’re all concerned with reputation, with our image, with what people think about us.
Are we good enough? All of that is wrapped up in ego and I absolutely was trapped in my own ego. And I have been for probably my whole life. One of the books I read a couple of years ago when I was sitting in county jail at the time was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. And in that book, he essentially deconstructs ego. You get to this point of recognizing that ego is certainly just one of those constructs that we’ve created to make sense of our actions and behaviors and decisions. In every moment we have a choice: If you can dispel it (ego), then you can actually think through how to behave in every moment. And that is really that we have the opportunity to either accept the situation, enjoy the situation that we’re in, or be enthusiastic about a situation.
There is no choice to be mad, negative, bitter, right? Cause all of that means that we’re stuck in ego and upset about the situation that we’re in. So this concept of are we choosing things to protect others or to protect our own ego really forces us as individuals to be accountable to others. And if we’re thinking from from the perspective of protecting other people, whether it’s a family member, a friend, a community, others in your organization, your clients, your customers, if we’re always thinking about others and how to protect them, versus just protecting ourselves. So protecting our image or our name or our bank account or our wallets, right? That in the long-term, we will receive a higher ROI not only as individuals personal fulfillment and hopefully financial fulfillment, but also as companies, the ROI will increase.
If we begin to think about others and how to protect others, that will immediately and automatically contribute to our brand recognition to our names, to our individual commitment to each other. So think about in every day as we’re acting as individuals and family members and parents and children and siblings and friends, but also as leaders, fiduciaries, board members. Think about how to protect others versus protecting your own ego. And I believe we’ll all begin to shift this paradigm to being in a better place where we can all have a higher level of emotional intelligence, a higher level of empathy towards others. So think of others, try to protect others over protecting your own ego.