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Monday, November 3, 2014

Catching Up A Bit

In which domain of your life has your ego most limited your growth?

Although it's clear ego has sometimes limited my musical growth, in that domain it is often difficult to make a distinction between how much ego has gotten in the way vs. how much innate musical talent I had to start. That lack of clarity does not apply, however, when considering the intellectual domain.

As a young man, my ego could not abide even non-showboating people who struck me as smarter than I. Out would come that silly sarcasm, the defense mechanism that screams "insecurity". Continuing through my late 30's, I rarely challenged myself intellectually. My interests remained narrow, reading choices were predictable, I did not actively seek out people much more accomplished than I - like I sometimes would with musicians - ego kept me complacent. In the 90's I went on a long diet of only non-fiction which continued through my Graduate program. Noticing the end notes and research cited in all those books was my first genuine wake-up call. By then it was 1998 and I was approaching 50.

It would be nice but untrue to claim the last fifteen+ years have seen a wholesale shift. The biggest difference is I now know I'm nowhere near as smart as I once thought I was. And though there's time left to catch up a bit, I am now smart enough to know that won't occur if I continue holding onto ego. At least that piece seems to have sunk in. What has been your richest insight about ego vs. growth?
   

4 comments:

  1. The smug hubris of deceit; considered myself way too good at dissembling to detect when I was the object of it...

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  2. Curiosity killed the cat, but 'twas vanity swallowed its entrails.

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  3. When I became a parent thirteen years ago, my sister, who is eight years older than me, had experience she was more than willing to share. I can recall shrugging any and all advice from her, even the advice that I knew to be sound, just because... My ego would not allow her words to become part of my parenting experience. I'd have to give the accuracy of the timing more thought, but it probably wasn't until my number of children passed hers that my ears were allowed to be open to her wisdom. Perhaps the ability to discern what was helpful for me as a mother did not come until I had the shared experience, and this played into my willingness to listen as well. Calmed the ego, so to speak. d.

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    1. d; Interesting parallel, you vs. I. Though I'm the oldest of four, both my younger sisters had two children prior to the birth of my only child. And though they never offered much advice to me as a parent, they probably wanted to. Both of them however are smart enough to know how that nasty ego of mine would have (likely) shut down me listening to them anyway. Thanks for your several comments over the last few days. And good luck with that half-marathon - I did just one of those in my life and that was enough, thank you.

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