MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS | 2017 EDITION | VOLUME 19
Perspective is THE force multiplier of a healthy ego. And one that must always be sought after.
Without it, all one has—and brings—is a defensive, unhealthy ego. Smug and incapable of self-correction. Easily triggered. And like heavyweight boxers being knocked out, their fall, thunderous.
Perspective puts one more in touch with reality. Elicits humbler, holistic, nuanced global view. And makes one a more evolved, urbane, clued in, responsive, and responsible human being or leader capable of weaving through complicated circumstances and avoiding bad judgment calls or strategies.
Lack of perspective, meanwhile, means the preponderance of incompetence and bad judgment.The toxic overconfidence of unhealthy ego lures one into a rigid, distorted, insular worldview that is hostile and intolerant to new ideas, people, and things. It is detrimental to personal growth and fulfillment despite financial, professional, leadership, or success. In it's other manifestation, you get self-obsession, indecision, procrastination, lack of preparedness and self-doubt hiding in a sea of excuses and wishful thinking. And the rich insights Ryan Holiday and Addicted2Success founder Joel Brown discuss above, as well as the bonus with School of Greatness founder Lewis Howes (further below) bolster my building blocks to a healthy ego outlined in Keys To A Healthy Ego 1.
America today, for example, is gripped with the restlessness, stress and embarrassment of electing a President with a toxic ego. They—indeed the world—never know(s) what they'll wake up to next.In Japan, millions of dollars worth of cash and other 'Lost & Found' items are turned over to Police Stations by upstanding citizens, who had to take ethics and morality courses in school.
Yet it takes a Mainland Chinese humility to park the egoistic effects of a lifetime of censorship and indoctrinated Han Chinese nationalism to learn from Japanese society. Just as it takes a self-centered American content with the madness of a Two-Party political system humility to question the over-incarcerated, gun/crime-infested, racially unequal, over-policing, militarized and corrupt police society we ignorantly if not hypocritically call “democratic” and “great”.
Not knowing and/or caring for example that in Communist China, police are less concerned with stopping and frisking people, harassing drivers over broken taillights and the sort of minor offenses coupled with structural abuse of power responsible for thousands of wrongful deaths, imprisonment of minorities and those too poor to afford “quality” counsel, and the disintegration as well as disenfranchisement of entire families and communities. As one Eritrean observer noted:Lack of perspective, in other words, is why Americans are dangerously culturally incompetent and laughably ignorant and “don't care” despite the USA's reputation as a diversity melting pot.
It explains why active Voter Suppression and bigotry are major platforms of the Party that elected the 45th President—however dubiously—to execute an aggressive anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and gender inequality policy.
Despite liberty and respect for the U.S. Constitution being hypocrites' claim to Christian ideals.Indeed at the heart of Christian families and Muslims' own failure to equitably deal with intolerance, fundamentalism, Jihadism as well as the denigration of women, is unhealthy ego.
Similarly, from rich to broke, people live in Loserville their entire life because of habitual willful negligence of uncomfortable inconvenient truths requiring honest, bold, ethical resolutions.
And speaking as a Black man, precisely that state, and the lack of perspective it engenders, is the source of the dysfunction you see throughout America, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and struggling or dysfunctional economies and homes.
Conversations are not being had, and action is not being taken, because egos involved are too big. Too self-righteous. To self-obsessed. Entrenched in a sea of ignorance (such as why it's a bad idea for Black people to live in racist India or for forget how many thousands risk their lives to make it America), people lack critical transformative perspective. A fact found in the White male-dominated corporate world, too.
From the brainwashed Mainland Chinese content that a good economy—however dubiously founded—to the conceited American yet to learn the wisdom of Chinese national unity and political decisiveness as keys to rapid, stable, and more equitable growth. To the clueless African convinced he's welcome in racist Asian countries (China, Thailand, Indonesia and India as above) due to corrupt African leaders signing away natural resources in return for little, —including ridiculously stringent visa policies. To the Black American clown on Social Media ignorant of all the above, —including how his actions reinforce negative stereotypes globally, exposing Black people to more indignity.Stereotypes that provide one more excuse among many, to suppress or in the Chinese government's case, block major Black movies with Black lead actors in Chinese theaters. Even in 2017. A reality absent, by contrast, as far back as 2002 when I lived in Eastern Europe.
A perspective-balanced ego educates one about how we contribute to a more dangerous world.
A world where billions of people are being deprived by repressive governments—with the nerve to tout Cyber Policies—from discovering our shared humanity through a free web and media. Where otherwise good mainland Chinese come into discussions well-informed. Where Fox News doesn't abuse its freedoms in America to spread hate, misinformation, fake news and thus divide America.
It takes courageous personal responsibility to drag one's ego from the darkness that is lack of perspective, to a heightened state of awareness. And until then, all one has is the filter of smug hypocrisy of so-called Christians bearing no resemblance to Christ (Matthew 25:40-45). Even if accomplished, reputable world and business leaders and ordinary, otherwise good people.Ego is a self-deceptive bubble naive, willfully ignorant and arrogant people who in fact are weak, choose to live in. And here, there are two important points Demosthenes makes worth noting:
Therefore, if knowledge is information, and wisdom is application, as Myles Munroe said, then a person's ego is healthy, and their perspective evolved proportionate to the level of courage. For, whether it is the calamitous fall of Ronda Rousey—a former UFC female champion woman once delusionally albeit seriously considered by millions of fans including some “experts” as capable of beating boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in a ring—or dictators like Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, or Eqypt's Hosni Mubarak or even Slobodan Milošević, the shock of sudden, embarrassing defeat is often directly attributable to a lack of perspective. Which is why John Lobbock was right in saying: “What we see depends on what we look for.” And yet sadly, the trouble begins when ego gets it all wrong and misleads us.
How did the late Steve Jobs get his first big break?
By parking his ego and asking for help.
Why did he die?
Failure to park his ego, heed time-sensitive advice, and undergo life-saving surgery.
But long before Apple's Jobs or other influential people you can name, there was Naaman.
Known in the Bible for his legendary ego, he was an influential man who stubbornly refused to follow simple instructions required to restore his health. His healing finally coming when he fixed his ego. But in case you're an egotist who happens to an atheist—specifically, the type that stops reading stuff because God or the Bible was mentioned—let me challenge you with the following: For the ultimate healthy ego, one studies Christ Jesus. Not because: “religion.” But because He's the smart person's guide to truly making a difference. Which is what people with a healthy ego do.
And for the ultimate contemporary influencer, learner, billionaire with healthy ego, one studies Bill Gates. A man, like Virgin's Sir Richard Branson, more interested in making a difference than surfing the web with a chip on his shoulders. Why? Because we're talking about ego! Plus:Despite its countless benefits, technology generally, and the internet and mobile technology specifically—more than any technological advancement I can name—toxically stroke and destructively inflate our ego. It is so easy to go online, find millions of clueless, wrong and equally egotistical people who cater or subscribe to similarly egotistical attitudes.
Yet like Ryan Holiday (above and below), I concluded years ago, that: “In every phase of life—whether we’re aspiring to something, reaping the rewards of success or dealing with the difficulties of adversity or failure—ego is our enemy. It is the worst ingredient to add into any situation.” Which is why like everyone of my blogs, this one serves as personal development tool.
There are a lot people in dire need of help walking around, surfing the web, hiding behind personas—with good to great questions. Even great ideas. Individuals and entire tribes, trying to improve themselves. But going about it the wrong way. Because they allow their egos to direct them, —robbing them of the clarity, perspective and judgment needed to solve complex problems.
Egos have become so fragile today that writing The One Thing Holding You Back From Your Dreams, Greg Hankerson reveals: “So what is this one thing? It's the ego. I typed "your ego." but deleted it. Why? Because I didn't want to hurt your ego and cause you to stop reading.”
You laugh. But it's real out there. Livelihoods and entire careers and startups now thrive on catering to content that narcissistic, highly egotistical—so-called audiences, customers and—“readers want to read”.
So real that in What It Takes To Leave Loserville, meanwhile, I share how immigrants I personally know, made it America, only to self-destructively get themselves deported because of their ego. One was tricked by the selfsame guardian who brought them to the U.S. into returning to their country of origin, with no possibility of returning to the States. The other took the option of deportation rather than park their ego, leave Loserville, and live within the law. After years of chasing, believing in conspiracy theories, ridiculing other Green Card holders, and refusing to apply for U.S. citizenship. The selfsame people who refused mentorship, free lawyer advice and even casual advice, and demanding respect, saying they didn't like the way I spoke to them, because they're older.
Ego is the origin of headline grabbing criminal conduct, missed opportunities, and smothered dreams.
Whether it is billion dollar corporate scandals or white collar crime, knuckle-headed clowning getting minorities killed by gang, corrupt cops or unnecessary felonies in a over-incarcerated racist America, with a blowhard, pathological lying President with a grimy ethical past sharing the same lack of judgment as all of the above on Social Media, bad ego appears rewarding.
It consumes people yet to learn that there is better reward in a better attitude. That, “I don't care!” or “Whatever!” or similarly self-centered, disrespectful and negative diction is neither swag nor freedom but merely vibe that inevitably precipitate in catastrophic disgrace and downfall.
Ego, speaking strictly from the Black Experience, is the reason many developing countries and their diaspora, remain stuck in reverse. These are people in most cases—and to be clear, racists, misers and dishonest people yet to evolve fully are equally guilty—who haven't learned the value of respect, accountability, engagement, and pooling of resources.
Ego is why someone would take your business card or perhaps CV/resumé after a heartfelt genuine engagement on your part, only to secretly comb, repeatedly return to your Social Media pages, or worse, investigate you and draw malicious conclusions. Without ever reaching out to you for a conversatio. The same reason Marie Forleo warned: “Clarity comes from engagement, not from thinking about it.”
Forums I studied in the past, and two Twitter hashtags I recently monitored for a year (#JoySMS and #CitiCBS) plus a Kenyan one where the jobless, lazy, and media-agitated political disenfranchised alike view government help/handout as their savior are also fertile grounds for irresponsible egotistical mindset. Which Dr. Myles Munroe exposes in How To Get Your Act Together (Part 1).
I had several Twitter exchanges with people less interested in getting their act together and more interested in turning every open debate about responsibility into a private chat.
Egotistical people with such mindsets never realize their aspirations or discover the value of their best ideas because they haven't learned, or mastered the value of communicating them in the marketplace of high quality solutions. For one thing, they may be too proud to ask for help, fix their mindsets so as to seek out and partner with the right people, or simply heed advice.
To be fair, there ARE institutional and serious leadership problems, not just in Africa but elsewhere. But from the outside looking in, one almost feels helpless.
Because all one sees in engaging in such forums is Loserville mindsets committed to the groupthink and massaging egos. And yet true accountability means—even before worrying about what your government or country hasn't done for you as mentioned earlier, or about goals, execution or achievement—responsible people who have their act together understand the importance of constantly evaluating and fixing one's OWN mindset. And that of their team.
Because tuning in weekly to a radio station, TV show or web forum to complain makes others richer. Not you. Even if what the entrepreneurial “journalists” or media has to say, strokes your ego.
If you have the forgoing synergistic elements in place, you have an invaluable building block for a healthy ego, —the basis of internal security.
The in depth interview below concludes How To Get Your Act Together (3)