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Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

Posted June 28, 2009 4:45 PM by DrDoug

Let's be careful about making generalizations in the workplace. Don't conclude that co-workers, employees, or even managers who have been beaten-down during their careers will become anxious if EGO rears its head. In fact, they might do some of their best work.

As a student of human psychology, I would offer that people tend to become insecure, jealous and vengeful (when wronged) to begin with. But it seems that when we look at great achievers throughout history, their motivation or drive was a setback - or just being told they couldn't do something. This pushed the achievers to allow their EGO to express itself.

Henry Ford's Engineers

I'm sure you all know a story or two about some engineers who were told that building a certain something was "impossible." Yet these inventors made it happen. For example, Henry Ford's automotive engineers designed some amazing 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't EGO the very essence of those who transform ideas from imagination to reality? Consider the following.

· Even though we hear the doubters, EGO is what allows us to ignore them.

· EGO is what tells us we can when everyone else says we can't.

· EGO is what causes us to create visions of grandeur and develop god complexes.

· EGO is what allowed the U.S. consumer and the U.S. economy to achieve tremendous levels of material success, and is now causing it to fall apart at the seams. (It's the wakeup call to reality that's so hard to digest.)

· EGO is what creates greatness, and too much of it is what destroys greatness.

The Tipping Point

EGO is a good thing - a very good thing. But that's true only until EGO reaches a tipping point. Then it becomes a bad thing - a very bad thing.

So what if you had the choice of having an EGO and all the volatility it entails, or not having an EGO and just going through the motions? Well, I'd choose the former. It makes life worth living! EGO provides energy and excitement, as well as success and failure.

To control EGO, we learn to turn it on when it helps and put it in a box when it does not. We also realize that we all get another chance to learn from our mistakes, and to try it all again.

Dr. Doug

Editor's Note: You can visit Dr. Doug online at www.DrDoug.com or by email: DrDoug@DrDoug.com.

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#1

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/28/2009 11:51 PM

I am a worker drone i have no ego

What exactly do you mean by Ego? like Freud's Ego?

There are several definitions or do you mean like the more

common use of Egotistical of thinking only of It's own interest.

And Lot's of of great things are not invented because of Ego but because of teamwork, feeding of ideas of each other.

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 1:33 AM

EGO is that part of me that refuses to accept limits set for me by others until I am satisfied that they are in my best interest. 2 cases in point: A young man at a truckstop on the south side of Atlanta, Georgia was foolish enough to tell me I could not take my KenWorth T-2000 and go sightseeing in Atlanta. His ignorance cost him $200. (I did have to let the shop remove the outside wheels on the drive axles to come under the city's "6-wheel truck" allowance.) A few years earlier, when I was in research with USDA in South Texas, another young man bet me that I could not get a federal permit to grow Marijuana commercially. That indescretion cost him $500. But there were a few more hoops to jump through. The hardest was the "residue management protocol" that I had to write to give verifiable assurance that none of the crop went to non-fiber use.

How do you think I found the microbe cocktail that we use to make cellulose ethanol? NREL was saying that cellulosic ethanol was 10 to 15 years away and would cost more to make than corn ethanol. I simply wasn't ready to accept that. You can watch the video at www.ire-incorp.com which was shot at our first public demonstration back in May, 2005.

As for comittees "collaborating" on a development project, that's full of it. All significant work I saw come out of any "working group" during my career with USDA and Texas A&M was typically the result of insight by a single individual for which the "working group" was credited. There were several "scientists" with whom I have worked whose only real talent was a remarkable ability to compose a concise and highly readable English sentence. And yes, they, too, served a vital need in the group when it came time to write the justification for the grant proposals. But that is not quite the same thing as scientific advancement. And there is the prime example of where EGO can begin to get in the way.

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#2

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 12:25 AM

I love my ego.

My ego loves me.

We have plans.

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#3

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 12:43 AM

Thanks to ellaborate the EGO part.

I hope you have just said what all the Engineers who want to prove themselves want to hear. I too accept that ego sometimes drives you to do things and perform better.

Thanks DrDoug.

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#5

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 4:06 AM

I agree with your presentation Dr Doug. It is very insightful of human nature. I like that you have presented the good side too. I think there is probably even more to say on the subject. Every person, big or small has an ego. It is the core of the personality.

Chris

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#6

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 4:27 AM

Good article.

You call it EGO, I call it, the will to succeed in the face of adversity.

At the tipping point you call it EGO, I call it, arrogance, haughtiness and all the negative attributes of overconfidence.

With patience and self learning, one can overcome the later and build the former.

Cheers,

ethobil

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#7

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 6:45 AM

Dr.DOUG,

The term ego generally means an aggressive character exhibited by persons of over pride, over estimation, narrow sighted, lack of open mind, superiority complex, lack of trust and confidence in others, lack of listening, unethical show of, persons feel they should suppress others and the only mantra is me-me-me-me or I-I-I- I all the instants and this EGO is called domination trait.

Coming to your expression there are other positive terms usable mentioned in your example.

Ignoring doubters-matured positive thinking

Optimism and genuine confidence- when others say can"t and we say can

U.S determination, commitment,leadership and sense of effective living- made U.S a country of super power

In the overall use ,EGO is a individual oriented trait and in groups it should not have a sens able expression and limited to direct and to lead effective group performance. An egoistic person will slowly loose group co operation, enthusiasm and contributions from others.

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#8

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 7:19 PM

Hello DrDoug,

Interesting question you have posed!

I have found that it is often the people with 'quiet' Ego's', who do not shout and rage and brag, who are the best managers.

Because they can 'control' themselves, they have an awareness and an ability to judge when others will be able to manage people or a particular job.

Personally I am not interested in 'loud', 'in your face' types as they tend to be all bluster and no achievement.

I am one of those with a quiet Ego, and it does not mean I am any less capable it my job as a Factory Manager, even if it is a small factory!

I often go quietly round the Factory and do stuff I see needs doing. IE: Getting stuff ready for delivery which has been left to one side because others who should do it are too busy or have just plain forgotten it. Kick ass where needed, but often a quiet chat achieves better results. I will leave it at that for the moment.

bb

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#9

Re: Is Your EGO an Asset or Liability?

06/29/2009 8:15 PM

"Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't EGO the very essence of those who transform ideas from imagination to reality? "

Okay.

No, It is Passion, NOT ego.

Passion is an essential component of critical thinking, as many lobotomized or brain traumatized damaged patients have shown. (ie.Phineas Gage example in DESCARTESERROR byDamasio comes to my mind.)

I have no idea which definition of EGO you are using, but it is passion, drive or determination, not necessarily one's "self," that is the more likely determinant behind most of your examples.

I would argue that greed is more likely the proximate cause of what in the case of US economy meltdown "is now causing it to fall apart at the seams." but even that is a broad generalization of a complex failure of manyinterdependent systems.

I absolutely agree with your opening statement "Let's be careful about making generalizations ."

It would be hard to argue against you if by EGO you meant "self," as many of us tend to do; then your generalization becomes "isn't "ones' self" the very essence of those who transform ideas..." in other words you are stating that the transformsers selves are their very essence. That would be difficult to refute, but alas, it offers no special insight. its asking, basically,"aren't people, people?"

Passion is what helps us overcome obstacles. Ego can often become an obstacle.

regards.

milo

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