Personal Development


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CHAPTER XXI – Check Your Ego

I am Jude. Ego is a term that is used widely but is surrounded by ambiguity and confusion. 

The word refers to psychological constructs of the “self”, however, it is also used in a myriad of other related terms such as ego-driven, egomania and alter ego.

Depending on your definition of ego, it may seem like something appealing — or something to be avoided at all costs.

The English translation of the latin word ego is “I” and, in fact “I Love you” can be literally written as Ego Amo Te. 

The term became commonly known after it was adopted by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, in his influential theory of personality. 

Freud posited that the concepts of the id, the ego, and the superego, three separate but interacting parts of the human personality work together to contribute to an individual’s behavior. 

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So what exactly is your ego?

According to Freud, the ego negotiates between the id and the superego. The id is present at birth and runs on pure instinct, desire, and need. It is entirely unconscious and comprises the most primitive part of the personality. The superego is the moral compass of the personality, upholding your sense of right and wrong. 

Your ego is the part of you that perceives YOUR reality. You may smell a flower, taste an orange, or hear a baby cry. It’s your ego that takes in that sensory information and makes sense of it for YOU.

It identifies what’s happening in and around you and ascribes value to your personal experiences. 

Psychologists use the word ego to differentiate the self from others and everything else. It defines “I”ness. It’s what the person is aware of when they think about themselves, and is what they usually try to project toward others.

Your ego is the center of your own thoughts, behaviors, and experiences. It’s the rational part of your mind.

Quite simply, your ego is who you think you are. Consider that for a moment.

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A Healthy Conception of Self vs The Inflated Ego 

What’s the difference between a healthy ego and an inflated sense of self?

A Healthy Ego

Having confidence, awareness and a coherent conception of self are essential for healthy human development. This requires a positive self-image and a reasonable level of self-esteem.

To have any success, you have to believe in your innate abilities, your potential and your unique place in the universe.

A person with a balanced ego celebrates their interconnectedness with everything and everyone around them. They actualize the philosophy of ubuntu by being considerate, demonstrating compassion and finding value in providing service to others.

They strive for inner peace and fulfillment and eschew conflict and greed. They show compassion, seek to serve others and celebrate their accomplishments. 

An Inflated Ego 

I liken an inflated ego to the concepts of egocentrism and egotism. I describe it, quite simply, as possessing an over-exaggerated sense of self-worth and believing that the world revolves around you. It’s a distorted perspective that is based in pride, insecurity, self doubt. 

There are times when you have to prioritize your own needs. However, an egotist always puts the “I” before “we”.

People who are egocentric are constantly comparing themselves to others to feel better about how they look, what they feel and how much they have. They overlook their flaws and shortcomings and are jealous when others do well.

Ironically, their ever present feelings of superiority are actually indications of a lack of confidence and belief in their abilities. They can never measure up. 

Managing Your Ego

An over-inflated ego is loud and boisterous while a healthy concept of self speaks volumes through its quiet kindness and confidence. it doesn’t need to be advertised or showcased. It’s proverbial actions speak louder than words. 

In order to harness your ego you need to increase your self-awareness, operate in alignment with your authentic self and identify what is important to you. 

You need to realize that you are not the house you live in, the car you drive or the job where you work. They are only roles and possessions, not essential aspects of who you are. 

I believe one of our primary goals should be to reduce our unhealthy dependence on things and identities and develop a greater appreciation for the interdependence of life; to respect all things.

When you strip away all of the roles you assume and what you own, who are you? To me, this is where some of our most important work lies. Unfortunately, it’s a place where most of us are too fearful to tread. 

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Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

I completed the second week of my life coaching program. We have a small intimate group and the second session provided us with an opportunity to get to know each other a little better. 

The instructor is experienced and knowledgeable, my classmates are outgoing and amicable and we have already established a collaborative and laid-back learning environment.

We now have coach buddies and are expected to begin acquiring practice coaching hours with one another. I’m looking forward to that.

My biggest takeaway from last week was confidence. Despite ever-present imposter syndrome and self doubt, I am understanding that I possess everything I need to be an effective life coach. I just have to continue acquiring skills, tools, practice and experience. 

I’m up for the challenge. The journey continues…..

Your Next Best Read – Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

This book is fire! I can say without any exaggeration that this is literally one of the best books I have read in recent memory. No shit. 

The author describes his experiences leaving the ‘real world’, temporarily living in an ashram or monetary and adopting the life of a monk. He shares the life lessons and enlightenment he gained from his time there.

It has provided some meaningful observations and insights, the impetus for some new daily practices and convinced me that there is infinite value in deep breathing and meditation. It also left me with some thought-provoking, self-reflective questions.

It is most definitely something that I will read again and encourage others to consider. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Your efforts will be rewarded. 

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What’s Good – Positive Reflections

For anyone out there making changes in your life, you need to hear this, YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION! Your deliberate and consistent efforts to Be Better are being recognized and rewarded. Keep on keeping on! Your slow and steady steps are creating exponential results. 

Whether it’s one rep, one chapter, one walk or one early morning, every time you set a goal for yourself and obtain any measure of success, YOU ARE MAKING PROGRESS. The key is to develop consistency through your daily rituals and discipline. 

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Learn to appreciate the process of Being Better. 

Celebrate all of your victories and be compassionate with your struggles and setbacks. Use failure as an opportunity to grow and gain insight. As Steve Harvey insists, “There is a Lesson and a Blessing in every moment of adversity!”

In my personal life, people I care about are Breaking Free of their limitations to live out their dreams and pursue better versions of themselves. They are challenging their negative thinking and confronting their fears, uncertainty, and self-doubt.

Regardless of their age, sex or circumstance, they are exploring their passions, developing new daily practices and consolidating their actions and their intentions. 

And you can too. Identify SMART goals, be intentional, develop good habits and self-control. It is a foolproof plan that will be rewarded with unexpected growth and development – I PROMISE YOU.

I want to send personal shout-outs to my wife, Dionne-Paris Clyke, my daughter, Keisha Paris-Clyke and my collaborator, Joanne Jarvis-Jordan.You are doing big things and inspiring others! 

I also want to recognize the growth and development of the brothers involved in the Community Strong Black Men’s Wellness Group. Thank you for sharing your strength, experiences and vulnerability. We are all growing together. 

Keep tip-toeing forward. STRIVE FOR CONSISTENCY NOT PERFECTION and stay committed to the change process. In the spirit of Ubuntu, your successes are my successes, and I need all the wins I can get!

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Public Announcement

Over the past year, I have intentionally disconnected from the news. I found it necessary to  protect myself from the negativity, violence and ugliness associated with the national headlines or the local lead stories. 

I generally obtain updates on global issues and current events from social media and through my interactions with others. So hearing that Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this week came as quite an unfortunate surprise. 

Since then, I have refused to explore the details, motivations or justifications of the invasion. The reasons don’t really matter to me. There are too many unfortunate and far-reaching consequences for this kind of WAR.

The only unavoidable outcome is death and destruction. Innocent men, women and children will die for reasons that have nothing to do with their personal beliefs and so will their hopes, dreams and aspirations. And that’s sad. 

The most vulnerable and unfortunate always suffer the most and that includes soldiers on both sides of the conflict. 

This is yet another senseless and ill-intentioned military offensive to acquire power. Putin and his oligarchy will never be able to justify any of these lost lives, they are far too precious. 

I pray for anyone affected by these tragic recent events. This is yet another heartbreaking chapter in the sad book of human history.

Despite knowing better, we consistently fail to do better. What will it take for us to learn the lesson in war and find the blessing in peace?

I think it’s time to disconnect from the nighttime news again. Not a damn thing has changed. We continue to allow corruption and villainy to supersede the sanctity of life. It’s a sad commentary on our humanity. 

Collectively we need to Be Better. I am Jude. 

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Great read today, Jude. When you spoke about managing ego, it presented a lot of thought within me.

In todays society, the ideals, the levels of self gratification within channels such as social media, and just consumer behaviours, it is obvious that managing your ego must take a conscious effort to achieve the ideal of ubuntu. One must be self aware to notice that, and set goals to manage their ego.

It definitely makes one think of the affects of social media and how to limit them to calm your mind and develop that appreciation for the interdependence of life. Thank you for this thought provoking read, and keep striving.

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