Friday, September 14, 2007

Humility and confidence

Really want everyone to see this surprising blog entry about ego on Guy Kawasaki's blog:

Are you an egomaniac? Ten questions with Steven Smith

Smith is the author of a new book egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability). Went right on my Amazon wish list.

Here are some excerpts from the blog interview that I loved:

Successful people usually start with big ambition/big ideas, and a “normal” or healthy ego. That combination of ambition, ideas, and healthy ego drives their success. If they’re not careful though, their success creates the illusion that it was them alone that achieved that success. … Once they assign all of that success to themselves, their ego whispers how great they are, and anything else they think or do will be equally great.

[T]o understand what healthy ego is, you have to understand the relationship between ego and humility. For most people, tradition holds that the opposite of excessive ego is humility, when in fact having too little ego is just as dangerous and unproductive as having too much. When we strike the right balance between ego and humility, we’re genuinely confident.

Question: How would we change if we did a better job of managing ego?

Answer: We would be more open-minded about views that don’t agree with ours, and less rigid in making changes when we’re challenged with them. Closed minds and fixed positions may be the most prevalent outcomes of mismanaged ego. Good leaders keep their minds open. But great leaders open the minds of others in the most intense circumstances, even against the odds of prejudice, politics, and habit.

I love this healthy approach to ego. It seems there is a way to be the image and likeness of the one Ego that is God without being arrogant or obnoxious—and that's with humility. The interview defines misplaced ego as thinking you did it all yourself. But healthy ego acknowledges your own achievements while recognizing you couldn't have done it on your own.

To me, then, the ultimate healthy ego would be to know that all the ability you express comes from the Divine. It's both humility and confidence—giving yourself credit, but also giving credit where credit is due.


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