3 Ways Your Ego Will Destroy You

Paramount Pictures/The Wolf Of Wall Street

Confidence is key. I’ve said it and you’ve read it, many a time in many a form. Having a strong sense of self and belief in your value as an individual can truly be a critical element to your success at home, in the office, in relationships and generally in life. But, what happens when that sense of value gets a little out of hand? Or even a lot out of hand? Keeping tabs on your ego is also critical to harnessing the power of self-confidence.

Ego derives from the Latin and Greek word, “I” and in English is used to mean the “self,” or “identity.” It’s a belief system you have that identifies your place in this world. So what happens when that belief system becomes skewed a little (or a lot) out of whack and you find that you’ve turned into “that guy” or “that girl” that everybody loves to hate: the ego maniac. Is that really so terrible? Yes, yes and YES. On multiple levels. Time to rein it in cowboys and girls, because your ego is going to destroy you.

The Lone Wolf

First to go, your relationships. Now, I admit, at certain points, The Wolf of Wall Street kind of had it made. But every big dog has his moments of despair and isolation, and they aren’t pretty. An overblown ego does attract people, but they are generally the wrong people: opportunists and other ego-maniacs. The people you want to attract are generally repelled by your overblown ego. They just can’t relate to you and, worse, they eventually can’t even stand you. You’re entirely self-absorbed in your own life. And this just doesn’t work.

This is especially problematic because it’s usually a two way street. As others withdraw from you, you withdraw from people because you can’t relate and you can’t stand them either. After all, you no longer share the same interests, that, primarily, being you! All that is left is the people that think they have something to gain from your perceived superiority. Have you ever wondered why the majority of your relationships are so superficial?

Superficial relationships don’t require much in the way of time or effort. As you become less and less attentive to the needs of others, you quickly find relationships deteriorating that you still sort of care about. Friends stop texting, your significant other spends time with everyone but you, even your mother raises her eyebrows a little more often when you’re around. Remember, relationships are your gateway to the world. They impact your levels of happiness and ability to succeed in life, among other things, so cultivate them and don’t let your ego destroy them.

Broke As A Joke

Next on the list of destruction? Your financial security. An inflated ego will destroy you financially because it will cause you to make careless decisions and take risks you might otherwise not take. Even if these expenditures are small in the grand scheme of things. Extensive partying and a insatiable shopping addiction can be more damaging than risky investments.

When you think you’re the $hit, you also think you’re (at least a little bit) invincible and immune to the effects of bad decisions.

“I don’t party excessively,” you say to yourself. “I’m networking with colleagues….four or five times a week.”

“A shopping addiction? I’m just rewarding myself for my hard work.”

An overinflated ego gives you a skewed sense of reality, thus leading to poor decision make. This is problematic and can quickly become destructive, resulting in excessive debt, inability to pay bills, a poor credit score, and a lack of savings.

Even the wealthiest businessmen and women have to be careful. We’ve all heard at least a few stories of otherwise successful celebrities and professional athletes filing for bankruptcy. Don’t let this become you.

Career Suicide

A final casualty of an overgrown ego is likely your career. Ok, you may not exactly get fired but your journey up the corporate ladder sure is going to be slow.

For many of the same reasons that your relationships and financial stability will suffer, your career is also likely to suffer as as result of ego. When you’re no longer connecting with people or making thought out financial decisions in your own personal life, you’re definitely not doing it at work. Again, we’re not talking about confidence, a very important trait to exhibit in your personal and professional life. We’re talking about the excessive confidence. The type that makes you think that you don’t have to prepare for a meeting or put in the face time with higher-ups because, well, you’re just “that good.” Not even the owner of the company should have this attitude.

An ego will destroy your career because people will treat you like you treat them, like a jack a$$. The lessons we learned in kindergarten, about playing nicely and treating others how you want to be treated, are actually life lessons that aren’t just applicable to the playground. Life is actually one big playground and a kid bullying everyone else is asking for it. And eventually the other kids are going to get their payback.  So, for crying out loud, play nice at work already.

An overgrown ego is certain to be a major obstacle in your life. First to be destroyed will be your relationships, personal and professional. Next your financial stability. And, finally, your career. Dealing with the spontaneously occurring challenges of life can be difficult enough, do you really need to create more work for yourself? Do your life and career a favor. Harness the power of your self-confidence and keep tabs on that ego. Your future self will be immensely successful and grateful for it.