Many people think that the obstacle for success may be their lack of discipline, their lack of knowledge or their lack of skills. The importance of having willpower and always being motivated gets stressed a lot in the self-development and entrepreneurial community whereas one other big obstacle gets underestimated almost all the time. While acknowledging the fact that without acquiring willpower and discipline their won’t be any long term progress, I would still say that there is even one bigger character trait that stops all of us from fulfilling our full potential.
When we look at children and the improvement they make in even a short period of time, we are stunned of how much they are able to learn in so few months or years. Children are able to learn walking, eating, going to the toilet and even speaking whole language just by copying their parents. If we look at children, we will see that they will ask questions the whole day and take in every piece of information we give them as a fact not to question or doubt.
The number one fact why we all stop learning so quickly as we become teenagers and ultimately adults is that over time, we start to build an ego around ourselves which stops us from taking risks and putting ourselves on the line.
Now don’t confuse your ego with your self confidence or your self worth. While self worth is respecting yourself and self-confidence is the deep knowledge that you are enough, having an ego is simply having an image of yourself of who you are and holding on to that image under any circumstances. Trying to come of as cool, trying to not be disrespected and fearing to be rejected are only a few of the consequences from having a big ego. People with a big ego will avoid anything that would prove to themselves that they are maybe not that good at something even though they always told themselves they are and they will always try to hold on to that picture.
Another big disadvantage of having an ego is that ultimately we will think we already know it all and that no matter what anyone else tells us we know better. Not learning from people that might have more experience in some area of life will ultimately lead to stagnation and having a completely false image of yourself where you are not in touch with your real self anymore.
In order to not let all of this happen to you, we put together three ways to let go of your ego and ultimately being able to learn as fast as a child again.
- Surround yourself with people that are better than you
As we do things regularly we start to think that we are already good at something even though we have never looked at how things could really get. If you have some passion or your are simply working on some are of your life like your dating life or health for instance, instead of thinking you already know everything, start to look for people that are way more ahead than you. By having big role models we can suddenly realize how small we still are and how far we can still go. At the same time, having surrounding yourself with people that are more advanced than you are and making an effort to learn from them will humble you and let your ego shrink.
2. Remind yourself of how small you are
Whenever your ego gets in your way, look at the world and realize how small you actually are. By considering all those different modern technologies that we have now clue about how they work, by taking a look at how many people there are out there on the streets and by looking at the environment as this big system of chemical, biological and physical phenomenons, we will realize how little we acutally know and that we are not the center of the universe at all.
3. Get your Ego crushed on purpose
If doesn’t matter what you think of yourself that you’re good at it, challenge yourself to really put yourself on the line and get your self-image crushed. If you think you could get girls, approach them on the street and get rejected, if you think you can fight then have a sparing with an MMA pro and if you think you have good cardio challenge a marathon runner for going for a run. By actually doing what you always think you are good at, you will get back to reality and see that maybe you aren’t even as good as you originally thought. Now that your ego is crushed, you can have the humbleness to take advice from others and be more open towards new perspectives.
4. Ask for constructive criticism and let it sink in
Another great thing you can do in order to let your ego shrink is to ask your friends, parents or mentors to give you an honest cuntructive feedback about your personal wekanesses. Now this can be restricted to only a special area of you life like for instance your quality as a friends but also to your whole life in general and in which ares you could still improve. Whenever taking criticism that is meant to help you, instead of arguing back or saying that you are already working on this and that, simply take it as it is and let it sink in. At this point its very tempting to tell ourselves that this person doesn’t even really know us or that we have our reasons. Still, we should try to resist our ego at this point and really consider if the person might be right. Of course, there will also be people hating on us or shaming us simply because they want to feel better about themselves and we should never let this get to our heart, still, questioning your own behavior and beliefs will improve your life dramatically long term.
5. Tell people on purpose you didn’t know something
Whenever someone tells us about some facts or something that he found out, its very tempting to use the word „I know“ to say that we already knew this one thing. Instead of doing this,we should try to avoid the „I know“ phase completely even if we really knew about this fact and instead give the person props for their insights and knowledge. Also, actively saying that you didn’t know something whenever you hear about something new will remind us of how much there is still to learn and it will make us more humble in general.