This is the second part of the “Overcoming Ego for Better Head Space” presentation given at Fyrecon 2 at Weber State University Davis.
Facing Your Truth
Perhaps the biggest hurdle in being able to recognize where we can improve is the willingness to see reality for what it is and not make any excuses for it. Some call this practice “facing your truth.” Those willing to acknowledge their truth can make needed changes to find greater confidence and happiness.
How do you face your truth? It’s easier than you think. You must be willing to spend time alone with your thoughts and paying attention to the inner dialogue that is running through your head. A tip that there is a problem is if you are mean to yourself and thinking negative things. Some find that guided meditation is helpful to be able to take note of these thoughts in a safe, controlled way.
If you have taken the time to face your truth, there will be parts of yourself that you will not be comfortable with. These demons can only be tamed if they are named and then you find a way to make peace with them.
Some of these uncomfortable thoughts will stem from failure. Know that failure is a part of life. It is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all. If you fear failure, then it will be that much harder to do amazing things.
It goes without saying that through this process of growth and change that you’ve got to be your own best cheerleader. I tell this to my daughter and to people I meet at conferences – if you aren’t going to nice to you, then who will? Your healthy ego is made up of you being okay with yourself, including all the not perfect bits.
In addition to being your best cheerleader, you have to take care of yourself. Again, if you aren’t going to take care of you, who will? A person with a healthy ego draws strength from within because they know who they are.
The Empty Cup Philosophy
Ages ago I heard this story and it’s stuck with me. There once was an advanced karate student who was the top pupil in his class. His teachers still had plenty to teach him but he had become arrogant. He wasn’t interested in what they had to say because he already knew how to punch and kick.
One day his teacher called him over and set a pitcher of water and a glass on the table in front of him. He proceeded to slowly pour water into the glass. Once the glass was full he continued to pour and the water overflowed onto the table.
“Sensei, you’re spilling water everywhere. Why are you doing that?” he asked.
The teacher ignored him and kept pouring and soon water was dribbling over the edge of the table and onto the floor.
The student continued. “Sensei, you’re making a mess. You can’t fill a full cup.”
The teacher fixed his student in his gaze. “Exactly. When you come to class believing your cup is full, I can’t teach you and you will stop progressing. However if you come with your glass empty, you are ready to learn.”
I like this story because it is an excellent reminder that there is always room to grow. Willingness to learn shows humility and honesty with yourself and is a symptom that you have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. There is always room to grow, and lessons can come from anyone regardless of their credentials.
Dealing with Trolls and Haters
Those who find success, will find trolls and haters as well. It’s hard for many people to see their peers succeed when they haven’t. This discomfort can manifest in many ways including jealousy, distancing, and sometimes being plain ol’ nasty to you.
Remember, nothing they say or do can change your truth. You own it. Just because they feel threatened by it doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. Part of being unflinchingly honest with yourself means you’ve already accepted your weaknesses as a part of who you are.
So, if what they say is true, then you can accept it as constructive feedback and nothing more. If it isn’t true, it’s garbage and you can ignore it. Whatever you do, don’t try to argue with them or make them change their mind. If you refuse to play the game and get all upset then they don’t get what they want, and they go away. Be insufferably nice regardless and the trolls won’t have anything to feed on.
- Create an “artist vision statement” that captures why you love creating. Start by listing all the words that you associate with your creative dreams and hopes. From those ideas create a phrase that captures what you hope to accomplish as an artist.
My statement is “Finding Magic Everyday” because life is full of unexpected surprises for those who look carefully. My fiction tends to contain people with magic powers and are working toward a better world.
2. Create a list of strengths and weaknesses about yourself. Its a little scary, and freeing all at once. Be brave! You can do it!
- What you are good at
- What you enjoy doing
- What people compliment you for
- What scares you
- What you avoid doing
- What you receive criticism for
Character strengths test
Thanks for coming and learning about how to cultivate a healthy ego. I hoped you enjoyed these presentation notes as much as I enjoyed learning about it! Don’t forget, there are other presentation notes handy, feel free to check them out. I’m working to get my complete lecture series listed, so check back often.
Be part of the conversation, comment below!