I spoke a little before about keeping a balanced ego in life as a way to maximise personal growth and not be consumed by the opinions of others, good or bad. A bi-product of keeping a balanced ego is learning to choose for yourself what you truly care about and being able to discard what won’t help you grow without much effort.
Remaining at a Comfortable Distance
You see, most people will take in whatever is thrown at them, be it praise, criticism, insults, reward, dishonour or any other action that evokes a response. Depending on many factors such as who it came from, what it is about, how you are feeling and more, any of these can help and hinder you. By developing a strong sense of knowing one’s self and knowing what can further develop one’s self, a person can learn to look at the bad from a distance and appreciate that something is addressing them directly, without letting it change their direction in life. On the same token, they can learn to appreciate praise and constructive criticism from a distance, taking the best from those words without becoming attached to them.
Being attached to either subjective good or bad opinions can hinder personal growth in that our growth can be built up quickly but then knocked back down.
If you receive praise and let it get to your head, your ego will inflate, but all it will take to reduce it down by an even larger amount is one thing that contradicts that praise you were given earlier. Thus by accepting the praise for what it is at a distance and not letting it get to your head will keep you on a steady course to growing stronger.
If you receive insults or criticism which is not constructive, it often has little to teach you, but not always. You can analyse what was said and try to understand the person’s point of view as a way to help your understanding. However if it has nothing more to aid you, then simply keep a comfortable distance between it and you, just like with praise. The key is knowing who and what you are, knowing what you have the potential to become and knowing that what is said is outside you, it’s your choice what to let in.
The Benefits of Having Control Over What you Care About
Apart from what I outlined above, there is many practical benefits and uses of learning to consciously choose what to care about and what not to care about.
Avoid Wasting Your Time and Energy
In today’s world there is too much “filler” that we simply do not need to waste energy and time on. Things that yield no growth, happiness or benefit should be discarded. This includes people who give nothing of these things to you, petty arguments, false causes and activities that force you to be something you are not.
Consider Opinions More Objectively
When you don’t care for whoever came out with a particular opinion, you can evaluate that opinion more clearly. An example would be that many would automatically disregard someone as a sick individual if they said that Nazi Germany had some good policies. But if they just looked at the policy itself without any association with Nazi’s at all, they’d likely give it some consideration. A great example would be Nazi Germany’s Animal Welfare policies.
Better Decision Making
Decisions clouded in emotion are generally not the best made decisions. Being in a state of mind where you can think clearly and logically about something is almost always the best policy. So discarding the emotional pressure of whatever you’re facing will allow you to make the right choice more often.
Not only this, but remaining unaffected emotionally by tension and things in arguments or debate allows you to counter more effectively, some say you’re already losing the argument if you’re getting emotionally involved!
How to Begin
It can take time and effort to increase your resistance to being emotionally swayed into caring about something but it certainly can be done by retraining your thought process when you receive good/bad feedback.
Always try to think about what is said from the point of a third-party. Weigh up the pro’s and con’s of what was said. Can it help you grow stronger? Can you learn from what was said? If it can, then take that from it, but keep a safe distance so as to not let it affect your ego.
If it’s not judged to be helpful, then also keep a safe distance from it. You know what you are, you know what will help you grow, very little else matters.
Whatever comes your way, keep striving for the next stronger version of yourself. There’ll be times when you can’t help but let something good or bad get to your ego, it happens, but learning the process of choosing what you want to take from external influences will help you on evolving everyday.
Featured Image: ©Dimitris Papazimouris