Winning Over Your Ego

Learning from your life experience

In 1957 I was eighteen years old, and spending my first year in college away from my friends. I knew no one at the school other than my roommate, and I only knew him for a week. For the first time in my life I was alone. My ego was not ready for this experience and was hard at work conjuring up big plans. I was attracted to big things, being only 5′ 6″ tall and weighing in at 130 pounds.

The first mind picture my ego drew for me was a big muscular Dave. So I immediately went down to the gym and without any experience started to lift weights. I was convinced that barbells were the way to go. Next I started to send away for muscle magazines and books. Eagerly I checked out my post office box daily for muscle building information. I had opened up a personal checking account, and since there were no credit cards was sending checks for my books. I had never had a checking account and was fascinated with the idea of writing a check and enclosing it with my order.

With my instructions under my belt, I would hit the gym every day. I should say that the weight room was only a small alcove populated by football players who seemed to know less than I about building muscles. Every day I would get my tape out and measure my muscles. Then when my roommate was out I would stand in front of the mirror posing. Within a couple of months I had gained some weight, however most of it was around my belly. You see I was not into a muscle building diet and was eating anything that was served in the dining hall. Not to be deterred I plowed on with my weight lifting program, I was hooked on the pumped up feeling you got from weight bearing exercises and endeavored to lift heavier and heavier weights each workout. Then it happened. In the middle of pressing a barbell up over my head I felt a knifelike pain deep in my groin. Upon examining myself I could feel a protrusion in my groin. I dragged my self to the clinic the next day and got the bad news. I had a hernia and should have it fixed during the summer recess.

I was not doing to good, however my ego was now working on some new plans. Why not start spending my spare time meeting girls? I was pretty good at that and immediately started dating whoever would go out with me. My social life started to take off and when I would get back to the dorm, I was quick to give all the details of my date to my newfound friend who lived across the hall. This went on for a couple of weeks. Then one night when I was on a date with this very hot girl, she broke up with me. Seems that my friend had told her about my revealing my dates with her and he was now going out with her.

Thus began my questioning of the plans that my ego was making for me. Obviously I needed to make some room for some good examination of my ego’s decisions. My ego’s road was filled with potholes, and I was stepping into all of them. I desperately needed to slow down. I was at college to get an education, not live in a dream world. In another week or two of soul searching I saw my path and started to take steps to increase my grades and apply to an engineering school near my home.

Most of us have let our ego control our lives at one time or other. The idea as I slowly learned, is to have the presence of mind in which to examine our intentions before actually committing ourselves to one road or another. A good method of achieving a greater sense of clarity is to sleep on your decisions. Another way is to sit quietly, let your mind and body settle down and try to intuit your proper direction in life. If you have the presence of mind to not act irrationally on every whim of your ego, you are on your way to a more successful life.