Introduction Happiness is the only important variable that we all run after throughout our lives. We all know that it is not based on money but on relationships. We become so much consumed by what we assume as "I know" or "I only know" and "what I know no one else ever knows". This ego is even more dangerous when we become relatively more prosperous than our friends or relatives. The ego then becomes our super ego. How can we mitigate the negative aspects of the "I" and dissolve it? And then lead happy lives? This is possible by a) apologizing for bad behavior b) trying to be very conscious in all situations c) Reinforcing changed behaviors and d) seeking constant feedback from others.
How it normally works It normally happens in Corporate environments and in the self-contained townships attached to factories manufacturing sugar or cement or paper or steel.
The CEOs in such environments are very good production management experts who always contribute to healthy bottom-lines. They always have a growing tribe of "yes men" who constantly pamper their egos. This pampering of the ego becomes so much of a routine that the CEOs start to have giant sized egos. Sooner or later, there are some Senior Managers who also gstart having such egos.
The growing ego hassles of such senior people often results in demoralization of those who do not like such behaviors. Frustration sets in all over.
More often than not, the Top Management realizes the magnitude of the problem at some point in time. The young professional from the promoter family gets into the picture and simply cuts the CEO and the Senior Managers to size. When the going becomes very tough, some young person in the promoter family gets in and cuts such people to their size.
It is then that such persons know where they stand. They also realize a huge number of their mistakes. It is then that the "I" has to be dissolved, through a number of systematic steps, as described in the following paragraphs.
Apologizing for bad behavior This true story happened in a heavy chemical factory - One of the senior managers, Mr John (name changed) would always throw his weight around. He had his own cronies. He was an influential manager, controlling production of a vital product and process. However, his ways were not even liked by the CEO. This gentleman was a more measured person and had even had some experience abroad. In spite of all reprimanding in private and some counseling, this person would not listen.
For a pretty long time the Top Management only bothered about profits and everything went on well. However, since Mr John never cared for safety, there was a fire that caused the Management loss of five lakh rupees. The fire was fortunately put off. This attracted the Management's attention. Mr John was blamed and severely reprimanded. Worse, his own cronies saw the wind blowing in the opposite direction and let out all his secrets. Juicy tales of his ego hassles reached the Top Management in full detail.
Mr John lost face. He realized his folly. The CEO came to his rescue. A meeting was arranged. Mr John openly apologized for all his mistakes. It was a deeply emotional meeting. At one point he even broke down. The CEO not only comforted him, but also gave him a few days leave and sent him packing, with his family, for a tour to a hill station. His family was briefed in private and told what they needed to do.
Trying to be conscious in all situations Trying to be conscious is a vital step in the change process. Mr John also apologized to his family members. Since they were so used to his bad temper and his ego plays, they were pleasantly surprised when he asked his fifteen year old daughter about home work. They were so happy when he asked about a special prize she was awarded in a singing competition. This was in total contrast to his casual "good" at the dining table, when told about this on an earlier occasion.
In his earlier avatar, he would discuss production matters and reprimand his subordinates even at 9 PM. The family members were pleasantly surprised when he received an urgent call about some urgent production matter during their holiday. He politely told the person to contact his deputy. He of course offered some suggestion on what could be done.
Mr John became conscious of his changed behavior. He even asked personal questions to his subordinates. He visited the house of some subordinate who was sick. He made notes on whatever he did. Since he was a shrewd manager, negating all bad effects of his ego became rather easy. He kept a distance from his erstwhile yes men too.
So, the most essential part of the change process is to be very conscious in all situations. This is even more important when we realize the negative part of our behaviors and start changing for the better.
Reinforcing changed behaviors Reinforcing changed behaviors is no rocket science. All that needs to be done, is to consistently exhibit the changed behaviors and be seen as the changed person. This sort of keeps repeating itself, in terms of changed expectations too. When the most significant others also realize that the change is not a one stop phenomenon, but is here to stay, the change process gathers credibility and the person begins to feel the change and even further reinforce all the changed behavior.
Mr John did precisely this. The CEO and the Top Management were mighty pleased and even made him totally in-charge of a new project, with huge powers. This is exactly what can happen when the person becomes a changed person and the Top Management is also aware of the "before" and "after"behaviors.
Seeking constant feedback from othersIn the office situation, this feedback should be obtained from well-meaning peers and some superiors who can really help us change. It should not be taken from everybody. It is very dangerous to obtain about our behavior from anyone with whom we have not had any relationship, official or personal.
In every family we will have seniors who are above seventy or eighty years of age. These are the seasoned experts who would have seen it all. They know all the shortcomings of ego and what damage it can cause to any one of us at any time. These are the people can greatly help. Their rich school of experience is indeed an open book for very effective learning of how we can easily dissolve our "I" problems.
Each one of us would have had the "I" dominating our behavior in some form or the other. It often does when we try to assume that our wives or husbands are lesser mortals and even try to poke fun at their weaknesses in group situations. This can be really shattering for the other life partner, who would nurture such grievances for a very long time.
It is always wise to not assume anything about the strengths and weaknesses of others. Every single human being born on this earth has his or her own pluses or minuses. The undue importance to "I" can indeed simply blow away what is so good about human relationships, about human nature and all that is good in this world.
Hence, let us avoid the ego, dissolve the "I" in us and zoom ahead, as only we can!!
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A nice article on the 'ego' in us and how to get rid of this evil. The author has really put the words in a flowing and impressive narration.
Dissolving ego does not imply that we become like one of the common masses or workers. Discipline and mutual respect as per cadre are essential and that is to be cultivated by the higher-ups in the subordinates by stringent rules and discipline otherwise some subordinates will exploit the simplicity of the superiors. One can always use one's experience and knowledge in the development and progress of the organisation and become a role model for the juniors without any show off or ego therein.