How to identify Ego traps and totally eliminate them

As human beings, we are all bound to err at some point in our lives. One of the chief sources of mistakes stems from the weakness to exhibit behaviors that carry our ego writ largely on our faces. We do not even know or understand the damage that it causes to others This article discusses such ego traps and how to totally eliminate them.


An ego trap is a particular pattern of behavior seen in so many people. It often cuts across classes and communities and even religions. Or even regions. Whatever be the pattern of behavior, the net result is the same: people are put off, they become very unhappy and move away from such people. In most of the cases, the behavior may be deliberate but it is also unintentional. The particular person enters the world that he thinks is all his or her own and that others are there to serve him or her.

Central to our discussion are these behaviors. They can be exhibited by very young people or by middle-aged or old people. Yet, the essence is the same. The main ones are a) Boasting about son's or daughter's achievements b) Misusing links to Godfathers c) Boasting about special talents of children d) Needless advise on one's economic status and e) Not delegating anything at all.

Boasting about son's or daughter's achievements

Some fourteen years ago, this author met with a lady, who would have been easily into her late forties. It so happened that her son was based in the USA and worked for Microsoft in a fairly good position. Reason enough for her to draw every single person into a conversation, and boast about her son.

The repetitive boast would run like this: "my son is so well settled in the USA" and then go on boasting about how he got there in the first place. She would then turn her attention to mothers of girls and check about their background. If the daughter had a postgraduate degree or if the family was very rich, she would talk to them a bit. To the others, she would advise them to seek a bank clerk and somehow get their daughter married!!.

Naturally, every single human being was so irritated with this lady's behavior. God perhaps has his own plans for such people. Six months later, it was said that she had level 2 breast cancer and her own son packed her off to Chennai for advanced treatment. He would throw money left, right and center. Caretakers were employed to take care of his mother. Urgent surgery was done, but the son never turned up. His wife who wanted to seek revenge firmed stopped him from coming down. It so happened that one of the same relatives who was badly insulted by the lady, turned up often in the hospital to take care of her. It was then that the lady understood her foolishness. She openly expressed her apology and begged forgiveness. The lady had seen it all. She had a superb record of social work in a local school. Many students also turned up in the hospital. The rich lady was moved to tears. Some students who knew the entire story said that she was doing Surya Namaskar (prayer to Sun God) after she became blind. The teacher scolded them saying that every human being is bound to do mistakes. To err is human, to forgive is divine she said. It so happened that the lady's son stood first in the State Board Plus two examination and also got admission into IIT Kanpur. He then joined the IIMA and went straight to the USA, for employment.

The sick lady not only volunteered to do everything for the boy but also pleaded with her other relatives to take care of the young man. They did. So, the entire turn of events completely transformed the rich lady. She died soon after but somehow survived much longer than predicted. Later on, the boy got to marry one of the rich lady's close relatives well settled in the USA.

Kind words and deeds always have their own value. We should never return the hurt to someone who hurts us through his or her ego tantrums. We should just maintain a basic "hello" relationship with such people. It often happens that such people undergo a massive transformation after some time. Even without a major calamity or sickness. We need to be patient and take a very philosophical view of the entire pattern of behavior. If we are the person(s) exhibiting such behaviors, we need to understand the futility of such behaviors. God has his own ways of punishing us. Good deeds and words are the only things that will save us.

Misusing links to Godfathers

This is so common in family managed companies. Even an ordinary clerk would exploit the weakness of the big boss and get favors done. This is very common when the big boss blindly believes in astrology. This guy with some good knowledge of astrology would voluntarily give all advise and, as his luck could have it, certain events would have happened in the same manner as predicted. This is enough reason for the man to become so close to the boss. What happens thereafter is that the man starts exhibiting behaviors that irritate everyone. He would even rub the seniormost people on the wrong side of the shoulder.

The subtle message would have a recurring central message. And that would be "I have a Godfather up there and you better respect me"

The same person will be crushed if the boss suddenly resigns or dies of a heart attack and so on. The same persons who were insulted would utilize every single opportunity to harass the person and he would be shunted out to a very unimportant position. The best thing is to never have this ego in the first place. It is very dangerous indeed.

Boasting about special talents of children

This is another aspect of life. Mothers who have very intelligent sons who always top the class and are good in say, cricket or something like Carnatic music too, start boasting about them as if there is no tomorrow.

We often get to hear phrases like "my son is very talented you see". Naturally, everything does not last long. Some competitors will emerge from nowhere and the person concerned will become an also-ran.

The biggest lesson is that everything is transitory in nature. Wealth and health positively are. Official positrons and specially gifted children or talented children are very good to feel happy about. But this cannot be an excuse for anyone to boast and throw ego tantrums around. If you are caught in this trap or see your wife in such a trap, it will be fine to advise her to come out of it as quickly as possible.

Needless advise on one's economic status

It is one thing to be rich. But it is not a license for anyone to flaunt his or her wealth and talk so badly and insultingly about others who are poorer than what he or she is. Many often do this. Insulting advice is freely given.

It often runs like this: "You better start saving something now: otherwise you will be a pauper" On the contrary, we can possibly help the person concerned to the extent possible, to make their life far better, though some loan to start a small business and so on. If we insult someone now, when bad times come, to us, they will come in a torrent. Our wealth will also vanish in a flash.

We better not do this at all.

Not delegating anything at all

This is another common ego trap. If we happen to be the boss controlling some fifteen people, we would hurt the subordinates by demanding that they inform you of any small activity that they do. Decisions are never delegated. We would insist that every single decision would need our approval. This is a very dangerous ego tantrum.

The very blunt message is "am the boss, you have to always ask me"

In our absence, everything will come to a standstill. If we are sick, the hospital room might as well turn out to be a meeting room. Such ego tantrums are very stupid too. They would never ever allow any person to develop him or her and that would haunt us sometime in the future.


Some common ego tantrums and the associated behaviors are often repetitive. They cause immense harm to those individuals who exhibit such behaviors. We should totally avoid them if we are those who have such tantrums.

Others who have it would do well to remember that such ego tantrums would not take them anywhere. They are always best avoided.

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