One of my first jobs was as a telemarketer for a telecom provider. It was basically cold-calling people all day, trying to sell them mobile contracts
I picked things up quickly and became the top performing salesperson on the floor. In my first month, I made at least five sales a day, which was more than double of what others sold.
People praised me big time. It also got to my head big time. By my fourth month, I got into a big slump. During one stretch, I didn’t sell anything for almost two weeks.
I went from top to bottom in a short time. Why? The praise that I received cultivated my ego.
When I started, I was open to criticism, I learned relentlessly and listened to everyone.
But after I received praise from managers and coworkers, I stopped doing all of those things. Unknowingly, my ego became bigger, and I started to listen to it.
I quit after six months, frustrated, as a loser. Granted, I just started college, and I was 18 years old — but it wasn’t something that I wanted to experience again.
“How do you stop letting your ego get to your head?”
The answer is perspective. There are always people who are better than you. Plus, if you’re successful, you might be just lucky.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why you’re successful. Who knows, right?
Instead of craving praise, I became motivated by the work itself.
When it comes to writing, I hardly look at my stats. If a post does well, I often think “I was lucky.” That’s not false humility. I truly believe that.
Maybe a lot fewer people would read a particular post if I posted it a day later. Who knows?
That’s why I don’t get people that write “How I got 10 billion-trillion views” posts. But I guess that people just love to brag.
You just never know exactly why. So it’s best to assume that it’s not because you’re so awesome. Don’t listen to your ego that’s telling you to show other people how awesome you are.
And this applies to everyday life as well. We praise people for going to the gym three times in a week. We tell someone who started a business ‘successful.’
I don’t want to downplay our hard work. But I do want to downplay our ego. An attitude of ‘I’m so good’ does more harm than good.
I like Mark Cuban’s attitude. He says:
“Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.”
That’s coming from a guy who’s a billionaire and owns an NBA team. It shows humility.
Just the belief that someone else could swoop in and do better than you will keep you eager, just like day one.
This is true for your work, but also true for your relationships. How often do you hear that people don’t feel appreciated in relationships?
We think that the ‘dating’ phase requires all the hard work and effort. But once she says yes, our ego wins: we take off our pants, sit on the couch, and fart while watching Netflix.
Not that there’s something wrong with doing that, but would you do that on your second or third date? Probably not.
So don’t do it ever, not even if you once won the ‘spouse of the year’ award. What would you do if someone swoops in and takes your spouse from you? That’s what could happen if your ego gets in the way.
“Is praise always bad?”
As you go through life, people might acknowledge you for many different things: you character, results, hair, eyes, work, etc.
There’s nothing wrong with taking in praise. And there’s also nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself. But why not be humble at the same time?
Always keep learning. Understand that luck plays an important role in life.
There’s a fine line between self-confidence and pure delusion. And before you know it, praise gets to your head.
You start thinking you’re important, and you start bragging. And here’s what Shakespeare said about braggarts:
“Who knows himself a braggart, let him fear this, for it will come to pass that every braggart shall be found an ass.”
And you don’t want to be an ass, or do you?
Thanks For Reading!
I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.
I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?
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