It ain’t easy bein’ an ego.
Every day, our fragile little ego innocently seeks validation, approval, a sense of importance, and then what happens? Our “higher” self catches on and ruins the whole thing.
What a party pooper.
In my twenties I was having a great time being a player, having meaningless sex with women I wasn’t deeply connected with and bragging about it to my buddies. My ego was livin’ large, just like Bernie Madoff! Then came the ego stock market crash of 29. Shallow connections now felt like a waste of my time and lying and being dishonest made me feel sick afterwards.
What was happening to me?!? My ego didn’t like this one bit. In fact, it did everything in it’s power to hang on, until it couldn’t anymore, so it packed it’s bags and went home.
Or did it?
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist.
My ego is tricky. In fact, my ego wrote the book on tricky (yours too). Realizing that the player card was no longer an option, it redirected to get validation elsewhere.
This is the game plan of the ego. Hide in the shadows until it gets caught, then waive a white flag pretending to give up while it sneaks off into another dark corner.
So what does all that have to do with legacy? It’s a perfect place for the ego to hide.
Legacy. The altruistic and totally egoless pursuit of giving back and helping others. How could it not be? After you die, you’re ego is literally gone, right? Who wouldn’t want to leave behind things that will help other people?
It’s true my friends, your ego has a hand in this one as well. Legacy is just enlightened greed. Here’s what probably happened.
Step 1: You are driven to achieve. You make lots of money, buy nice things, scale your business to the moon, and strive endlessly to be a success.
Step 2: You become disillusioned and realize that everything you’ve been working for isn’t giving you the feeling of success you craved. Achievement starts to lose its luster.
Step 3: Your ego, being the smart little guy that it is, pivoted your focus away from achievement and pointed it towards legacy, which is supposedly for others, but secretly still for your own self-importance.
Now here you are an “enlightened entrepreneur” who preaches the value of legacy as a way to justify your insatiable addiction to significance.
Awesome huh? Don’t worry, there’s good news. Once you realize that your quest for legacy is horse shit, your ego will redirect again.
It will never end.
There will always be shadows to hide in and places inside your psyche that you don’t see.
This article was inspired by a conversation with author Steve Chandler in this week’s episode of Darken the Page. If you want to hear more about the fallacy of legacy, listen to the show here or on iTunes.