11 Signs Your Ego Is Ruining Your Life

11 Signs Your Ego Is Ruining Your Life

If your ego is ruining your life, there’s a good chance you don’t even know about it! That’s ok though, because until now, nobody has shown you that there are other ways to live your life, free of negative emotion and without ego.

You see, there are two ways you can choose to live your life.

Ego or Real

Below the line Above the line


Option one is survival. In survival mode , ll your decisions and feelings are run minute-to-minute based on what you have around you (or don’t have around you). Your reactions and emotions are usually determined by dwelling in ‘similar’ situations that happened in your past, or by the fear of predicting how your future will be affected.

This is a life of EGO.

What is ego?

Your ego is a part of your unconscious mind that is programmed to keep you alive.

It really doesn’t have any bigger life plan than that. It doesn’t care if you are living well, living happy, living relaxed, as long as you are alive, it’s winning. If you are stressed, depressed or anxious, your ego is not going to do anything about it. Actually you will probably notice more negative feelings because everything to your ego is a personal threat. You are always on the edge of not surviving. Your ego’s only focus is fear.

This fear will often prevent a person from taking risks or making changes, even positive ones. In ego state you will avoid trying new things or being in a situation where you might look inadequate.

What does ego mean?

Time spent in Ego state is a seesaw between feeling grossly inadequate and unskilled and vastly superior and righteous. The ego mind is constantly comparing and assessing yourself against other people. “I’m better than that person”, “I’m never going to achieve what that person has.” These two work hand in hand and often run simultaneously.

When someone is said to have a big ego, what that means is they feel so small and insecure on the inside that they need to point out other people’s flaws and inadequacies to feel better. By cutting down the competition around them they feel less insecure about their own shortcomings.

Rather than take lessons, get advice and acquire new skills, a person in Ego will use (and believe) multiple excuses. ‘I would have applied for the promotion at work but that person doesn’t like me’ and ‘I didn’t enter that competition because it’s not for people who are serious about their designs,’ are two examples you may have heard before.

If a person genuinely feels good about themselves and their abilities, when they are committed to learning and growing and thinking a problem through without getting emotional, they will typically inspire others to do well and excel. In this situation someone might call out, “You have such a big ego!” just because they feel incredibly threatened by that person’s success and their own inability to step up. Loving yourself and knowing your skill set and limitations is not about ego, not unless it’s damaging to your performance or to those around you.

How ego works

Running on Ego doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be successful. Comparing yourself to others and living in a state of fear can push people to excel, especially if you are naturally talented. However, in ego you will never achieve your absolute best, because you are afraid to admit mistakes and to learn and grow from them.

A really good example of this is the tennis star John McEnroe, who in the 80’s was #1 in men’s tennis for four years. He was all Ego. The guy is famous for his dummy spits and blame sessions, one article even listed him as chronically irascible. At the time his tantrums were a really big deal because tennis was considered a gentleman’s sport and Wimbledon was treated like a sacred library. There was McEnroe, spewing profanities and letting emotion get the better of his game.

A lost point was always someone else’s fault, he’d blame everything he could, from the dressing room standards, his coach, the other players, the quality of saw dust, the referees. Even he admits that he never reached the top of his game, his ego got in the way. Owning your mistakes gives you an amazing opportunity to learn and make adjustments. Every time you make a mistake, you have a chance to get better. Ego though will turn away from every opportunity to learn and grow because learning is a threat. Everyone will see that you are inadequate.

It’s really important to understand that nobody forces you into feeling trapped or stuck, only you do that. It’s only your ego that tells you, you have no choice: Quit or suck it up. There is another choice, to get real.

When things are going well and everything is moving according to plan it’s really hard to tell who has ego mindset and who doesn’t. When the shit hits the fan, then you discover really quickly which way a person’s thinking falls.

Living in Ego is a choice we make. It’s also a choice we can unmake.

Get real

When you are real with yourself about your emotions and your actions you have incredible control and choice. In real mode you are able to create new opportunities, be flexible and remain calm. Your thoughts and feelings are decided by you and you can use a wide range of tools and materials to get to where you want to go. You do your absolute best and are satisfied with the outcome. If there is room for improvement you bring that into your next round.

Your creator self wants to explore, invent, reveal and discover. This is the place where your goals can be realised. In Real, your only focus is love.

Anyone can shift into Real, if they are willing to look beyond the short-term goal of surviving and seek out quality of life. “How can we make things better?” “How can we improve this?” “What can I learn from that experience?” “Who can we collaborate with?”

In creative mode you are always on path to your goal. You are in the driver’s seat, you call the shots and decide your own responses and emotions.

How do you know if you are operating from Ego?

11 things people do when their ego is driving

  1. Gossip, criticise and judge others.
  2. Have a determined urge to be right at all costs and prove how right they are.
  3. Constantly compare themselves to other people with a focus on who is inferior or superior.
  4. Experience jealously and resentment when other people do well.
  5. Turn down help, advice and training that would be beneficial and rewarding (even if not completing the training will prevent them from continuing in a course or program)
  6. Refuse to learn what went wrong, investigate different ways or start again with improvements.
  7. Quit as soon as it’s evident they won’t win.
  8. Sulk or become intensely upset when presented with a loss, fall short of a goal or meet unexpected turns. These feelings and the memory of the shortcoming can haunt them for days, even weeks.
  9. Have unrealistic expectations of their abilities and set goals that are unachievable. They are then devastated and anguished when they fail to reach them.
  10. Take everything personally and respond with high emotion.
  11. Blame, excuses, stories, finding fault. There is always an external force preventing them for achieving something.


If you find yourself living in Ego there are some really quick and fool proof ways of getting back into the driver’s seat of your own life and creating.


  1. Look for options and additional choices. In anything we do there are always multiple choices. In ego you only have one or two choices. As soon as you find a third option you move to ‘cause’ and option 4,5,6,7,8… will almost instantly follow.
  1. Know where you are. When we are operating at ego we usually don’t know about it. As soon as you are made aware of it, you automatically shift from ego. Having a trusted person, a work colleague, flat mate, life coach, family member or partner who is able to let you know when you are acting from ego is the fastest way to break free and get back on track to creating your destiny. Once you know you are in Ego it’s like breaking a spell.
  1. Be in the moment. Mindfulness, like the activities described in Eckert Toll’s The Power of Now, can bring you back to now where you can start to make rational and clear decisions.
  1. Practice gratitude. Be grateful and find things to be grateful for in your life every day. Keeping a list, going for a gratitude walk or meditating in a state of gratitude helps you recognise and stay connected to your skills and abilities and make it easier to draw on these when you have a problem to solve.


We need to actively pay attention in order to identify the times when we use excuses, blame and fear to make our decisions. Our ego isn’t rational and will often respond explosively to the world around us. In ego we feel that everything is out of our control, that things are put on us, go against us or we’re getting the rough end of the stick. When something bad happens to us in ego we feel there is nothing we can do about it but get emotional.

The danger of ego is we can end up successfully surviving a life we are miserable in without ever being able to achieve our dreams.

Matt Catling

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