Let me share an incident with you.
Early morning, I sent a funny message to my new friend Mrs. A (For privacy lets keep this name)
Even after one hour, Mrs.A has not replied to me. Then I go on to WhatsApp to check whether Mrs.A was online, to my utter shock Mrs.A status showed she was online and there was even typing shown on her mobile but still, she did not reply. There was even a double tick on the conversation.
I am already in a burst of anger have thought that Mrs. A is quite an egoistic person who does not consider replying necessary.
By the evening, I plan to call Mrs. A to talk about something important. Mrs. A does not pick up my phone. Now, I have made up my mind that ego quotient of Mrs. A is quite high and when she will call me I will do the same.
Next day, I receive a call from Mrs. A and I do not pick her call intentionally. I am quite angry with her and I do not pick her several calls for that entire day.
Now let’s listen to Mrs. A, side of the story yes Mrs. A is a busy woman and she came on WhatsApp to reply to all the messages she received, so she was replying people one by one. When she came to me she laughed a lot and then didn’t consider replying necessary. When I called her she was busy in doing something very important and did not realize her phone is ringing (as she keeps his phone on silent).
Now from this entire situation, let’s try to zoom in my brain what was most likely happening.
Whenever we message someone we expect them to reply. If they have not replied after a while even if they were online or have read the message we start feeling bad. Something starts to hurt. We start forming conclusions about the other person based on this instance. The process most likely looks like this.
The more we go through this process again and again, after a while of time this process becomes automatic. We start forming false conclusions quite early.
Now let’s try to analyze why there are flaws in this approach or where during the entire conversation fails.
– We forget the goal of our conversation? The goal of our conversation in most cases is not to seek a reply from others it is to share or gain something from them. Replying or not replying should not make any effect on us but still, it does.
– We form conclusions based on pretty small instances. This is just an instance, instead of forming conclusions do we try to give a second try to contact that person or a third try. If we really need to talk to the other person we should at least try 100% without bothering too early about the results of the conversation. Consider approaching your idol most of the times approaching such people involve lot of effort and we should not be bothered by the results. We are too fast to form conclusions. This problem is exaggerated by our habit of labeling people as good or bad. If we go deep we will find most of the time this label of good or bad has an inappropriate definition attached to it. Like in the example I did not even think something else, or about I am arriving at conclusion too early.
– Since the history of language, it is an imprecise mode of communication not exact. As what you want to convey and what you are thinking maybe heavily different from what the other person thinks what you are speaking. Context can vary a lot for both persons and during a small WhatsApp chat context heavily gets distorted.
Now, all these causes still point to some root effects which we may be missing in our entire discussion. When in the process the person who has communicated starts feeling bad (in our example me) it seems it is not the ego of the other person,? Something else is nudging us. What is it that is making us feel bad?
It is the ego of the communicator which is speaking. We most likely feel bad because the Ego nudges us, how did the other person not reply to ‘ME’. This me is an important word. It can lead to anger or frustration or the self-created identity of which we are not part of.
I used to do some cold calling to call people to sell something, sometimes I got an answer like this:
‘Do you know who you are talking to?’
When I replied with the answer sorry sir, I do not recognize most likely the answer was,
Mr.A/Mr.B owner, Ceo, vice-president, doctor, lawyer, etc of some ABC corporation or company, etc.
Now, why do we have such ego? Why do we think if we have status or money we are very important? Why do most of our world revolve around ‘I’? Like I felt bad or I did this………….
Let us try to see ourselves from different perspectives.
Nature: There are 191 countries in the world with roughly 7.5 billion people. There are roughly 8-9 million species discovered on this planet and the vast majority of them have not been explored. Each species evolves in its own way and humans are one of those species. Further, there are 100,000 million sun-like stars in only our galaxy. There are approximately 100-200 billion galaxies in space.
Now from the viewpoint of nature, it is true that most of us individually are irrelevant. As the history of evolution suggests nature tends to remove groups of species or people together rather focussing on a single individual. (I suggest you read Ray Dalio’s Principles) That’s why it seems corporations which are groups of people survive and our eliminated. We all play a role to help in evolution, but individually for nature, we are irrelevant.
So next time, If we want to see ourselves we should see better from the viewpoint of nature as for how we are contributing to evolution rather how this ‘I’ is important in our life.
Relatives, Friends, Family, People Level: They all consider us an important part of their life and we need to definitely be happy with them. But ‘I’ individually is irrelevant to them. Remember, we are a part as we think they need us similarly it is vice versa, we also need others. It is important to realize that no one is individually more important yet together everyone is important.
Impermanence: We see ourselves in the mirror and try to form opinions about ourselves and others that we are very smart. Yes, its good to consider ourselves smart. It is dependent on two concepts – Our Definition of smart and assumption that we will remain the same throughout our life. I will leave the definition concept for some other day.
Remember no phenomena whether smartness or the phenomena you are experiencing in your life is permanent. Whether you are Ceo of a top organization or a small simple man. Both these phenomena are impermanent they will change with time. Hence, there is no reason for our ego to live with us.
Further labeling any phenomena as good or bad, again creates a problem. (For more of this please read ….).
What To Do?
Now, at least you may agree with me that most of us consider ourselves over important then we are. Since this concept has been ingrained in most of us it will take a lot of time before we can actually say that we are ego-free though some hacks always help.
– Meditation – Meditating again and again on the same topic may help some to at-least realize how wrong we are in thinking. Same goes for yoga. At least for some of the people I know, it is doing wonders. Though remember it can take at least 10 years of practice before our brain to completely change. Though the process gets started once we start doing it. It helps you to become conscious of the conclusions we form like in my conversation case.
– Reading – Now reading not only in the field in which you specialize. By reading I mean multidisciplinary education reading about all fields or different points of view about different people. Reading history and classics help too much. As reading helps to widen your perspective and most of the things which we think are happening for the first time in our life have happened with people in history. Though not exactly in the same way but in a similar way (Over time you can find patterns or cycles). Though it takes a constant habit over time to develop. I think first one year to one and half year should be devoted to making the habit of reading every day rather than its pros/cons. Over time we may have the benefit. Though it is necessary to have the patience to go through the process.
“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Over time I hope this ego goes away and you see your better purpose towards life.
Though remember the author of this article is young and naive and still struggling with all these problems very much.