Your ego is (literally) killing you

Alex Danco wrote a stellar blog post a couple of weeks ago about the Freud moment of the Covid-19 pandemic seen from an American perspective.

In it he argues that the reason why the US is struggling so much with the pandemic is because doing all the right things to stem it has been positioned as helping other people, which goes against the very ego driven US culture.

I really think that is a profound insight. But it lacks a further perspective;

While the short term problem is that people won’t use masks to help others that very behaviour comes with two risks:

(1) By not using a mask, you risk becoming infected as well. Which may – worst case – be fatal to you and – by extension – your ego.

(2) By not helping others and playing your part in battling the pandemic, you’re making yourself substantially worse off longer term, as you’re effectively destroying your own future.

Why is that?

Because basically you’re assisting the crisis in becoming a lot worse before it gets better. Meaning that while it rages out (if it ever does), you’re losing business, opportunities, sales, partnerships – a livelihood.

You’re not necessarily killing yourself (and your ego). But you’re making both substantially worse off in the longer term by not taking a time out to help NOW.

Why is this important?

Because it shows the perils of (a) being controlled by your ego every second and (b) not thinking ahead a bit.

The last point is one of the great, great challenges, we have as a human species;

We’re so used to thinking and acting short term – from moment to moment – that in the pursuit of instant gratification and a win here-and-now, we’re sacrificing a better, more productive and more profitable outcome later on.

Without even thinking.

Should we really congratulate each other on having stepped back in evolution to the level of other self-absorbed non-reflecting mammals?

Or should we use our unique skills to show that we’re better than that?


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