Beware the illusory ego

We view ourselves and the world through our ego. The dictionary states that the ‘ego’ is one’s image of oneself. This ego, in my opinion, is like a shape-changing lens through which we view ourselves and the world. So the image that we see through this lens depends on the current shape this lens has. Let me elaborate on this a little further.

Low self-esteem: There are times in our lives when nothing seems to go right. At these times we feel small and useless. We simply can’t seem to get anything right. In our minds we are ‘losers’ and really no good. Our self esteem is at its lowest and we are blaming ourselves for everything. Everybody, other than us, seems to be superior and very proficient. The lens simply shrinks the image we have of ourself. During these times, some people beat themselves for every mistake they commit during this period.

Feelings of grandeur: We also have times when we feel that nothing can go wrong. We succeed in achieving some of the goals that we set. We seem to be on a roll. Our mind magnifies every thing that we do and makes it appear great and grand. It appears that nothing can stop us. We feel extremely proud of ourselves. We also look down at the difficulties others are having and wonder why they are not getting it right. We feel pretty cocky.

The truth is neither of this real. We are neither losers, nor are we really superior. This is simply an illusion that our ego creates. But at these times we feel that this reality. Actually nothing can be farther from the truth.

We are still the same person we were.

We really have to wary of this illusion that the ego creates. During times when things go wrong we have realize that there is no finality in this failure. Life is a marathon and we can pick ourselves up and move ahead slowly. Similarly just because the going is good does not make you superior. We need to have the humility to realize that the success is temporary and we need to move on. We can revel in the success for some time but we should not let it get into our head.

During these times of success and failure we need to step back and look at ourselves. We should neither feel crushed because of defeat nor be arrogant because we succeeded where others did not. We must realize that these are stages in life.

Moreover it will help if we have a good circle of friends who can give us a honest opinion.

So there is no need to feel inferior or superior to others. Realize that the image that you see of yourself is the creation of the ego and is not real.

Tips to boost your self-esteem

There are times in our life when we are filled with self-doubt. Our self-esteem may be at an all time low. There are times we may feel like an imposter? Our confidence, may be low or ebbing If you have experienced any of these, take heart, you have a lot of com-pany. Here are 4 tips that will help to boost your sagging esteem.

Take the bull by the horns: You may feel that you are inferior to your colleagues at work or your classmates in school or college. If you do, the first thing you need to do is to stop beating yourself up. Rather step back, and take a hard look at your short comings. Think on what skills that you will need to acquire to be more conversant in doing the things that you need to do. Get cracking on learning these skills rather than simply feel-ing lousy and complaining to yourself. Take proactive steps in honing the skills that you lack. Once you start to learn the necessary skills you will be able to communicate better which will give a major boost to your esteem.

Build your esteem bit by bit: Confidence and esteem are like an account in a bank., We need to constantly add to our fund of esteem. We need to keep doing small things and building our self esteem bit by bit. We must not forget to pat ourselves for every success, however small it may be. So while you may not be the best in a certain area you will de-finitely be extremely fluent in other areas. Make sure that you give yourself adequate credit for all the minor or major achievements, This is extremely important. Esteem needs to be built brick by brick.

You are not who you think you are: Sometimes we tend to look down at ourselves more critically than needed. We many feel that we are not really as smart or as clever as some of our friends, peers or colleagues. But the truth is that our opinions about ourselves many not be correct. As they say “Who we think we are, who others think we are and who we really are, are in reality completely different. So even though you may feel that you are not all that clever , you may be much better than a whole lot of people you deal with. That may be one of the reasons why you are still doing what you are doing.

Don’t confuse familiarity with intelligence: Sometimes we are in total awe with the flu-ency with which our friends or colleagues are able to juggle with concepts and words. You may find yourself coming up short in communication. Quite often people confuse familiarity with intelligence. Familiarity is just knowledge and the able to articulate ideas on this knowledge is not the same as intelligence. A person who knows something is not necessarily intelligent. Intelligence and knowledge are 2 different things. So rather than being awed and feeling inferior you need to start to get familiar with subject. It is quite likely that you are intelligent and really only lack familiarity and pretty soon you will feel comfortable with the subject.

So get started now. Learn the necessary skills. Add to your fund of confidence. Under-stand fully how you really stack up with others, not just in your own eyes, but through the eyes of others and finally don’t confuse familiarity with intelligence.

Build your esteem. Stand tall and don’t compromise on yourself. You are all that you got!

For a degree in right attitude

We spend a third of our lives in academic pursuits, the initial years being taken away in basic education and the later years in the pursuit of degrees and certificates. Education in itself is important and necessary to get us through this increasingly knowledge intensive world. However the fervor with which we attempt in getting into top –rated colleges with top-rated degrees does not make a whole lot of sense. We run, or are made to run, by our family and society after law, medical, engineering, commerce degrees.

Granted, a good degree from a great college or a great degree from a good college will give you an excellent initial velocity and momentum to your career in the early years. But with time it is not the degree that will come your aid but your attitude towards life. Unfortunately there are no institutions that give a degree in right attitude. There are no institutions that teach us the importance of personal responsibility, of social obligations, the ability to solve life’s problems. Neither are we taught to maintain a constant drive to get things done, the need for patience and consistency and so on. These are essential skills that one needs in life in addition to the medical, engineering or the law degrees.

We are left to fend our lives on our own. A great many people, after the initial exuberance of a wonderful start to their career and lives dies down, tend to meander about completely lost in life. There are others who just potter or drift about in life.

“Life’s journey, not a destination” we have been told a million times. What has been left unsaid is that this journey can be to new territory, or simply in plain circles. It is what we make of it.

If we don’t have the right attitude to life we will not navigate our way in life properly. Some of us will tend to the same mechanical things ad-nauseum without getting nauseated. Others will tend to buffeted by the vagaries of fortune. Still others will be cowed down under their responsibilities and problems.

In my opinion “success in life lies is in the eyes of the beholder”. Life is a marathon and we need to have the right attitude in dealing with it. We should not shy away from problems. Rather we should face it head-on. We need to become expert problem solvers. We must sow seeds for our future. We must be grateful for life itself and what it has offered us. We must live every moment.

We must use the creativity of imagination, the strength of courage, the power of determination and the wisdom of patience to sculpt our lives as we live them.

Life is never a race though it is often mentioned as one. In life, you never need to get anywhere. Life is all about paving your own path in time.

You are the sculptor and you sculpt yourself!

A healthy and a right attitude can come handy at any stage in life. This does not just apply each one of us but also to our children.

We should spend more time educating our children about true values like courage, will-power, consistency and drive while they pursue their college degrees. This will take them farther in their lives.

The puzzle of life – The Hindu, Christian and Buddhist view

Life is a puzzle at best. Different religions and religious philosophies have different approaches to life and the way to handle it. While at one end of the spectrum all religions are the same, at the other end they are unique and look at life from a completely different angle. This post tries to look at 3 of major religions of the world and their approach to life and how to conduct ourselves

Buddhism: Buddhism answers the essential question “What is life?” The root of all existence,according to Buddhism, is human suffering. Buddha expounds that life is suffering, in his four noble truths. Buddhism further clarifies that suffering is born of attachment, cessation of suffering is attainable and the path to cessation is based on taking the middle path given in his eight-fold path.

Hinduism: Hinduism essentially answers the question as to “how should one lead life?” According to Lord Krishna in the Gita, one should perform one’s duty with detachment and without any concern for the fruits of the action. We should perform all actions as a sacrifice to God in the full awareness that it is the Creator who is the doer of all actions. Further the Gita tells us that it is better to do what is intrinsic to one’s nature rather than just do something for another.

Christianity: The central message of Christianity is “how should one behave”. The bible requires us love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself. In fact, Jesus goes to the extent of requiring us to love where we would want to hate or in other words we are to “love our enemy”. The Bible also enjoins us to forgive those who err against us, pray for those who despise us. We are to lead a life of love, compassion and mercy.

While all the religions require us to conduct our lives with highest moral principles they essentially show a different path.

The Mirage of Self Image

We all tend to have a self image of ourselves. While some of us like to think of ourselves as hard working, honest and smart there are others who view themselves as losers and good-for-nothings, It is likely that both these sets of people may be very far from truth. In all probability the picture that we have of ourselves will be far removed from reality.


The way our mind work is that we start with some image of ourselves. We then look at all subsequent successes and failures against this backdrop of our mindset. We try to validate everything against our self image we have of ourselves. Every time somebody praises or criticizes us we try to see if it fits with our own sense of self worth. If it does then we take it that we either very good or very bad. We unconsciously tend to ignore anything that does not fit with our mental frame of mind.


While there may be an element of truth in what we experience in the external world the real danger is that our mind sometimes tries to perpetuate this self image of ourselves. Every act that we do or intend to do is in some way to validate this little image we hold of ourselves. We start to dwell longer and longer in our thoughts. We see ourselves as as very hardworking, honest or clever. There are others who imagine themselves as either stupid or useless.


Our mind is goal-seeking. Every act, every event in some way or other conspires to satisfy this little image that we have of ourselves. In most case it will be untrue. 


The important thing is to be able to constant get feedback from our friends and people we trust. We should not be swayed by praises or criticisms that we receive. We just need to concentrate on the task we have at hand.


We need to be firmly rooted to the ground. Then we will be more in line with what and who we really are.

The edifice of self-esteem

We are not born with self-esteem. Self-esteem cannot be thrust on us. We can only achieve our self-esteem in our lives. The esteem with which we hold ourselves is always the result of our own unstinting efforts in achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves.

A person with self-esteem exudes quiet confidence.

The way to build our esteem is to set ourselves small, achievable goals in life and go about in achieving them.  Each success that we achieve in our life adds to our internal fund of esteem. Our esteem has to be built brick by brick in a similar fashion that a large building is constructed. We need patience and commitment in building our esteem.

There are no shortcuts to self esteem. Success and fame achieved by accident or through devious means will not add to our self esteem. They can only inflate our ego or makes us vain. The vanity that results will not have a firm foundation,  as we will know in our hearts, that the success was by chance or not well deserved.

However l victories that are achieved through honest effort, however small, will truly increase our own esteem.  These successes are truly enduring and manifest itself in the self-pride that we develop. This is because we know in every fiber of our being that the success was well deserved and was a result of one’s own efforts.

It takes a long time to build one’s self-esteem. But once it is built it is difficult to destroy it. Self-esteem is like a fortress around oneself.  A solid self-esteem can withstand any amount of derogatory and deprecatory comments. On the contrary, vanity in a person as a result of an inflated ego can easily be crushed. A person can be easily hurt if his opinion of himself/herself is a consequence of his/her ego.

Self-esteem is that magnificent edifice that we build for ourselves through our own untiring efforts. A person with self esteem is aware of his/her strengths and is also aware of his/her weaknesses. While self-esteem instills confidence in the person it also brings about a certain amount of humility.

Self esteem is truly the amalgamation of confidence and humility. While self esteem takes a long  time to build it  is well worth the effort.