When did having an Ego become a bad thing?

Or should I ask, is it bad to have a high and healthy level of self-worth that builds the foundations of successful behaviors?

It’s the same question.  Only these days, it’s all about how you say things, not what you say that’s important.

A well developed Ego, like many of the traits found in the Alpha male and females in all species, have been demonized in our modern world.  In this politically correct, don’t keep score, and tolerate all kinds of mediocrity culture we’ve allowed to develop in the post industrial society any behavior is ok… as long as it makes no one feel inferior.

At CrossFit Wilmington, we strive to bolster and develop your Ego.  We want to make you stronger; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

To be successful, you absolutely must embrace yourself.  You need to love yourself in order to truly seek self improvement.  To seek self improvement, you have to identify your limitations and then line out ways to exceed them.  The ego is what allows us to rationally make a plan to do so.

Trying to keep your ego “in check” is counterproductive.  Feed your self worth and your ego with successes and accomplishments.  It will grow stronger and so will you.

“Society believes that it is the responsibility of parents, teachers, police officers and all other parent figures to keep children and out-of -control adults from developing too large an ego. The accepted way of doing this is to be sure the child or adult-child ego is deflated to a reasonable size by pointing out its faults, what it did wrong, and how it is less than perfect. As the reasoning goes, the ego will then toe the line and learn what its place is.” –  from Arlene Arnold’s “Ego: Friend or Foe?”

It’s place?  Toe the line?  If only we could put our ego on Ritalin or another of the many drugs MDs give to calm our hyperactive children.  Either way, you are training at CrossFit Wilmington!  WTF do you care about toeing the line?  Ha.

Here’s the real deal with Ego.  It’s important, actually crucial, to your survival.  It’s your identity and it is the drive inside you.  It is not a bad thing.  A simple, weak person hears the word ego and thinks negative thoughts.  They think arrogance and cocky.  That not at all what the ego is.

The Ego is you.  It’s your identity.  Good or bad, it is how you “see” yourself.  Developing a healthy, confident ego is important to your success in any thing you attempt.  Without a healthy ego a person has no drive and their successes are small. In a more primal time, confident hunters ate well.  Their egos were developed through performance.  Their performance secured the tribe’s survival.

With no ego how would we know to protect ourselves?  To feed ourselves?  Gather food for the winter, drink water, dress for the cold, fight when threatened?  I real predator doesn’t stop its attack until its belly is full.  Or beaten.  With no ego, the weak are just that… weak and vulnerable.  Without the sense of self, there would be nothing to protect.  You’d be like the domesticated goat, simple and not possessing a will to live, much less thrive.

Without ego, the human race would have become extinct long time ago.

Freud’s model of the psyche, says there are three parts of the self: the id, the ego, and the super ego.  Each are as important as the next in guaranteeing a person’s drive to succeed.  They are all functions of the mind, but without them the body would perish.

The id is the basic instinctual, primal survival mechanisms.  They include all the behaviors that ensure our body’s nourishment and care.  The id is what drives the infant child lost in the woods to pile up leaves and make a warm place out of the weather in order to live. It is nature, not to be confused with the unlearning of primal behaviors by the environment’s nurture (parents, teachers, police, etc. or those in leadership and or regulatory roles).

The ego is the realistic, organized, deductive part of the brain.  It is our rational.  It is in constant compromise with the id.  The ego is what allows us to make plans for the long term.  The ego favors and supports the id.  In nurture, the ego is typically most influenced by the mother and its focus is safety.  The ego is risk adverse and does not push the limits.  It will settle with being comfortable.

The super ego is basically our conscience.  The part of the self that keeps the instinctual behaviors of the id and rational components of the ego from teaming up and doing bad things.  Some call it your “moral compass”.  Only, like any compass, if you don’t follow it, you can easily get lost.  It includes the  part of us that tells us to respect each other.  It is what keeps the sheepdog from massacring  the sheep for fun.  The nurturer most important in the development of the super ego is the father.  With a weak model for the father (the hunter or warrior) a person has no direction or code.  The super ego cannot offset the powerful instincts of the id and the perpetual rationale of the ego.

If any of the above parts of Freud’s model are not developed fully, and therefore capable of keeping the others in check, our drive to reach our potential is neither.

So, again I ask… when did having an ego become a bad thing?  When looked at it in a positive manner, we find the ego, or better… the self and it’s three components, is best when it’s developed, not stifled.

Know your capabilities… and your limitations.

I’m not saying an inflated ego with cockiness and arrogance is good.  Don’t be mistaken.  Arrogance builds a false ego.  It’s a defense mechanism built by insecurities.  Once you realize your capabilities and experience your potential you are no longer deterred by irrational fears.  What some see as crazy and risky, you will see as a learning experience.  You will no longer be scared of failure, just the lack of trying.

An old friend and hunter once told me “Don’t beat a hound dog for barking”.  In other words, don’t try to qual a natural behavior.  At CrossFit Wilmington, I want to do everything I can to develop your natural ego.  I want to make you strong and ready for whatever comes your way.  I want you full of self love and confidence, because without them, you’ll never fully respect others.

I want you to know your capabilities and push your limits.  The “judgement free zones” and “feel good about yourself no matter how awful you are” mentality isn’t acceptable at CFW.  In the real world competition counts and humans thrive on it.  There’s no mommy here to hold your hand and tell you it’s ok to be weak.  You can do as little or as much as you want here. But your little better be done your best.  Your much is to be done better.  No excuses.  We love your ego, you should too.


Want to know about your ego?  Take this ego test:   http://www.pressanykey.com/cgi-bin/egotest.cgi

12 thoughts on “Psychology 101: ID, EGO, and SUPER EGO

  1. t. says:

    The Ego test is funny…

    Mine gave me a “EGO Index” of 37. That’s about halfway b/tw cautious and lively.
    It’s conclusions: “Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful and practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest…Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever broken.”

  2. Albert S says:

    I got 41. Some of the questions are interesting.

    “Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who’s constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out.”

    Pretty close to me I think. But that might be my ego talking. 🙂

  3. Scott S says:

    Great post, t. I think a healthy ego is a necessity to have a positive, meaningful life. While there are many things I am not capable of doing (okay, I will not have a 600 pound DL), I know the most powerful thing keeping you from doing something is thinking you might not be able to do it. So I approach every event in my life thinking I can do it until I learn otherwise. Sometimes I fail, but it is never for lack of trying.
    One of the great benefits of being at CFW is that you truly find out what you are capable of doing, both mentally and physically. Like most people, I fight the urge to believe I am a little faster, stronger, smarter, tougher than I really am. Stripping away that layer of self-deception is the only way you can identify your true capability and then finding your ultimate ability. The support we get at CFW to do just that is part of the magic elixir (the Kool-Aid!) that we consume as part of the community. And the respect you earn for giving maximum effort is something we all crave. Sure the respect and cheering you hear during a WOD is great, but the respect you give yourself is a treasure beyond value..

  4. No GOOD says:

    Joe I agree with your Mom HA.

    Great Post! I got a 40 I agree with about 80% of the eval it gives you but interesting.

    When we come to SUndays and we usually have one of the Post like today it is what really separates CFW from EVERYONE. The care and concern for general well being and HEALTHY living is prominent and always in your face.

    When I was a Pop Warner Coach, one of the best times in my life, you have many challenges when developing the EGO’s of your boys/men. You have kids from all walks of life, some wealthy some dirt poor some maturing faster than others. So how do you find the common ground? You have an opportunity to teach them more than just about the beautiful game of Football you can teach them life lessons. I would yell out to them “WHAT IS PAIN?” they Reply, “PAIN IS YOUR FRIEND” then I would yell “WHO IS PAIN” reply “PAIN IS YOUR TEACHER” . At the start of the season when you had a hand full of kids that would cry or want to quit after Coach Ron had them do 20 Bur-pees for going offside, become these little warriors, who who at the end of the season would yell out only 20 coach how bout 30!!!! And you see the confidence, the transformation into little men but not arrogant, confidant and mentally strong, its AWESOME!!! It is up to you to decide to do the right thing. SOme times you have to get your feelings or FEELING hurt or hurt them, it builds character which transfers to EGO

    As if you all did know…”I LOVE ME SOME ME” hahaha Have a great day CFW!!!!!

  5. Em says:

    lol…29…”Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It’d really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.” HMMMMMMM…..interesting. =)

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