Self Esteem vs Ego

Angel vs Demon

Ego can be defined as the feeling of “self”. I don’t think ego is bad. Ego is just knowing the difference between ourselves and others. As the popular quote by Aristotle goes – “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Everyone must have a sense of self-respect and self-esteem. Without these two qualities, the world starts extracting unjust benefits from us in every possible way, which is not good. Also its a big gift to know one’s self-worth. However when this ego is boosted more and more, a person starts having a superiority complex by which he starts feeling that he is superior that everyone else. And this may include one’s parents, teachers, elders and other wise people. And i think this is where the problem begins. So further, lets consider ego in its extreme form and analyze it.

Due to highly egoistic attitude, people start taking things for granted. They consider that they are the kings and queens of the world and even start behaving like that. And worst of all, they also expect others to treat them in the same way ! I can say that such attitude is highly detrimental specially for students. If students consider themselves the master, then there is no way in which  their master (teacher/Guru) can give them knowledge. As they say, how can a teacher fill a cup when it is already full. Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” We need to  empty our cups before comings to our Gurus. And believe me there is nothing wrong or embarrassing about it. Its always good to make a fresh new start.

Its always good to be respectful and humble.  Our elders may not be always correct (they are also humans like us) but we must always remember that they have more wisdom than us because of their experience. They have seen more life than us and i am sure there cannot be a better teacher than life. We must not always blindly agree with what others say, but at the same time we must have faith and respect in them. We must not confront them rudely however we must be able to express our views to them. They are our well-wishers and work towards our best interests. So instead of disrespecting others, i feel that it is always better to look at the positive aspects of others and try to inculcate those qualities in ourselves.  After all who are we to judge others. I think if we feel the urge to judge someone then we should rather judge ourselves. An awesome thought i heard today which made me think all this is – “Even the cow gives milk only when you sit down near its feet on your knees, and not when you ride on its back.”

There is a very fine line between self-esteem (the angel) and ego (the demon).  Only the smart ones can see the difference between these. This is the thing which we need to master. If we can determine whether our actions will boost our ego or our self-esteem then we can consider ourselves to be “wise”. To the ones who want to be wise, here is a quote by Confucius which i like a lot –
“By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
I think is some cases its wise to learn from others experience as well. I consider myself blessed to have such parents and teachers who always encourage me to express my views and at the same time argue and stand for my views. “Lucky me !” 🙂

On a lighter note here is a news flash !
“The earth revolves around the sun. This might upset a few out there who still think that the world revolves around them.” 😉

Book Review – The Fountainhead

Since a long time i was planning to read The Fountainhead. But my final semester exams, the thickness of the book and its small font prevented me from reading it earlier 🙂

But it was worth the wait. It is an awesome book. Ayn Rand the author has described all the characters of the book to such a minute detail that they literally come alive in front of the eyes.  It is a 1943 novel but almost all the scenarios described in it are valid even today. It is a bestseller and millions of copies have been sold all over the world in many languages. The book is mainly based on the life of two architects who compete, struggle and fight with each other to get success, money and recognition.

I specially loved the character of Howard Roark who maintains his individualism till any extent. He gives a speech in the end which is superb. Roark is an example of the type of person, a person should. Thus we can say that he is an ideal. His friend and college mate Peter is the opposite of him. He can fall to any extent to see himself good in others’ eyes. A term which i liked in this regard which has been coined in this book is second-hander i.e. a person who does everything to please others and is nothing by himself. Dominique’s speech in the courtroom again makes an awesome read.

This book has been added to my favorites 🙂 I just could not leave it once i started reading it. All the human sentiments from love, anger, revenge, jealousy, sacrifice … are filled in this book. Do read it when you get time. Its amazing ! I finally got how a bestseller should be 😀