The Sandwich Maker

Who do you think of when you hear about Discovery? Does your head fill with images of Magellan or Columbus? Does it fill with Mathematical equations by Einstein or Russel? Maybe for you it’s the Earl of Sandwich and his delightful snack. Whatever it is, we all associate the idea of discovery with someone or some famous idea.

What we don’t do is associate it with ourselves; we don’t make the connection between the joy and power of uncovering some new fact or secret with ourselves. In our minds, it is a task or honor for the great, for the fantastic or the lucky.

Not so. We all make discoveries in our lives on a daily basis, we all take the information we have a re-combine it, we all look at our lives and re-assess our goals. We are all discoverers.

And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Just Do It

Copyright: Paramount Pictures

Today I want you all to do something- something brave. I don’t care what it is and I don’t need the details. I just want you to do it. To stand up or sit down in a situation that you don’t want to do that. To do the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reason. Do the wrong thing, if it’s for the right reason!

Courage is about having the tenacity to attack a problem no matter what the outcome is. Courage is the ability to throw down when the whole world is against you, or not even watching.

Be courageous.

Be amazing.

You know you want to and can, I’m just the person who’s finally telling you what you already know: You can do it.

So what are you waiting for?

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What an Ego!

People keep asking me what Ego Friendly is. People have this very negative idea when they see the name. People see the word “Ego” and they think of obnoxious blow-hards who can’t shut up. They think of “divas” with a much too high opinion of themselves. The fact is, Ego has become a dirty word; it’s more than that- it’s an acceptable slur. You say someone has “an Ego” and everyone nods sagely. If you were to say the same person was ” a conceited jerk with a self-image like something out of one of those Fun House mirrors” the same people would shun you or, at best, think you were the jerk. Why is that? What is so magical about the word Ego that it allows us to get away with being so judgmental and where did it start?

Freud, who coined the term, imagined the Ego as a mediator between the baser Id and the hyper-moral Super-Ego. The Ego is the part of us that interprets the outside world and helps us think. “…The Ego is that part of the Id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world … The Ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the Id, which contains the passions … in its relation to the Id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength, while the Ego uses borrowed forces” (Freud, The Ego and the Id, 1923)

Reason and Common Sense. Say it again, Reason and Common Sense. All your Ego is doing is trying to strike a balance between what you want, what you believe and what really is. Is that so terrible?

Well, what happened was, over the years, people began to see the Ego as that part of us that gets it done, that part of us that accomplishes. Clearly, in the Freudian sense the Ego is that mechanism, but only by default! The Ego is forced to produce, to accomplish by the factors acting on it from the outside world, the Id and the Super-Ego. Doesn’t matter, no one cares. Someone wants to accomplish more than others? Someone wants to do more than get by? “What an Ego!”

The fact of the matter is, the attitude behind that notwithstanding, the Ego has very little to do with drive, with pushiness. That’s your Id! And the part of you that makes you a jerk? makes you feel superior to others? Id again, or maybe your Super-Ego, if you were raised a certain way, but not the ego!

So what’s going on here? Well, what’s going on is this: people are ignorant, people are obnoxious and people are scared. That’s a deadly combination. Years after Freud, people started using the term Ego to mean ones self or personality. It was only a small jump from there to turn it into a slur, a word that means too much personality, too much confidence.

But why is it accepted? What about the word makes people let it slide, while “megalomaniac” or “Nazi” doesn’t fly? One word: Pseudo-science. People like to sound smart, they like to feel educated or, at least, intelligent. So when they pull a word out of old Siggy Freud’s playbook, they feel like their Carl Jung or Ernest Jones! Are they using the term properly? No. Is it slander and vicious? Yes. But you sound so smart!

Here at Ego Friendly we are committed to bringing back the proper meaning of the Ego, by encouraging your Ego’s growth. We exist to help you find that balance between what you want, what is right and what is real. Our services and products are not there to make you “win” or “dominate.” Our products exist to put more tools into your hands that help you actualize what it is your brain is really trying to do. So the next time someone tells you you have a big Ego, just slip them a card with one of our principles on it and say, “thank you.”

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Today, for our post on “sense,” the ability to use all your senses to inform your sixth sense, we give you the lyrics and a video of John Lennon’s song “Intuition” from his 1973 album Mind Games:

My intentions are good, I use my intuition
It takes me for a ride
But I never understood other people’s superstition
It seemed like suicide
And as I play the game of life
I try to make it better each and every day
And when I struggle in the night
The magic of the music seems to light the way
Intuition takes me there
Intuition takes me everywhere
Well my instincts are fine
I had to learn to use them in order to survive
And time after time confirmed an old suspicion
It’s good to be alive
And when I’m deep down and out and lose communication
With nothing left to say
It’s then I realize it’s only a condition
Of seeing things that way
Intuition takes me there
Intuition takes me everywhere

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Laziness- The Silent Killer

Far and away the most obstructing obstacle of them all is laziness. Most internal obstacles are stronger than their external counterparts, but laziness is one that doesn’t even have an equal out there.

Laziness can grip you like no other feeling. It slowly draws you deeper into it’s vicious grasp and squeezes the life out of you. The longer it has a hold on you, the harder it is to escape. Every precious second spent lazy engenders minutes more of it. The minutes become hours, the hours days. Once you give laziness an inch, it’ll take a mile.

Hard day? You just need to relax, chill out. Put on a movie and have a beer. Seems OK, right? Seems healthy. It is. Relaxation is an important part of our lives, human beings need time to let their minds wander, to assess things and, in a way, just let go. So when does relaxation become laziness? That’s the hard question, because the two bear some very common attitudes and forms of expression and each person has his own level.

I remember when I was in college, living in a tiny studio apartment, cleaning meant taking out the garbage and washing whatever dishes were piled in the sink. As I got older (read: married) I realized that this wouldn’t do. But once I raise my standards of living, I raise my laziness threshold level to a much higher degree.

What is the laziness threshold level? That’s the place where how important any task is meets how much you actually get out of not doing it. For example, in college doing my dishes had a relatively low LTL, since it was only about once a week AND if I didn’t do them, I’d be out of dishes. Since the payoff of doing the dishes was high (clean dishes) and the work value was low (weekly) I would say that putting it off was just not worth it.

Now, when dishes from 2 adults, a 3 year old and a baby seem to be crowding every surface in my house you would assume that the LTL would be low again, since the pay-off is having space in my house. But a lot has changed- I have many many more dishes and don’t NEED the dirty ones on a more than twice-weekly basis, the only reason I want to wash them is because of the space they’re taking up. The pay-off (extra clean dishes) doesn’t seem to value the amount of effort, giving us a high LTL. Which means, if you’re like me, that the excuse for laziness has also increased.

OK, so this is the fourth time I am trying to start this article. No, I didn’t stop because I was too lazy to go on, I just found myself unable to truly pin down “laziness”. I tried authoritative (“Far and away the most obstructing obstacle of them all is laziness.”) But that didn’t last past two sentences. I tried poetic (“Laziness can grip you like no other feeling. It slowly draws you deeper into it’s vicious grasp and squeezes the life out of you.”) That Just got pathetic. I even tried to quantify laziness and invented something called the “Laziness Threshold Level.” But none of this seems to be hitting the issue.

So why can’t I get to the root of this issue? Why can’t I pinpoint laziness? I think the reason may be that we all have our own ways of defining what is lazy and what is not. We all have our own values upon which to judge someone else’s, or our own, actions and the term “lazy” is going to be different for each set of values.

Sure the above is true about most judgment calls, but it seems different to me with laziness. As a teacher I hear a wide variety of excuses, but the one I hear most frequently is, “I didn’t have enough time!” Doesn’t matter if they had two months to do it or if they were reminded six times, my students, on the whole, will procrastinate until the night before just about any project is due. This is not to say, by the way, that I’m that much different but at least I have the decency not to whine about it. Now, when a student tells me they didn’t “have time” they are really telling me, “I prioritized my work/life and your work came out on bottom.” That’s fine, I don’t take it personally. In fact, if we’re talking about a student who is rocking “A”s in just about every class, including mine, I’m even going to trust his priorities and let it slide. It’s the student who doesn’t even know what the assignment was, the student who didn’t remember that it was due that week, who I’m going to call on that kind of thing. That, to me, is laziness.

Laziness isn’t prioritizing badly, it’s not making a judgment. Laziness is a lack of effort, of interest or attentiveness. When you look at your kitchen and decide, “I’ll have more time to clean it tomorrow,” you’re judging, you’re thinking. When you say, “It’s just going to get dirty again,” you’re being lazy.

Once again, I’m not stating any hard and fast rule here, I believe each person has their own demons to fight in this battle, the above was just an example. So how do we fight these demons? What strategies can we use to make sure that we don’t fall from prioritizer to procrastinating?

As with any internal issue, the first and strongest defense is, to quote Mad-Eye Moody, “Constant Vigilance!” Whenever you find yourself skivvying off one task for another, ask why. Whenever you decide that it would be better to tackle that talk or project another day, think about what your reason is. The best policeman we have is ourselves. If you try this and you still find yourself in trouble, enlist a friend or loved one. Have them call you on tasks or help you make a chart or list to properly prioritize your projects. No one really minds helping others not be lazy.

With a mindful mind and a watchful eye, you can start separating what you aren’t doing for good reasons and what you aren’t doing for bad ones. You can begin to get to the root of wherever your particularly laziness stems from and, with a little help or a hell of a lot of gumption, you can have that problem licked.

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The Building Block of Life

James Watson and Francis Crick were not the men the world would have bet on to figure out the secrets of life, but discover it they did. DNA, Deoxyribonucleic acid, the “Double Helix,” is the building block for all life on this earth and probably any life we find off of it. So how did two scientists not bent on answering the big questions about the origin of all existence come across this information?

Well, if you’ve been reading our Ego Friendly posts for long enough, you know that the answer is certainly not, as some want to make it out to be, luck. Crick and Watson, like all good scientists kept their eyes open, asked questions and made sure that nothing that could be potentially informative was allowed to slip by. Don’t believe us? Watch the video below. After you watch it, maybe you’ll have a better understanding of how true discovery is always the result of hard work.

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Manning Up

”Be a man.” Who hasn’t heard that phrase or variations on it? In ever life there are times when we must bite the bullet and make the tough choices, times when choice seems to be taken from you and the odds seem to be against you. It is those times that we are told to “man up” or “grow a pair.” And, despite the phraseology, the metaphor is and can be applied to women just as equally. People aren’t saying that it is a masculine attribute to be brave, that it is only men who can accomplish. What someone means when he says that is that, like a man’s body does, you must show the outward signs of your strength, you must make it as clear as the muscles on a bicep or the tautness of a limb that you can do what it takes, no matter what.

And courage is exactly that- the ability to do what it takes, when the time calls for it, no matter what.

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The Extra Mile

When something is really in your way it’s often very difficult to see it as an opportunity but it is. In fact, those tough tasks and those seemingly impassable blockages are what bring out the best in us.

Think of those last ten minutes of your work out; you’re exhausted, you’re sweaty and you just want to hit the showers and the sauna. We all know that it is then that we can truly push ourselves to new heights. It is then, with your shirt plastered to your back and your breath working like bellows that you can discover that you truly do have that extra bit of something, that drive that equals true success.

How often have you sat before a project or assignment that seems impossible, a true obstacle that seems to have you completely stymied- only to find that suddenly, almost magically, you have figured out the solution. You know full well that it’s that extra push, that final drive that has gotten you there and if you had admitted defeat only moments ago, at the time when all seemed lost, you never would have found your way.

So remember, tired as you are, beaten as you seem, it is only at times like that that you can truly learn what you are made of.

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