Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur’s worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.
A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, which doubt and overthink and hesitate.” - Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.
Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.
The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?
MY THOUGHTS AND RESPONSE:
Rational thought and ego…a dangerous liaison!
“We have not chosen”. Indeed, we have not chosen until we shed the identity we were given as a child by parents, caregivers, teachers, rules, society etc. etc. A child’s mind is born, so to speak, as a blank page. What is written on it will either put them on a path to self-awareness or neurosis and self-destructive behavior.
Definition of the ego:
1. The self, particularly the individual’s conception of him/herself.
2. The superficial portion of the id, or primitive infantile mind that develops out of the id in response to stimulation from the infant’s physical and social environments. The chief functions of the ego are (a) reality testing, or learning to distinguish between self and environment; (b) mediating between the demands of the id and the superego, which embodies the critical and moral aspects of the self. (Dictionary of Psychology/J.P. Chaplin, Ph.D
Note: notice the self is not capitalized. In the quote by Stephen Pressfield, the self IS capitalized because there is another self of which he is speaking; the Self (capitalized), meaning the “God within us” (C.G. Jung Lexicon, A Primer of Terms and Concepts, Daryl Sharp). The self is the individual as a conscious being.
But, I believe the two are intertwined. For when we are conscious we are aware of the “God within us”.
The ego is all about control and conformity. It does not want to dream. It wants to keep you tied to what has become the ‘norm’. Most of us live our lives unaware; asleep at the wheel. Let me ask you this: Did you FEEL your feet on the floor as you got out of bed this morning? Did you FEEL the water on your face? Did you savor the taste of your coffee, tea, and breakfast and FEEL the texture in your mouth? Did you FEEL the door knob when you opened the door to go outside?
It has been my experience that most people, if they are honest, will answer no to these questions. We need to wake up. Until we become truly aware, we are not alive. We cannot fulfill our lives when we are sleeping. We cannot be ‘real’ when we are living in a ‘dream-state’. We need to live in the moment, live in the present. The past no longer controls us. The future is not here so there is no fear.
Now, we can move on to our hopes and our dreams. My life has not turned out at all as I had hoped and dreamed. Up to now, I have settled for less; I am not speaking of a materialistic less. This less has kept me unhappy, unsatisfied and depressed. I would like to leave the life I have been in for well over 30 years. I have ‘settled’. I have not been true to my ‘Self’. There are many things that hold me back…the thought of hurting another person; the thought of starting over, alone; the fear of not being able to support myself financially; the fear of the unknown; am I too old to do this?
How can I overcome these obstacles keeping me from moving into my true ‘Self’?
For one, this relationship is most likely hurting the other person already, so I would not be the cause of any additional pain. However, to truly believe this is a difficult process. The fear of being alone needs to be worked through in my therapy. To overcome the fear of not being able to support myself would mean that I need to decide what I would like to do (I have not worked in 30 years) and get the training I need to do it. As far as the fear of the unknown, I just need to be brave and find the courage to go through it because it will not last forever. Finding a good support system could help tremendously. Too old…never!
So, for what am I waiting?