Why your Ego is a Child and Not your Enemy

No matter how many friends, family members, lovers, or acquaintances you might have, there is only one person you literally cannot live without – yourself.

Even though there’s only one of you, most of us make an effort to differentiate our “inner voice” as a separate entity, the puppet master controlling our lives behind the scenes. We see it as the enemy who routinely sabotages us so we give in to our fears, don’t achieve our goals, and never reach our full potential. In reality, this seemingly evil mastermind out to destroy us is not really so sinister; it’s just an infant throwing tantrums and shitting diapers.

In his 2005 movie Revolver, action-comedy movie director Guy Ritchie decided to take a different approach; instead of his usual “heist gone wrong” theme, he wanted to show us the power of ego – our “inner voice” – through various characters who either ignore it or succumb to it.

The fans and the critics slammed him for it and the movie wasn’t accepted as well as his other works. But if you disregard the fact that this guy usually makes movies about people with accents robbing other people with accents, Revolver actually did a great job of portraying the ego as your own worst personal enemy:

You’ve heard that voice for so long, you believe it to be you. You believe it to be your best friend. He’s behind all the pain there ever was. Behind every crime ever committed. We just put you to war with the only enemy that ever existed, and you… you think he’s your best friend.

Where’s the best place an opponent should hide? In the very last place you’d ever look. He’s hiding behind your pain, Jake. You’re protecting him with your pain. Embrace the pain and you will win this game.

— Avi, Revolver (2005)

The movie ends with a clip of various researchers in the fields of psychology and psychiatry talking about the concept of ego, how it is a puppeteer who has the ability to influence our actions, wants, and behavior. They explain how most of us don’t even know that it exists and how ego is the enemy that needs to be eradicated and destroyed in order to release yourself from the prison of your mind.

Today, I am going to tell you why this can be a wrong way to look at the concept of your inner self.

WHY PEOPLE HATE CHILDREN

You hear it all the time: children are the future. Children are so innocent and have a vivid imagination. They are superbly creative and open-minded.

They’re also little shitbags.

They’re selfish and think that they should be the ultimate center of attention at any given moment. They feel entitled to whatever they want, when they want it. They literally leave a pile of shit on the table and expect you to clean it up.

And when you think about it, this kind of irrational, entitled behavior perfectly describes your inner self. Your inner voice wants everything, wants it now, doesn’t think about the repercussions of its actions, and believes that you should listen to it all the time. And when you don’t, it gets even louder.

Boy yelling into a microphone
Listen to me, listen to me, LISTEN TO ME!

Even though that voice isn’t real, it feels real. And since humans mostly act on emotions, rather than logical reasoning, that feeling can act as a real drive behind our actions. Worst of all, that voice is never positive. It never wants to take risks, learn new things, or improve. It never says “this might be awesome” or “things aren’t so bad”.

It’s a baby.

Instead of an evil mastermind sitting on top of a high tower in a black leather chair,  plotting your ultimate destruction, evil mustache and all, imagine a toddler with a rattle, confined to the safe space of your mind because the outside world is unknown and scary.

It’s a just a fucking baby.

It wants to play, so you skip that learning session to play video games. It wants candy, so you order fast-food instead of preparing a cooked meal. And if you say “no” at any point, just like any baby, it is going to go berserk and yell and plead and scream and beg and complain until you give in.

Just like babies, it just thinks about itself. It doesn’t care about your goals or ambitions, your problems or struggles, and hardly ever thinks in the long-term. And since it can’t leave and find a new mind, it’s going to fuck with yours.

It’s like having a dog. Alright, he knows he’s a dog, and he’s not going to leave you and go looking for a new owner. Why the fuck would he leave a perfectly comfortable home with an owner that feeds him and lets him hump her leg on Wednesdays.

He’s not going to. He’s going to stay put, get fat, and die.

— Dom Mazzetti, BroScienceLife

Since you can’t get rid of your mind, it’s not a good thing to think of it as your opponent. I mean, living with your own worst enemy, every second of every day for the rest of your life — holy shit. That sounds terrifying. Just look at the lengths Jack’s Wasted Life went through to destroy his own inner voice.

Besides, our inner whatever-you-want-to-call-it doesn’t have an evil master plan in mind. It just wants to stay in the comfort zone, enjoy short-term pleasures, and keep away from exploring new things.

And to some, having a baby inside their head is even worse than having a mortal enemy. We can all imagine Sherlock Holmes battling Moriarty, but give him a baby screaming its lungs out, messing up his way of thinking, and he’s probably going to end up shooting it.

However, there is a major silver lining here, as having a baby is better than having an enemy. An enemy needs to be defeated. A baby can be trained.

WHY PEOPLE LOVE CHILDREN

Everybody knows that shitty diapers and irrational, self-entitled behavior is part of the deal. But ask any normal parent and I’m sure they’ll tell you that, no matter how bad it gets, it’s worth it.

Taking a small, round, bald blob that can’t feed itself and developing it into a smart, capable, and superior being is definitely something worthy of appraise. Such a change is never a pure result of nature; everybody grows older, but not everybody grows up. Raising a quality person takes time, effort, and dedication. And, in the end, they will make you so proud you will forget about how incompetent they were when they were little.

The same goes for your brain.

Right now, it acts on its primal instincts. It acts out of fear, but if you stop fighting it and pleasing its every wish, and focus on upraising it instead, you will manage to turn it from an infant into a full-grown badass.

Handsome man with a beard in a suit
I came here to grow a beard and chew bubble gum. And I’m all out of bubble gum.

You need to teach your brain that risk isn’t necessarily bad. You need to show it that acting out of fear is ultimately worse in the long run. You mustn’t give in to every temporary impulse, because you won’t achieve anything that way. Just like any parent, if you always give in to your children and feed into their delusions, they will grow old but will still be children mentally. They won’t appreciate things, won’t work for their own success, and will always depend on others to clean up their shit after them.

But if you take a firm stance and live by healthier habits, they will learn discipline, appreciation, and independence. They will realize that facing your fears and charging into the unknown is the only way to true progress. And, if done right, over time they will even become better than you.

You will then shed a tear of pride, looking at your now-grown baby as you suddenly realize that… it isn’t real. There is no ego, there is no inner voice, no puppetmaster, or a brain-child. There is only one, single entity.

There is only you.

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Hey, I'm Phil Janecic.

I’m a guy who’s been in your shoes and knows exactly what you’re going through. I started Mind of Steel in 2014 to help people change their lives by building mental strength.

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