It’s not always easy to tell if our choices are coming from the right place. However, if you follow your intuition, your life is likely to be enjoyable and meaningful. Follow your ego and you might be successful in many ways, but you’re likely to find yourself wondering why you’re not as happy as you think you should be.
Learning to determine whether you’re being guided by intuition or ego can make a huge difference in your life. While there are no hard and fast rules to make the distinction, there are tendencies that can serve as a guide.
Consider these differences:
- Ego-based decisions are grounded in fear and self-preservation. If you decide to go to medical school primarily for reasons of financial security, that’s ego. If you decide to not ask a new neighbor that lives next door to come over for coffee, that’s ego.
- Ego-based decisions typically have emotion connected to them. A choice made from a place of intuition just feels “right” and often comes out of left field. You might be walking in the park and be hit with the idea of becoming a photographer, something you’ve been thinking about for awhile. The resulting battle in your head on whether you should or not is your ego fighting back.
- Ego-based decisions consider external results. Are you writing a book in order to have a bestseller, or are you writing a book because you’re fascinated with the idea of writing a book? Are you taking an action to gain certain results, or does the action itself provide sufficient satisfaction?
- Ego-based decisions involve rationalization. Your ego is wonderful at convincing you that its choice is the right one. “I’ll never get that job. Imagine how disappointed I’ll feel when it doesn’t work out. People like me are destined to only be supervisors, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I can still have a decent life.”
- It’s just a rationalization based on fear – fear of success or fear of failure.
- The ego tries to justify itself with facts, figures, and logic. Intuition doesn’t require these tricks to compel you. If you’re using logic to convince yourself of a course of action, you can bet that’s your ego squawking.
- Intuition doesn’t judge. A thought or decision arising from intuition doesn’t involve judgment statements about right or wrong, good or bad. Intuitive thoughts feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful. There’s a universal truth to an idea that arises from intuition.
- Is the expected gratification coming from within or is it external? Would you make the same choice if no one would ever know? Would you purchase that BMW if no one ever knew you owned it? Or do you simply love German automobiles and love the idea of owning a precision car? Are you driven by money and admiration or by personal satisfaction?
While the ego can be very limiting, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wrong. Remember that the ego’s motivation is largely based on self-preservation. Your ego believes that it has your best interests at heart. Ignoring the ego can be challenging. It uses fear to influence you. It’s only natural to avoid fear and seek comfort.
The trick is to realize when fear is holding you back from something bigger and better. Sometimes fear is keeping you from doing something foolish. Think before choosing which voice to follow by using these tips to help you make a decision that will bring you true happiness.
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