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"I never wanted to be famous, just good." —Ray Charles One of the consistent issues intertwined throughout the world of Warriors, Workers, Whiners, and Weasels is ego management. This is a tough one. Warriors must be filled with self-confidence and have hefty egos, but if they grow too large or unrealistic they may go the way of the Weasel. Workers who have the talent and tools and aspire to be Warriors may need a bit of an ego infusion, or they could achieve a higher degree of happiness if they just loved themselves as much as they deserve to be loved. Whiners typically suffer from low self-esteem; if they could capture the necessary self-confidence—and perhaps love themselves a bit more—they would be happier and live life as a Worker or Warrior. Loving yourself just enough for the right reasons, but not too much becomes the key. I've met many individuals who have never progressed in their social lives or careers primarily because their ego does not allow them to foster normal human relationships. They are so focused on themselves that they never develop their relationship tools. Those who achieve success often develop a different set of ego-related issues. As you grow more successful, the balancing act becomes increasingly difficult, because it is challenging to keep one's ego intact when everyone around you is feeding it for his or her own motivations, or even because you really do deserve the accolades. "Believing one's own press" is seldom advisable (something I can personally attest to). My business involves working with a lot of celebrities who run the gamut from legendary to "yeah, wasn't he the guy in …?" One of the biggest problems the famous face is finding a way to keep a real-world perspective when their own lives are so far from the real world. I know that, in my own life, I am constantly disappointing myself when I let my ego get out of control, yet it is also easy to fall into depression when you allow yourself to become overly self-critical. In many ways, people can be classified by the state of their ego at any given time, and usually, as someone progresses through life and experiences failures and successes, they gain maturity and their ego naturally progresses and refines to an acceptable level that suits them well. Possessing the ability to assess and control your own selfconfidence level, and the impact of it on those around you, is a valuable tool. One of the most common statements people make when reminiscing about past phases of their lives is "if I only knew then what I know now." I have found that, in most cases, the literal translation of that statement really is "if I had only had the
confidence then that I have now." Most people who say this suffered through one or more of the following: the pain of childhood shyness, the need to be accepted, the awkwardness of adolescence, confrontations with the neighborhood bully, fear of trying out for a sports team or club, envy of the "cool kids" who they watched from afar as they wished they could be part of the group. And if they weathered these storms, within a few short years, these uncomfortable experiences seem trite and unimportant. Most of us come to realize that most bullies are more myth than reality. Often the "cool kids" didn't even realize they were in the revered crowd, and falling from grace comes easily. In time, we usually come to understand that if we failed to make the proper moves in our youthful days, all we really lacked was the self-confidence to proclaim ourselves one of the "cool kids," to stand up to the bully, to play more aggressively on the team (and perhaps become the hero of the day), or to ask that special person to the dance. Though we constantly make these realizations, many people fail to carry this lesson forward. Once they get into the workplace or a new social situation, they repeat the cycles of their youth, failing to aggressively pursue what they really want because of a lack of confidence, and then lamenting their lack of progress. Sadly, a decade or two down the road, they often wake up to realize they missed their true goals, repeating a pattern they set early in life. They constantly choose the safe road instead of pursuing their real dreams. They never escape their fear of the "mythical bully," and they relegate themselves to never becoming a part of the group they really want to belong to, or more aptly put, to achieve what they dream of achieving. Sometimes, this results in bitterness that further clouds their lives, transforming them into Whiners or worse, or often they just settle in. Of course, there is nothing wrong with happily settling in and finding contentment and satisfaction in what you are doing. In fact, it is the ultimate goal that many never achieve. But living life dissatisfied because of the mythical bully is a shame, and the person who chooses to live this way can only blame himself or herself. It is your responsibility to take the control. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your success, and we all deserve the right to crow a bit about our success. But there is a way to handle it all respectfully. Success is a great addition to your personal brand, and it can also enhance your relationship tool. But the successful manage to keep their egos in check, and they maintain a natural curiosity about others that helps them to keep achieving. Ultimately, we all face the challenge of the balance. We need to be realistic about our strong and weak points, love ourselves, and have the confidence to go anywhere we want to go while constantly working to improve in those areas that need improvement —without taking it too far and letting our ego destroy us. Loving yourself, and feeling comfortable within your own skin for all the right reasons is a great goal. In the next and final chapter, we will see what achieving this goal is all about.
Chapter 22: Enjoy the Ride, or The Lesson You Should Really Learn From This Book
"You only live once, but if you live life like me, once is enough." —Frank Sinatra As I move (sometimes kicking and screaming) into middle age, I constantly come to terms with the mistakes I have made, and continue to make. Luckily, they have not been major life-threatening mistakes, but mistakes that have resulted in me enjoying life just a little less than I would have preferred; they've made me appreciate all that I possess less than I should. Certainly, that is an experience most of us share. This has often been the result of encounters with Weasels, incorrect use of my Warrior tools, and my own missteps. But perhaps this should also ultimately lead to a discussion of the big goal. If you bought this book to tune your Warrior skills, have you thought about why do you want to be a Warrior? Is it that you crave power, success, and/or money? Do you want a great big Warrior car or custom Warrior Harley? A Warrior jet? Your name on top of a building? Are there people in your life you feel a need to prove something to? Is it because you believe Warriors have more sex with more attractive people than you do? Is it ingrained and you just can't help it? All of the above? What should the ultimate goal really be? Using my Warrior's tools to the best of my ability has served me well, as has limiting my exposure to Weasels. I have achieved much of what I set out to achieve for the place I am at, and I look forward to new and more interesting goals to conquer. I have a great wife, family, friends, financial security, a terrific business that has allowed me to work with some incredibly talented people, and I'm fairly pleased with my personal brand. And now I want to take the next step forward—which actually means taking a step backwards. I want to be as smart as I was when I was twelve. I have come to realize that it is incorrect to assume that as you get older, you automatically get smarter about everything. Certainly, with experience you get smarter about most things. But I was smarter about a few important things at the age of twelve than I am now. At twelve, I could spend an entire afternoon immersed in the fantasies of my future: the wonderful adventures that were going to happen in my life. Now, I spend too many afternoons concentrating on silly minutia that really doesn't matter, ranging from a squeak in my car to the bad service I received at a restaurant. When I was twelve, the best dinner in the world cost a buck and a half, came from A&W, and was topped off by a root beer float. Now, I sometimes need to mentally slap myself when I find myself complaining that the radicchio in my $14 salad is wilting, or my wine has been decanted improperly.
When I was twelve, I could meet a new guy in the neighborhood, and within two hours, we would be playing baseball without a care in the world, both pleased with the fact that we had a new best friend. Too often, now I spend inordinate amounts of time analyzing the motivations of anyone who attempts to form a relationship with me, utilizing my Weasel radar, always harboring the unfortunately often-justified fear that their true motivation is to just get something from me. When I was twelve, almost everything had the potential to be magical. Time moved slowly and allowed me to luxuriate in the moment. I was unburdened by possessions, and because I had met few Weasels, I was eternally optimistic. Now my goal is to stay a Warrior and continue to hone my Warrior skills, but also to adopt certain attributes and attitudes of a twelve-year-old. No matter how old I become, I want to dream with great anticipation of all the wonderful adventures and people I might meet. I want to look forward to what might happen that will still amaze me. I want to keep my cynicism and the bad memories of my Weasel encounters in check (otherwise, the Weasels win), and I want to overcome my frequent silly impatience and anger. My final advice to all of us is this:
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Find a new friend and play baseball (literally or figuratively). Stay up late, put aside reality for a little while, and watch a silly, scary movie. Call up someone on the phone you haven't spoken to in a long time (a nonWeasel) and reminisce for an hour or two. Choose someone with whom you can safely let your guard down. Have the kind of open and honest conversation you haven't had since you were twelve. Every now and then, take a "snow day," a well-deserved day off when you can lie around, take a walk, or see a movie matinee. Go dancing. Eat a chocolate chip cookie without feeling guilty. Don't let the Weasels get you down.
Although I can't predict the future, I can guarantee that some day, when you look back on it all, your only regret will be that you didn't enjoy the ride more. See you on the playground!
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