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  • Khawaja Saud Masud

10 Actions to Control Your Ego

So it doesn’t control you


My personal experiences have distilled a clear life lesson in that to have a fulfilling life, the ego must be contained. Yes, ego is not necessarily evil and may even be an important catalyst for progression. But ego is tricky to manage sometimes because it doesn’t have clear boundaries, breach of which would signal to the person to start pulling in the reigns!


Before I share the 10 actions that may help contain the ego, I have to punctuate that in all these actions, the underlying theme is gratitude, without which, in my view, ego will control us than vice versa.


Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

1. Fast often

Hunger has a carnal, physical and immediate way of curbing the ego. It reminds us of our dependence on availability of nourishment and the fragility of the human body. After a long day of fasting the first drop of water feels precious and a sense of rejuvenation takes over, followed by a sense of thankfulness.


2. Attend funerals

In addition to supporting the grieving friends and family and paying respect to the departed, one is shaken up by the proximity of death with every funeral. Frequently recalling ‘momento mori’ or ‘remember you must die’ keeps the finiteness of life in constant perspective, thus rarely allowing one to ride the wings of ego and float into the skies of delusion. Burials, especially keep us grounded in more ways than one.


3. Volunteer time

Helping teach the underprivileged has a remarkably strong imprint on one’s psyche. There are moments of awe, for example, when you find children staring at a color pencil box finally open it up for the first time and 20 minutes later draw and color their first parrot in all its glory with their eyes wide open and smiles even wider. The realization of what small things we take for granted is so deep that one can’t help but feel gratitude for what is already given and the joy of becoming a conduit of joy for others.


4. Compete up

As a 40+ year old, try competing with someone in their early 20s in an intense sport or physical activity. Then try to engage a 70-something old who has lived a well-examined life in a philosophical debate. In both cases the realization of your physical and wisdom gaps becomes apparent in a short span of time. Waves of humility begin to thrash against the jagged rocks of ego and that's a good thing.


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