How To Use Your Fragile Ego To Do Amazing Things

Young people have incredibly fragile egos.

OK, you’re right. Everyone under the age of 80 has fragile egos.

We want to be seen as good, powerful, efficient, wise, attractive, hardworking, cool, and – of course – not concerned in the least with how other people think of us. We don’t like being insulted, and we don’t like being challenged, we certainly don’t like having outsiders give us advice or criticism. All of these things threaten our sense of self because they threaten our relative position in the social hierarchy.

Most people don’t want to admit if they have fragile egos. There’s no use in denying that all humans care about these things. It may be only acknowledging our desires for affirmation that can we grow past fragile-ego-based decisions. That’s the hope, anyway. Enough time, money, and life has been wasted protecting fragile egos that we could build a Mars colony with it.

But while we have our problematic fragile egos, what can we do with them?

Once we’re self-aware of our fragile egos, we can use them in some incredible ways. Remember that time your boss cast aspersions on your work ethic? You felt like working all night, and you did for several days. Remember when the potential business partner laughed you out of the room for your lack of experience? You probably ended up becoming a formidable expert in a short period of time.

Whatever the scenario, if you have a fragile ego, you can also gain that great, mysterious power called “a chip on your shoulder.” Having a chip on your shoulder – in other words, something to prove – can be an incredible motivation to get things. It’s only temporary, of course. If all of your work becomes about proving something to someone else, you’ve already lost everything.

So don’t let yourself be caught up in ego games or political games, but also don’t try to deny that there may always be a part of you that is a fragile ego. It will be offended, hurt, betrayed, angry at times. Those things can’t be suppressed. Consciously use them to form the chip on your shoulder that will let you do great things.

Organize that event and prove the skeptics wrong. Save that department and prove the other departments wrong. Save yourself and prove your enemies wrong. Do not harm or argue – create and demonstrate.

And then let go of that hurt to your wounded pride. Make something else and something better – something that doesn’t give a damn about your fragile ego or someone else’s. You’ll know the difference.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at

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