Let’s face it, you have to have a pretty healthy ego to run for public office. But like anything else in life, it can be taken to extremes – which could cost you on Election Day.
Today’s advice from Robert Ringer was primarily directed at businessmen and entrepreneurs, but the sentiments certainly apply to political candidates as well. A note of caution well taken.
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Zip the Lip
By Robert Ringer
As I watch the daily news, I am constantly reminded that an oversized ego can be the biggest obstacle to long-term success. Of course, everyone has an ego, so it’s pointless to delude yourself into believing you’re an exception. It’s far better to acknowledge the existence of your ego and try to keep it under control.
A hungry ego is like a dinosaur lying on your front lawn. If you don’t continually feed it, it might just decide to get up and step on your house. At its extreme, a bloated ego can even result in Egoruptcy, a form of bankruptcy caused by the investment of too much time and capital in one’s vanity. …
How can you tell if you are developing Early Onset Egoruptcy? The most common symptom is perpetual movement of the mouth and tongue, especially when triggered by the desire to tell others about your plans.
Some years ago, I developed what I believe to be the perfect antidote to this constant, ego-feeding babbling. I refer to it simply as the Zip-the-Lip Theory, which states: If you’ve got something good going, shut up!
Put more gently: Learn to be both quiet and patient. The safest way to operate is behind the scenes with a low profile. There’s seldom anything to be gained by giving the world advance notice of your objectives. How many times have you jumped the gun and talked about your plans, only to be embarrassed when they fell through?
If you manage to achieve your desired end, people will know about it soon enough. You may even gain a reputation for being humble as a result of not shooting off your mouth about what you’re working on. Always remember, people love humility and hate arrogance.
The next time you’re tempted to make a premature announcement to the world, remember that Old Man Murphy (of Murphy’s Law fame) is out there somewhere, lying in wait to trip you up. It’s simply not worth the risk of having a bunch of neurotics jealously gnashing their teeth and doing everything possible to see to it that you end up dining on your own words some fine evening.
The best way to let others know what you’re going to do is to actually do it. The more confident you are about what you intend to accomplish, the less reason you’ll have to risk putting your foot in your mouth. Your ego will be more than sufficiently assuaged, massaged, and patted after you have succeeded.
And the more you succeed, the more reason you’ll have to feel secure, which should result in your having less of an urge to talk about your plans and more of a desire to produce results. Getting your ego out of the way gives you a clear mind to focus on success.
Granted, it can be difficult to suppress the instant-gratification urge to be highly thought of. But there’s a big difference between difficult and impossible. No one can force you to do the wrong thing. Remember, the choice is always yours. A lot of things are difficult but not impossible. You always have a choice.
As retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (played by Al Pacino) put it in the film classic Scent of a Woman, “I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard.”
Translation: You always have a choice.
What is your choice when it comes to instant ego gratification versus long-term success?
[Robert Ringer is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. To sign up for his e-letter, A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World, visit www.robertringer.com]