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8 Keys to Recognizing the Faces of Egocentric Behavior

anger egocentric

The way eyesight and the eye itself are inseparable, anger is closely tied to the ego. Your success of transforming anger and reaching higher states of awareness depends on one skill – the ability to recognize your mental patterns and calling out the egocentric behavior.

Hate to be blunt but life experience dictates that those who can recognize their own bull shit are not bothered when they smell it in others. In fact, they’ll relate better, even develop more compassion for themselves and others.

Just as a skilled pilot with full situational awareness of the buttons in the cockpit is able to effortlessly steer the plain in the right direction so will you be able to focus on much grander things in life without being tripped up much by destructive emotions.

Below is a fascinating collection of egocentric “dispositions” and my simplified explanations (feel free to disagree or expand in the comments.) If you want to become a master in anger management, I invite you to internalize these points and have them dwell in your awareness throughout the day, sounding the alarm when a wire is tripped.

Be warned though… Ego can have many faces, hides under many masks, and manifests in an infinite amount of ways. It works in a true ninja style. It is stealthy, it is cunning, it strikes when you least expect it. Not only it takes a keen sixth sense to detect its behavior, it takes courage to fess up to it. It takes real courage. Here is the list:

1. Egocentric blindness – the inclination not to notice facts or evidence which contradict our cherished beliefs or values.

Example: This is MY son. He has manners. There is no way he could have pinched Suzie in the butt in the classroom. He’s too nice to act like this.

2. Egocentric memory – the tendency to “forget” evidence and information which does not support our thinking and to “remember” evidence and information which does.

Example: YOUR wife is messy. Why? Because you tripped on the shoe that YOU kicked off on the way to the bathroom and bumped your head against the closet door that she left opened.

3. Egocentric myopia – an intellectual shortsightedness based upon dogmatic (non-falsifiable, rigid, inflexible) commitments to an overly narrow point of view (ethnocentrism, provincialism).

Example: I am American. I don’t need to know or understand other cultures because American culture is the best.

egocentric behaviout example4. Egocentric self-righteousness – a delusional sense of superiority over the common masses or average person and the tendency to think that our beliefs are true because we believe them.

Example: I am Amish. I don’t need electricity and I prefer a horse buggy. Civilization is evil.

5. Egocentric hypocrisy – the tendency to ignore flagrant inconsistencies between what we profess to believe and the actual beliefs our behavior imply, or inconsistencies between the standards to which we hold ourselves and those to which we expect others to adhere.

Example: I am Islamist.  My God is peaceful and merciful. I will use a bomb to prove it.

6. Egocentric oversimplification – the natural tendency to ignore real and important complexities in the world in favor of simplistic notions when consideration of those complexities would require us to modify our beliefs or values.

Example: I am Pope Benedict XVI. It is Un-Christian to distribute condoms in Africa.

7. Egocentric immediacy – the tendency to over-generalize immediate feelings and experiences-so that when one event in our life is highly favorable or unfavorable, all of life seems favorable or unfavorable as well.

Example: You watch your home town Football team lose a championship.  You feel robbed of honor. Life sucks and you want to kill everyone.

8. Egocentric absurdity – the tendency to fail to notice thinking which has “absurd” consequences, when noticing them would force us to rethink our position.

Example: Your husband is the sole culprit, source of misery and your rage. If it wasn’t for his stupidity you’d be a totally happy person.

The pop psychology claims that our minds are “naturally” prone to these egocentric tendencies. However, if you follow this reasoning then you will be led to believe by the main stream psychologists that claim anger is also “normal.” I passionately disagree.

“Darkness is nothing but an absence of light” – attributed to A. Einstein but it wasn’t him. 🙂

Just because ego dominates the unenlightened mind it does not mean that ego per se is mind’s essence; very far from it. If would be like saying that dirty water is natural because it is abundant. We all know that once the impurities are removed, water becomes crystal clear, which is its true state.

My advice? Simple exercise –  develop your awareness around these dispositions and catch yourself in action. When you do, make a mental note, laugh, change.

old monk idea fingerP.S. Got anger? Download my FREE report called “7 Secrets of Anger Management from Ancient Wisdom.” I’ve spend years gathering the advice that is presented in it. If you’re on a spiritual path this could be a life-changing e-book for you. (You’ll find it in the upper right corner.)

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Mark Bajkowski April 16, 2016, 5:00 pm

    Great article except Islamist example because hypocrisy is linked to practically every religion: “I am a strict fundamentalist. My God is forgiving. I will kill to prove it.”

    • AM Tadas April 17, 2016, 8:18 am

      I agree Mark. However, islamist hypocrisy is still very prevalent today, evidenced by jihadist wars and in-fighting among islamists themselves.

  • Amy December 2, 2016, 5:22 pm

    I’m afraid I agree with Mark. I read the article and concluded that you don’t like/agree with Amish, Islamists, or Benedict XVI, so you used them as examples of misdirected ego. If you share your specific beliefs/prejudices as if they were self-evident and incontestible, you water down your central message. I think it would be a better article if you picked on faceless people, not specific religions you judge and think everyone should. Even if your opinions are right, it means you are likely to reach fewer people.

    • AM Tadas December 3, 2016, 8:20 am

      Valid point Amy. It is however a personal blog and not a scientific research paper. I do share my views here but not in any “incontestable” way and always welcome a conversation with opposing views. I never liked “correctness” and general language with faceless people never appealed to me. If we are to live in a free, open society then religious beliefs should be both scrutinized and criticized, especially when they clash with human rights or just any common sense. Appealing to everyone means appealing to no one.

      • Mark Bajkowski December 4, 2016, 4:50 pm

        A valid and important (more so than commonly considered, I think) point, Amy.

  • Mark Bajkowski December 3, 2016, 10:10 am

    I agree that the purpose of a blog post is to express an opinion, a reaction or to share an experience and not so much to present a research paper. However, when a blog post is placed in public domain for comments it demands a judgement. I can’t omit the fact that, just like in Plato’s view what an opinion is, a blog post “is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.” Where the post positions
    itself on the knowledge and ignorance spectrum, matters more than the right to an opinion itself. I’ll leave it at that.

    • AM Tadas December 4, 2016, 9:19 am

      I beg to differ, Mark. Sometimes this complex way of thinking, judging, analyzing, especially the type that only sounds good but does not lead to any meaningful conclusion can be a symptom of ignorance disguised as pride of scholarship. We live in a digital age where everyone’s opinions are out on the plate to consume or reject but I would honestly go crazy trying to judge or correct anyone who mix their opinions with absolute wisdom or total ignorance. There are way more interesting things to do out there 🙂

      • Mark Bajkowski December 4, 2016, 2:08 pm

        By no means, I’d commit to endless debating of people online especially because a widespread anonymity is known to cause ignorance (LOL). That would be indeed a waste of time. I merely suggest that my engaging in sporadic exchanges online is an opportunity of understang something rather than “teaching”. I happen to know few Muslims who are one of the most remarkable human beings as well I know few such such Christians and Jews. That, alone, makes me quite sensitive to any trace of generalization.

        • AM Tadas December 4, 2016, 3:09 pm

          And I appreciate that Mark. Having spent over thirteen years in SF Bay Area, I too had learned to appreciate all cultures and religions. But then I pondered whether it was the religion making them such good people and realized it is good people that make those religions seem good because when you study the violent past of both Christianity or Islam (the latter seems to to be still very violent) then you see there’s nothing useful in them, at least not to the critical Western mind which now has access to logical, experience based wisdom traditions of the East.

          • Mark Bajkowski December 4, 2016, 4:41 pm

            Since this post is about various shades of egocentrism, I want to conclude that, especially recently, there is a paradoxical excess of a concurrent oversimplification and overcomplication just to “win” arguments. Consequently, our conversations “naturally” drift into areas they don’t even logically belong to. Conclusions such as the circumstances (or religions or places or ethnicities) make someone good or bad, are common even if, on the fundamental level, they are paradoxical. In reality, nothing affects us unless we fully cooperate with it and, in the end, we are who must bear a full responsibility for not only our actions but also for our opinions. Sadly, “the tendency to think that our beliefs are true because we believe them”, morphs our potential to discover into a “fundamental religion”. What’s even worse, the coarseness of online communications elevates the 250 cognitive fallacies, we all are occasional victims of, to a status of life philosophy that demands our blind loyalty. BS has never been so highly valued…

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