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8 Keys to Recognizing the Faces of Egocentric Behavior

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 an Islamic extremist.  My God is peaceful and merciful. I will use a sword to convince you.

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 build awareness around your thought patterns if is easier to apply antidotes when needed.

Note to those taking offense over religion: as mentioned in the comments below, my point was not to offend any faiths. It was merely to use an example how extreme religious views can be used to justify one’s anger. When we hide our shortcomings behind religious bigotry we smear the entire spiritual tradition, be it Islam, Christianity or any other. I feel my examples are well justified as religious wars have caused more wars and violence than we care to admit. If you can stomach more, here another article you might enjoy: 8 Biblical Reasons Why Raging, Vengeful, Cruel God Needs Serious Anger Management.

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.)

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Mark Bajkowski April 16, 2016, 4:36 pm

    Great article except Islamists example is would function better on many levels if rewritten to:What disturbed me more is the example used in the article: “Example: I am Islamist. My God is peaceful and merciful. I will use a bomb to prove it.” My logic would be more happy if the example is: “I am a strict fundamentalist. My God is peaceful and merciful. I will kill to prove it.”

  • Mark Bajkowski April 16, 2016, 4:40 pm

    Good article except this, in my opinion, would be more logically correct example: “I am a strict fundamentalist. My God is peaceful and merciful. I will kill to prove it.”

  • Mark Bajkowski April 16, 2016, 4:47 pm

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

  • 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.

    • Cactus September 22, 2020, 6:52 am

      I think this example perpetuates the commonly held idea that Muslim people are violent and terrorists. You did not directly say every Islamic person, however, people with Islamophobic views/biases will make that generalization. In the largely Islamophobic world that we live in, just putting those two together is more than enough to perpetuate it. Muslim people aren’t seen as people but instead terrorists so any misrepresentation is damaging. Thanks for reading my comment.

      • AM Tadas February 20, 2021, 5:49 pm

        The article mentions an Islamist, not Muslim. I fell it is a clear enough distinction between a fanatic and a religious person. Fanatics are big trouble for any faith. 😉

      • Marlene December 23, 2021, 6:04 pm

        You are looking at the finger and missing the point!

        • Marlene December 23, 2021, 7:21 pm

          I was responding to Cactus’s reply.

  • Garry August 4, 2016, 9:22 am

    Really liked the concept, However many points left uncovered. Egoistic person is very difficult to handle. There is no point of proving yourself to someone who has ego at the first place.

  • 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…

  • Damion Ajibola November 12, 2017, 1:44 pm

    I like to have more information about egocentric and if there is way they can be helped to live a better life.

    • AM Tadas November 12, 2017, 5:45 pm

      The way to live a better life is to be less egocentric. 🙂 Thing is, you don’t need to do anything because there are really two ways one will become less egocentric: #1 by choice by developing more altruistic, compassionate qualities, #2 life will teach them very painful lessons. The latter happens because egocentric behavior is inherently incompatible with good relationships, well paid jobs and just the basic happiness.

  • Sajjad February 24, 2018, 12:14 pm

    I am Muslim and your example for Egocentric Hypocrisy is extremely offensive, misleading and very false.
    It would be amazing if you think about your content as you have no idea about how much it offends someone.
    I was studding for geography and now it’s very difficult to refocus.
    I don’t know why you just assume a Muslim would think like that and it is very offensive and distracting to millions of people.

  • Sajjad Sharif February 24, 2018, 12:14 pm

    I am Muslim and your example for Egocentric Hypocrisy is extremely offensive, misleading and very false.
    It would be amazing if you think about your content as you have no idea about how much it offends someone.
    I was studding for geography and now it’s very difficult to refocus.
    I don’t know why you just assume a Muslim would think like that and it is very offensive and distracting to millions of people.

    • AM Tadas February 24, 2018, 4:08 pm

      Hi Sajjad, as you can see this clearly refers to an extremist view. I have some Muslim friends and none of them are trying to convert me or kill infidels around them. They also don’t try to portray themselves as perfect Muslims, judge other “non perfect” Muslims but secretly defy laws from their holy book. It’s about being authentic, practicing what we preach and respecting other’s choice without feeling or holding to one’s own “superior views”. So what’s your take on this as a Muslim? Is Islam the only path and others are lost? Why do Christians or Muslims feel like they need to convert people to their faith?

    • Marlene December 23, 2021, 6:12 pm

      Again …you’re missing the point of the article. If you don’t identify with the form…the body, human mind….. than your ego doesn’t get involved. When dwelling in pure consciousness we are all one. Do not allow your ego to be so sensitive to the form. I feel this is the cause of most our problems as Human Beings. The article wasn’t about pointing to a particular group of people. I felt it was pointing to examples of behaviors we all exhibit when dwelling in ego consciousness as Humans.

  • shikha chandel March 13, 2018, 2:26 pm

    Great article. We have been surrounded by so many egocentric people I wish there could be something done to change them and make them better human being.
    I am trying an effort to bring a little bit of change through a change in the mindset of women, help them grow and empower. You can see it at shikhachandel.com An effort to change society for a good cause is always satisfying. I am sure your article here might have helped many in understanding the egocentric behavior a little better and improve. Very informative. Thanks for sharing such knowledge.

  • Anonymous May 24, 2018, 7:57 pm

    The 8 egocentric points you’ve mentioned are really helpful for someone like me who’s just now coming to find out that I exhibit a lot of these traits without realizing them. Self-awareness is always the first step to recovery.

    I agree with the other commenters, however. It’s difficult to take a blog post seriously when you use ridiculous examples discriminating against Amish and Muslim cultures, and when the “simplified” explanations are written so juvenile in comparison to the original definitions. The grammatical and spelling errors were quite deterring as well.

    Aside from these issues, I also felt you did not provide any real solutions to the points you’ve listed. If you’re a “Master” of anger management you would know that for many people it’s very difficult to “catch” yourself in the moment and laugh it off, especially if you’ve already lost your temper. If you have some other article or post going over this, you should refer to it, as it would increase your own traffic as well as help the reader.

    In conclusion it seems like a lot of people, like myself, have stumbled onto this post seeking some kind of assistance with “egocentrism”. You have definitely helped me out by presenting this new knowledge i was previously unaware of, however, I’d recommend you re-evaluate your approach and proofread your posts before you publish. As you said yourself this is your personal blog so do with it what you want, but if you really want to help others I’d take a few steps back and re-assess that ego of yours. It’s pretty clear in your response to others that you’re still dealing with ego-management issues yourself.



  • Chris April 5, 2019, 1:44 am

    This was very interesting. I think that anger itself is a red light warning us to take action or be careful and might be useful if not acted out with violence. Anger is not the problem but how it is expressed and can lead to,the blinding of reason. I tend to feel very angry when I see someone hurting someone else or doing something harmful, dishonest or destructive. I guess that fear, pain, shame, guilt and sadness might lie behind the anger.

    • AM Tadas April 5, 2019, 2:07 pm

      Me too, Chris, what gets me all worked up is someone’s reckless behavior that jeopardizes others’ safety and of course violence or abuse of some other being. But anger is not necessary to mobilize action, I’d rather react with a calm mind, like those Aikido masters. Something to aspire to 😉

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