'Weak' and 'strong' Ego's - They aren't what you think....Know thyself.
A healthy ego is essential .
But what is an 'healthy ego' - and an unhealthy one?
And how does this effect your perspective of reality, and therefor your mindset, when trading?
I'll use this post to describe the differences of weak ego and strong ego, and use it the context of crypto trading to make it more relevant (and enable me to blog on @leofinance).
I'm a great believer in starting the fundamentals, and working up - and psychological self awareness is one of those fundamentals - especially when it comes to trading...
If you don't know thyself, then how the hell are you gonna make the right decisions?
Freud’s three component parts of the personality are described as:
(see my previous @deepdive posts to full understand better, the relationship between the three components).
So what is ‘the ego’ or ‘ego-strength’?
Psychological theorists speak of the intrinsic human striving for personal power, and autonomy. This appears to be a universal ego drive - one that is not only 'normal', but psychologically healthy.
(adding weight to the argument that 'lefty/statism', is, in fact, psychologically unhealthy and indicative of underlying mental illness - delusion being just one expression of this mindset).
This (and other 'social striving' attributes) are widely seen as the universal motivators of human behavior.
Why then, is a healthy ego so essential?
A healthy ego has an ability to regulate painful emotions - ones that are rooted in anger and fear.
Ego-strength - and ego-weakness - and the differences- need to be understood.
By looking at the characteristics of both, it will help in the self awareness process, and where you stand.
A 'getting to know thyself' exercise....
Undeveloped (weak) and well-developed (strong) ego strength....
First off, the term ‘ego’ is commonly used to describe a person who boasts, who's arrogant, treats others with derision, and lacks empathy.
This is an incorrect use of term 'ego' - because, in and of itself - the ego is neutral .
The term 'ego' can take on different meanings, depending on where it falls in the spectrum - A healthy ego on the one end, and an unhealthy one, on the other.
'Ego strength' refers to a cultivated resiliency (learned).
It reinforces our core sense of 'self'. As we learn to face problems in life, and grow from challenging events (or persons) in our lives, it strengthens that relationship with the self.
Our ego strength becomes an integral part of our emotional and cultural development and the forming of our sense of 'self'.
In the first years of life, it's our interactions with primary carers that shape our ego and ego strength - in ways that can have a lifelong impact.
A young child’s sense of self (especially in response to stress) is specifically in relation to exchanges with primary caregivers.
It’s up to us if we can apply our conscious self to integrate changes, to these 'subconscious imprints'.
A person with weak ego-strength lacks resiliency.
They will tend to stick to what feels comfortable to them and will seek to avoid, what does not...('hodling' could be seen as one expression of this).
They also tend to hold unrealistic expectations. (like 'going to the moon' with crypto currencies).
These expectations are held in place by emotionally charged beliefs that activate the body’s stress response.
Unrealistic expectations are rooted in fear and anxiety.
The weak ego will consciously try to rationalize their actions to themselves to avoid any psychological discomfort.
In trading terms, this could be seen as hodling while watching token value slide, and then rationalizing the behavior of being apathetic.... . 'It will rally soon', 'it will go to the moon', and in the case of Hive, 'wait for the killer app' 'when we reach mass adoption'...ALL of these are conscious rationalizations.
These conscious rationalizations will help to mitigate any feelings so as to avoid acknowledging one fact - that the motivations behind the apathy, are based in anxiety and fear.
I mean that thinking patterns will be out of balance.
Thinking patterns that are distorted by 'the self's' underlying subconscious, motivations of fear and anxiety.
It can mean that a person may hold self limiting beliefs and toxic thinking patterns.
It can cause them to always think that they lack resources, and they're too weak (fragile ), to handle certain situations,
such as conflicts.
On the other extreme part of the weak ego - they rely on their anger and rage , they wish to compel others to recognize, appreciate or love them....This is a covert narcissist's pathology.(See my recent @deepdives posts, to understand more about narcissism).
They hold unrealistic expectations that others - or life - should take their pain away.
I use the word 'should' intentionally.
I have no empirical evidence (or any , in fact) for this hypothesis - but I would posit that the word 'should', is used more by the 'weak ego individual' than anyone else.
Unrealistic expectations are based on core beliefs - ones that activate the body’s stress response .
This then sets the psyche (a 'default setting'), into 'defense mode'.
By (unconsciously) selecting this self protective mode, learning ability becomes severely impeded.
This response to stress activates the 'sympathetic division' of the autonomic nervous system.
The stress and anxiety then shuts down the brain’s learning mode. (it's called a parasympathetic division).
What this then means, is that the thinking parts of the brain are not operating properly - and thus makes it far less - if not impossible , to consider alternative options to a specific problem that they face.
New possibilities, and different paradigms, are simply NOT SEEN.
In trading terms , think of 'the sunk cost fallacy' as an example of this.
“The sunk cost effect is the general tendency for people to continue an endeavor, or to continue an option if they’ve invested time or money or some resource in it, even if it’s pushing you to do things that are making you unhappy or worse off"...
These fear and anxiety responses not only block us from developing a healthier ego - ego strength, they also make us prone to repeating problematic behavior patterns.
Unless addressed, it can becomes a 'default setting'in life (a forever diminishing circle' ).
An underdeveloped ego-strength lives and acts in defensive ways that are self-perpetuating.
This then further weakens any capacity to cope with day to day challenges.
Characteristically the weak ego will:
Waste a lot of energy fighting - or hating - reality.
Reject (or deny) the necessity of facing what they most fear.
Confuse strength with the defense strategies that they most rely on.
Refuse to accept, or deal with, what's happening in their lives.
Have unrealistic expectations for what ‘should’ or ‘must’ happen in order for them to feel strong or valued.
Believe that happiness in life means having the absence of emotional pain, fear and anger.
Outward appearances can be deceiving.
Paradoxically, ‘the big ego’ is the weaker ego.
The weaker the ego strength, the more adamant a refusal to feel - and to process - painful feelings, beliefs and thoughts. The very ones that are essential with which break free of their 'stuck dynamics'.
The characteristics of high ego strength...
A person with well developed ego-strength is resilient, optimistic , and has a strong sense of 'self'.
They take a learning approach to life that grows their strength and confidence.
They have an ability to tolerate discomfort and to regulate their emotions (as opposed to feeling overwhelmed by them, seen in the weak ego).
Life is one filled with curiosity and readiness to explore, and to learn about what strengthens them, thus, increasing their chances of finding new ways of coping with challenges.
They do not take personally what others say or do, and regard themselves - and others - as fallible.
The stronger the ego-strength, the more comfortable one feels in taking ownership of their problems AND giving ownership to others, for theirs.
(coincidentally, the antithesis of leftist ideology).
Healthy ego strength is connected to a healthy 'self' concept.
They can differentiate and understand the differences between wants and needs and to discern between what can and cannot be changed - and responding accordingly.
Why a healthy ego is essential to health, wealth, and happiness.
A healthy ego gives us the ego strength to navigate challenges, and to deal and emotions and vulnerability that's rooted in fear and anxiety.
Your level of ego-strength refers to your ability to be adaptive, flexible and resilient and in how you respond to challenging circumstances in your life.
Thus, ego-strength is a measure of:
Your personal power to make optimal choices.
A capacity to regulate difficult emotions so as to remain in optimal states.
The ability to accept what is, and tolerate discomfort, stress, frustration - without getting triggered.
Your ego-strength reflects to the extent to which your core beliefs and expectation are serving you.
When your core beliefs are not serving you, they turn fears into 'bigger than life' illusions.
They unnecessarily activate your body’s stress response, making for defensive tactics - such as blame, avoidance or denial.
Importantly - They block you from making new healthy choices or changes.
They keep you stuck repeating behaviors, habits, and repetitive activities.
All of these lower your ego-strength.
Knowing yourself will improve your trading strategies and rewards.
Knowing yourself really puts you in the driving seat - as opposed to being a back seat driver... (while, at the same time, tricking yourself into the belief that you're actually in the driving seat).