It can be bruised, massaged and boosted, but what springs to mind when we think of the word ego?

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as our sense of self-importance or self-esteem. As such, our ego will inevitably affect some of the major decisions and events of our lives. Think of the last time someone said something which bruised your ego. Did you react instantly to try and make yourself feel better or did you take the events in your stride and realise there was truth to their words? Accepting harsh truths without taking offence is a useful skill to learn which can be applied universally from the office to a sporting setting. A simple example in sports could be when we make a mistake and instantly try to rectify it in a rash moment. I have been guilty of losing the ball and, pride hurt, running after it like a headless chicken and hindering the teams shape. Clearly when making a mistake every effort should be made to correct it, but with a justifiable plan of action as opposed to an impulsive one borne out of a bruised self-esteem.

Furthermore, a type of ‘ego analysis’ can be performed on individuals using an ego-task scale to measure goal orientation. Those who are only pleased if they come first (Ego) and those who are happy provided their performance improves regardless of classification (Task). Ego-oriented individuals tend to be more sensitive to criticism and experience higher mood fluctuations whereas task-oriented individuals tend to be steadier in their approach.

Regarding the size of egos, it is clear that there is a subjective amount of wiggle room as to what determines an appropriate size. Those with larger egos may possess greater self-belief which can subsequently help them execute complex actions in high pressure situations. However, the more introverted among us can possess equally high levels of self-esteem although they may avoid the excessive displays of bravado and posturing associated with the former. The important part is whether the individual has a concomitant level of self-belief and can be managed to a productive end result.

Therefore, perhaps the occasional peacocking to assuage our ego is acceptable provided the performance is optimised and humility prevails the rest of the time!


 “The ego is a fascinating monster”

Alanis Morissette


 Additional reading (if interested)

Ego Task Orientation