“You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.”
― Lou Holtz

We were fortunate to be in the right place (NYC) with the right message (our Manifesto) at the right time (2009, just after a recession that had many people reconsidering what success meant to them). This combination was key in jumpstarting Holstee.

As a co-founder, this early success built up my confidence and inflated my ego. The funny thing about an enlarged ego is that it will go to remarkable lengths to self-preserve and continue growing.

I remember my general tone shifting from “We did this.” to “I did this.” I became less and less open to the ideas of others, especially if they challenged my opinion.

It took nearly losing Holstee and friendships I hold dear to make a change.

In this month’s Compassion Guide, we explore the Quiet Ego Scale developed by Drs. Jack Bauer and Heidi Wayment. Their research shows that when we have a quiet (but not silent) ego, we are able to do a better job of listening to others as well as ourselves so we can “approach life more humanely and compassionately.”

They found that a balanced quiet ego can be achieved by:

Inclusive identity: Feeling a connection to all living things ultimately “increases the likelihood of cooperation and decreases the likelihood of self-protective stances toward the other.”

Perspective-taking: Being able to reflect on others’ points of view which “provides a critical- thinking counterbalance to the social bonds and acceptance that are facilitated by inclusive identity.”

Detached awareness: A ‘a non defensive sort of attention’ similar to the mindfulness moniker of ‘observation without judgement’ and this goes for ourselves and others.

Growth: Identifying opportunities for personal growth and appreciating that new experiences can challenge how we think about ourselves and the world.

I am still susceptible to the trappings of an unbalanced ego, but being aware of these suggestions have been helpful in letting go of the overly negative or positive stories my ego likes to reinforce.

Try the Quiet Ego activity in this month’s guide and explore other practices to extend compassion to those around us and ourselves.

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Compassion.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.