Being creatures of comfort as I prefer to say we, more often than not, find myriad of ways as to make our lives easier. However pursuing comfort in turn produces results only on the short run. One of the things that we enjoy doing is positioning ourselves as a center of all that is happening. A form of egoism, dare I say. And as time went by and we scolded the idea of egoism as a whole, a new concept developed which, as time progresses, is widely accepted and allows a new form of egoism to take place.
I would without hesitation say that we recognize it as individualism- a perfect opportunity for seeking comfort while being centered on oneself. But it is only part of the individualism concept that is actually linked with egoism. I don’t disregard individualism as a whole. Heck, I’m evangelist of individualism full time.
But there is a segment of the whole idea of individualism that gives a chance for egoistic behavior to take place.
In defense of individualism
From a 20,000 ft. view individualism definitely has its own merit. Even observing from closer we can agree that it is great altogether. If I’m to argue in its defense, being an advocate of individualism that is, I would say that it transcends one person in the sense of growing. Or to translate, it unlocks the potential for individual awesomeness.
I understand individualism as a field where we are given the infinite space to expand our quality and to find what makes us to be us. And I believe that the reasons we are celebrating it are somewhere along this spectrum.
However it has its loops by not being thoroughly defined or even understood.
When individualism and egoism intersect
One would assume that being centered on oneself is not such a bad thing. And it isn’t really. But there is a certain limit where it passes from being fairly innocuous to actually harming our growth as an individual.
The reason why I find this so is mainly because we get too much obsessed with all the things that lack value, but are given some simply because we decided to focus too aggressively on them. After a while we lose sense of the actual importance of a certain activity or pattern of thinking and we tend to value some things more than usual.
Here we are centered only on certain aspects of certain activities and it easily translates into forgetting about the important things and giving attention to something trivial that concerns only us. It sounds egoistic enough to me.
Recognizing egoism easily
Here is a valid example; if you are quite the fitness enthusiast chances are you are counting sets, repetitions myriad of other checkpoints as you work out. The interesting thing is that most of the time we obsess with those numbers, calculate upon them, talk about them with other people. And every individual is concerned about such trivial matters that on a broader scale they take huge importance.
When we decide to make time management, we are acting just the same; countless of principles, developing methodologies, acting like the world depends on it. And it happens rather suddenly when we even start to sacrifice having fun, being with other people, centering too much and too excessively on ourselves. Sounds exaggerating, right?
But ask yourself if it really is.
Knowing that the word egoism translates into excessive sense of self importance, we easily overlook its interlinking with individualism.
But understanding it in the broader sense of giving way to much importance on the trivial matters that we preoccupy ourselves with will for sure convince us that it is a part of individualism, and if left unchecked it easily grows.
Take an objective look on your individualistic efforts to improve
Personal growth is a thing that I not only advocate but unconditionally believe into. And it is closely tied with individualism. However, stopping for a second as to take a look on the things we preoccupy our minds with may show us that we are focusing way too much on things that concern only us and don’t hold an overall degree of importance.
I’ve witnessed people measuring calories obsessively, some making whole charts of all the “unnecessary” minutes that they spend; I’ve witnessed myself calculating over nutrients, over numbers connected with working out on sets and repetitions. Recently I even witnessed people making charts of energy levels throughout the day.
I don’t intent to devalue efforts of improvement. But what I suggest is for all of us to take a look and try to understand which of the things we do or obsess about are rather trivial and entirely egoistic.
No wonder that since the raise of individualism many people are feeling better off just by themselves, finding it hard to correspond with others. I think that we can even make an interesting case study about marriages ending with divorce way more often.
Because it’s always the next thing- there is always something that we will find that would capture our whole attention. It starts from individualism, but if left unchecked it easily turns into egoism which is nothing more but the increased sense of self importance and this new form of giving way too much attention to the trivial matters that we do. Not only that is this devastating towards our progress in personal growth, but the truth is that no one out there likes people who are focusing too much on themselves.
Stop giving way too much importance on everything that you do in order to improve. More often than not, it ends being counterproductive.