Hey Ego - be quiet!

Our egos often get in the way of any real learning. 5 tips that might help you (and me).

Hey Ego - be quiet!
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

When I started my graduate program, I decided to learn in public. I started my blog, I published a weekly e-newsletter and used the required reading from the course to assemble a library of short articles.

As a result of this week's reading, I'm discovering that I am a "doing and feeling" type of learner.

I prefer to take a practical, experiential approach to learning.

But here's the thing - I have a big ego. Shocking right, bet you didn't notice (my attempt at sarcasm). At work, I'm now realizing that rather than entering into a debate objectively, and accepting that I might be wrong, I’ve let my ego get the better of me. That’s no way to learn... and no way to lead!

To be 100% clear, I'm not always egotistical. I very often catch myself (or my committed partners will call me on it). Still, what if I could be 10, 20 or 30% less focused on being right? I want to share with you some ideas I came up with on how to quiet my ego and become a better learner.

  1. I want to be more humble. Admit that I don't know everything and that I can always learn something new from others. Don't be afraid to ask questions, seek help, or admit mistakes.
  2. I want to be more curious. Explore new topics, perspectives, and experiences. Don't limit myself to what I already know or what I am comfortable with. Challenge myself to learn something new every day.
  3. I want to be more grateful. Appreciate the opportunities and resources that I have to learn. Don't take them for granted or complain about them. Thank the people who teach me, support me, or inspire me.
  4. I want to be reflective. Review my attitude to learning as part of my journaling practice. I can say I've never done that before. I spend more time on being grateful for a warm summer day than to reflect on my position of privilege. Identify what I have learned, what I need to improve, and what I want to learn next.
  5. I want to seek feedback from my teams more frequently. I don't want getting feedback to be an "event". How can I build it in my weekly review at work? I already wrap up my week and plan for the next most Fridays. How can I add learning to the review?
By quieting my ego and following some of my new ideas, I will likely become a better learner and a happier Francois. Right? What about you? What are you doing to quiet your ego and be more open to really learning from others?