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“The weak are dominated by their ego, the wise dominate their ego, and the intelligent are in a constant struggle against their ego.” - Hamza Yusuf


Ego is a fragile thing in artists and demands a delicate balance between humility and hubris. This week we will discuss the role of ego and share our viewpoint and experiences dealing with our own and other artists’ ego.

My Answer:

I am always trying to balance my ego with my sense of worthiness. Mostly, because I know how it is to work with other people. I never want to be the person who is difficult to work with because of my ego, but I also want to have the confidence to do the work I want to do. I have absolutely worked with some narcissists before… those people who feel they are superior to others. 

Thoughts and Actions:

Ego is a natural part of everyone’s personality, it’s a complex psychological concept that refers to our sense of self identity and self worth.

For artists, ego can have both positive and negative effects. On the one hand, a healthy level of ego can fuel creativity and drive an artist to produce their best work. It can also give them the confidence to share their work with the world and build a following.

Ego can also manifest in less desirable ways, like feeling superior to others, needing constant validation, or being defensive and resistant to criticism. And un unregulated relationship with an overinflated ego can be harmful to an artist if they become too resistant to feedback, believing that they don’t need to change or improve their work, our if they become more concerned with recognition or validation than than the quality of the work.

Managing your ego has a lot of advantages, like: 

  • Allowing you to embrace creativity - if you feel free from the pressure to prove your worth.

  • Improve relationships with others - those who are willing to work with others and accept feedback often earn respect/inclusion/admiration

  • Balanced mental health - carrying the weight of a heavy ego can lead to excess stress and anxiety (and everything that comes along with that)

Failing to manage your ego can damage any of these things - your creativity (shackled to validation), relationships (missed opportunities), or mental stability (outbursts, depression).

Some things to consider when keeping your ego in check:

  • Stay humble

  • Let the work be the focus (or the process)

  • Take time for self reflection - what is driving you to make work?

  • Seek out feedback

Also… I really love this, because I think its true:

“Being a control freak is a weakness, not a strength. If you can’t allow others to shine, you’re exhibiting signs of narcissism and showing a lack of self-confidence. It is isolation through ego.” ― Stewart Stafford

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