"...I was endanger of becoming competent."
- Peter Buck, guitarist for REM
I read a terrific interview (I think it was in Rolling Stone) with Peter Buck from REM. The quote above really stuck with me. In fact, I sometimes wonder if that's part of who I am. I've always had this kind of mental wanderlust about me, getting interested in lots of different things, but yet never really going horribly deep into anything. Maybe I'm secretly afraid of becoming competent.
I think I'm better described by a comment made by the CEO of my employer, who has noted his desire for a corporate culture that is "...no drama, low ego...". I have both going for me, not that I can say it's resulted in stellar career success (other than still being employed that is). The ego part is a tough one actually. To be successful in a corporate environment, where success is measured by rapid advancement, "low ego" just doesn't cut it. In as much as no one claims to like big egos, the fact remains that "too large" is mostly rewarded (think Donald Trump, Congress and every Rapper) in our larger culture. "Too small"? Mostly ignored. Humility doesn't play well in America.
None of the above is cause for concern though. The truth is that I'm fine with my low ego. Pride? Forget learning how to swallow it; I've mastered the art of chewing it. And that's okay.
Now some deep thinkers also talk about ego as being the cause of many ills. I'm not sure I completely agree with that, but I will say this: The ego is kind of like a drug in that it may make you feel good, but it probably doesn't add all that much to your life over the truly long term. Yeah, it might get you that big corporate title and all the trimmings that go with it, but when no one else is around and it's just you and your thoughts, does it make you demonstrably better as a human being? The answer to that is above my pay grade.