By Ken Good
Copyright © Ken Good 2001. All rights reserved.
Ever had a young child ask you, "Can God make something so heavy that even He cannot move it?"
After nearly a quarter century of global training with military personnel, law enforcement officers, security teams, and assorted law-abiding citizens, the shroud of mystery covering this age-old dilemma has been pulled away, things are now in focus.
I have come to understand that the Creator of the Universe has allowed an entity to exist that is so massive, so dense, and so terrifyingly resistant to outside influence, that even He cannot move it without assistance.
This mass is an ever-expanding giant. This behemoth is ultra resilient and unbreakable in nature. It is corruptive and corrosive. It has blocked the advance of human knowledge, technology and personal development throughout the course of human history.
What is this fearsome construction?
It is the runaway Human Ego, the epicenter of personal human disaster.
Letís face it; people would not be attracted to military or police work, or be successful in it, if not for a strong, healthy, properly functioning Ego. After all, we are not in the floral industry. But, we must be ever vigilant to temper it with regular doses of humility and reality checks.
All things being equal, personal Ego is the single most important facet of the human condition that the individual must learn to tame in order to keep successfully climbing the proverbial mountain of tactical knowledge and prowess.
The Ego turns out to be the gatekeeper of the mind. This often over-zealous sentry observes the stranger trying to enter the city and without a moment of hesitation, draws his sword and ferociously cuts the visitor down where he stands and then turns his back on the carcass to find the next potential foe. Itís a shame that this ambassador of goodwill was trying to warn all the inhabitants of this fair city that an attack was imminent, the incoming warriors strong, brutal, and unmerciful.
Those suffering from a diseased Ego can completely destroy any mortal relationship; nations, organizations, institutions, and personal relationships are not immune. No known inoculation exists to completely irradiate this deadly plague.
The selfish Ego tells us to stop, dig in and defend that which we have seized.
It demands that we hoard the intellectual wealth we have amassed. After all weíve stepped out of the womb endowed with all knowledge: conceptual, practical, and experiential.
The rigid Ego tells us to be stiff and inflexible. There is nothing more. It drives us to hold-on with all of our strength. Yet we cannot fathom why we are constantly injured.
The power-hungry Ego tells us to control the high ground atop the mountain and push away all those that try to occupy the space with us. What the deceptive Ego didnít tell us is this so-called mountain was a bump on access road to the summit of Mount Everest.
Countless individuals and teams have missed unique opportunities to learn new skills, principles, and techniques because their omniscient Ego had blinded them to new avenues of approach. Schizophrenic Ego has taken them off the path of objective reality and driven them deep into the deep recesses of the tactical insane asylum. The proud Ego will tell us "No this cannot be so!" well before true understanding of a matter has the opportunity to grow and mature. Individualistic Ego will leave us standing all by ourselves in a stagnant cesspool formed by the machinations of our own mind.
Can we avoid this sweeping epidemic? Thankfully, yes.
First, recognize that like gravity, the force of Ego is ever present. Structurally, we deal with the effects of gravity by constantly readjusting our posture to maintain balance. Check and recheck you mental alignment, it is mission critical. Train your "mental skeleton" to operate efficiently, not hunched over and awkwardly stumbling through life.
Secondly, understand that the force of prideful Ego is much like contracting a debilitating disease. In my youth, I witnessed one of my water polo coaches (member of the U.S. national team, a world-class, 260-pound Ďenforcerí in one of the more brutal contact sports) deteriorate to a shell of a man in a matter of months as an unfound brain tumor destroyed his body and mind. Everyone was surprised as he was initially wheelchair bound. Days later, he was racing towards the grave with nothing to stop this onslaught. We were all staring death straight through him during his last days on earth. He was a great man. Runaway Ego can be the undiagnosed cancer within your mind.
Finally, the force of Ego can be neutralized through an underground, grassroots movement. Each and every individual operator should take on the moral responsibility to push back the tide of Ego within his or her sphere of influence. If you have defined yourself as your familyís protector, your societyís guardian, be excellent in this tasking. An unrealistic view of your Ego will only hinder you in this high calling.
Many desperately seek titles, crave recognition and pompously strut. If you have "arrived", get back on the train before it leaves. The destination you seek cannot be realized in your lifetime. So enjoy the journey. Oh yes, throw the extra baggage overboard so you can help somebody else climb on.
On a side note: I donít have an Ego, never had, never will. And, although my wife, family, friends, and enemies would vehemently disagree, I will straighten them out later as soon as I can push my head through the door.
Ken Good is director of the Sure-Fire Institute, http://surefire.com.