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One trap of autonomy

March 2015 was a difficult month for me, not in the sense of “depression” – but just tough for me emotionally. It felt like I kept falling short in everything I did.

  • Maybe it was the weather – the transition from a brutal winter?
  • Maybe it is all the unfinished & pilling projects with low profit margins?
  • Maybe it is because we are about to celebrate our first anniversary, without one of the founding partners?
  • We also lost a friend who passed away suddenly…

I beat myself up about many things… and in March, I uncharacteristically kept mostly to myself.

The process of trying to figure out “why” I was in this funk [and how to shake it] was another sucky experience…

I searched for hype-up playlists on Spotify and read countless motivational-feel-better type of blog posts… which all had me frustrated because it isn’t as simplistic as: apply-these-10-steps.

But then I saw this quote:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis is one of my all-time favorite authors.

One of the traps of autonomy, as it manifests itself with people who are professionally independent like myself, is that we are prone to narcissism/egoism.

You know, spending waay too much time thinking about ME… for me sake!

I think this might be my problem. I am so consumed with me.

  • What I can do to make more people like ME
  • What I can do to sell/build/finish more projects?
  • How can I motivate the team?
  • How the death made ME feel; and what if death happens to ME or someone in MY family? – seldom thinking, or empathizing with the family who just lost their wife and mother and friend.
  • …me me me

The moment we don’t like what we see in the mirror, or don’t like the feedback we are getting about ourselves – it feels like a crisis.

For me, it was a month-long personal and agonizing crisis.

I am NOT yelling from the mountain-top that I am all better – I am just a bit more aware of it now.

So what I want to try is to counter egoism with empathy:

excessive concern for oneself with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance

Merriam Webster Egoism


the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner

Merriam Webster Empathy

I should really start worrying about loving and serving others.

Here is to getting better… I’ll let you know how it goes.

Discipline is choosing what you want most, over what you want now!

– Kyle Hinson