Monday, September 20, 2010

Turn Off the Ego

So another production weekend has come and gone. These weekends are full of hard work and many 'oh $h!t' moments, and as always, full of lessons that come from this type of experience. For me one of the key lessons I have been reminded of while at the paper is this: sometime we have to let our ego go in order to produce the best work we can.

The editing process on the paper differs from the one on the blog; every revision gets looked at and checked by three sets of eyes. You have to be prepared to accept criticism of every word, punctuation mark and idea. This is not done to diminish the writer, but instead to help create a paper that all of us can be proud of. Without being able to switch off our egos and listen to what others think of what we are writing we could not deliver the quality we are capable of together.

This lesson goes beyond the news room. There are many times every day when someone has advice, information or opinions about the work we are doing. We can greet these moments with anger at the hurt they might inflict on our ego. We can see them as personal attacks or vindictive nitpicking, but if we do we lose the opportunity to become better. By turning off our ego and accepting that those who work with us, whether in the office or just in the business of living, want us to turn out the best product we can we gain more then they give.

The opportunity to understand how others approach you and your work is a great chance to get under your own armor and have a deeper understanding of not just yourself but your relationship to the world. Think of it like this: when we throw a pebble into the lake we can see the ripples and this may be pleasing to us. Now imagine that the lake could tell you what it thinks of the distance and quality of the throw, your pebble selection or the time of day you chose to create ripples on its surface.

Our ideas are the pebbles we throw out into the lake of human consciousness. We do not just receive feedback from the lake, but instead every individual ripple can be a source of insight into the nature of our thought and the pebbles we choose to fling. However, if our ego is in the way we will only see hostility and not opportunities for understanding. Ego can drive us to create great things, but it is a selfish child that only wants praise and chafes at any correction. When the time comes to go big and soar high, let ego out to play, but when it is time to understand how to go bigger and soar higher, then lock ego in its room to play with its toys.

The editing project returns tomorrow!


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