Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Denial is a deadly force that will destroy you financially, emotionally, and even physically. And you won’t know what caused the damage and why, because denial is silent as well as deadly. The power of the human mind to create and believe its own version of reality to suit itself is truly awesome.
So let’s talk about that today, because this could be the one obstacle between you and a life of wealth, power, and freedom.
A TV show I love to watch when it’s on is ‘Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares’. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a fierce British chef called Gordon Ramsay who visits failing restaurants in America and tries to fix them.
This show intrigues me because it’s invariably a fascinating case study of the power of denial destroying people.
Presumably, the owner of this restaurant has agreed for Ramsay to come along, and that owner also knows that his restaurant is in a bad mess- often this owner has been keeping the company alive with a growing and frightening mountain of personal debt. AND YET, each week, this owner seems to expect a pat on the back from Ramsay! Why? Because their belief seems to be that their food is great, their service is great, and the only reason nobody comes must be some mysterious factor that Ramsay will uncover. In short, they’re suffering from a chronic case of denial, created by their own version of reality, and have well and truly bought into it (usually because the staff are too scared to say anything).
The first thing Ramsay does in each case is sample the menu. The owner of the restaurant prepares the food (often in the microwave!), and Ramsay always proceeds to spit it out, choke on it, or sometimes vomit. And so the drama with the owner begins…
Ramsay isn’t just a TV show host. He’s an extremely well-respected and awarded chef, and I’ve personally dined in two of his restaurants in New York and London. It’s nothing short of perfection. The owner knows this, and yet the owner suddenly, today, decides that Ramsay doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
So let’s take a step back. A world-class chef offers his service to fix your broken restaurant that’s driving you to ruin, and you tell him to get out.
I think you know why. You’ve experienced this yourself, haven’t you? It doesn’t matter if someone else is right, it hurts to be corrected, especially in an area you’re claiming to be an expert at.
But it doesn’t hurt YOU. Not the real you, anyway. It hurts your EGO.
What is your ego? Your ego is your ‘false-self’. And it’s the home of denial. It is a set of beliefs that you live by, and it does NOT like being challenged. You see, if it’s challenged and beaten, it would have to die. And no entity wants to die. So it fights, often viciously, and/or shuts out the offending item through selective hearing or ostracizing it.
You see, your ego was created when you were very young as a defense mechanism to cope in this world. It’s for survival and actually very clever. The fresh mind processes the surroundings and figures out a way to ensure survival. This is why violent criminals often were abused as children.
So when you experience anything, it’s all filtered by the ego and processed according to ITS version of reality, not reality itself.
The restaurant owner will cease to be the good chef he claims to be if he accepts Ramsay’s advice, won’t he? And this means death, in a way. Of course, this is why it makes such good television, because it has conflict written all over it.
Ever been in an argument, and even though you KNOW you’re wrong, you refuse to back down? Well, guess what? It’s not you who won’t back down, it’s this entity in your head called the ego.
Ever been in an argument, and you realize you’re wrong, and then you back down and concede that your ‘opponent’ was right? Yes? How good does it feel? For a blissful moment there, you experienced clarity of thought, consciousness, and freedom from the ego. And hey, isn’t this scenario what a successful marriage based on?
On ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ the outcome sometimes, eventually, goes that way. The owner finally accepts that Ramsay is right, and that he is wrong, and he makes the necessary changes. On these rare moments on the show, observe how emotional the owner becomes, often crying and hugging Ramsay. What the owner is experiencing there is the death of the ego, and in a way, a return to the innocence of childhood, hence the tears and joy.
But the ego doesn’t go that quietly. On follow up shows Ramsay goes back to the restaurants he fixed, and low and behold, the owner has often gone back to his old ways…
The death of your ego must become one of your life goals.
Or it will destroy you financially, emotionally, or even physically. Let’s look at how for each…
1. Financial destruction by the ego.
You could be in business just like one of those restaurant owners, but instead of correcting course or walking away, you refuse to admit you were wrong, get into more debt, and fall into a death spiral.
What about personal debt? Do you hide your eyes when the credit card bill arrives? Your ego can create a version of reality where you’re richer than you are.
That stock you bought has gone down 25%. You SHOULD cash out and protect yourself from further losses, but you hang on regardless and suffer a 100% loss (and get angry with the government or someone else for your own mistake).
“Oh, rich people are all crooks. I’ll be happy as I am. I don’t need to try and become financially free (even though I’m horribly insolvent and have nothing for retirement)”
2. Emotional destruction by the ego.
“No, there’s absolutely no way my wife is having an affair. Yes, the phone keeps hanging up, and she’s very guarded when on her laptop, and she’s going to a lot of evening classes, but no, no way. Not my wife.”
“Okay, so my daughter only calls when she wants money. That’s just kids today.”
3. Physical destruction by the ego.
“That lump under my arm? Oh, that’s nothing.”
What’s more, the ego makes you angry and stressed. And stress is one of the easiest ways for your body to fall out of balance and get diseases.
Notice how we find it hard to believe accepted powers like medicine and government could be harming us? We look up to them as we would parents, but not all parents are good…
I could go on all day, but there are many different ways that denial will harm you financially, emotionally, and physically.
The ego is a parasite that feeds from its host until it eventually kills it. Kill it before it kills you.
McDonald’s is a successful business because it caters to the fear of the unknown (you can be in any city in the world and not have to try anything unfamiliar). YOU aren’t afraid of the unknown, your ego is. A young child (like your true self) isn’t afraid of the unknown, in fact, they explore everywhere.
Every day, observe your ego in action in different situations. And instead of letting it speak (your first reaction to everything), just watch it, observe and study this separate entity from yourself. Someone cuts you off on the road, your ego wants to give them the finger and ruin your day, but YOU don’t. Just watch it and smile to yourself instead. And you will experience an involuntary smile, and a moment of deep inner peace. Keep at it.