During my stint in the police, I was once overseeing a jampacked swearing-in ceremony for some new ministers at the Kerala Raj Bhavan (Governor’s official residence).
The crowd was in a celebratory mood and hard to control. So when the Chief Minister’s car arrived, people started jostling and in the melee, we all got pushed around.
My IGP’s temper flared up and he started shouting at the crowd, but I was calm and unmoved. Now normally, I was quick to lose my temper but that day, I held back. Anybody who saw the situation would have said that I was very mature – but that was not true.
Here is what really happened.
That day, the situation was really tricky – the crowd was friendly and we could not afford to use force even if they got unruly. Hence we had to handle it tactfully and diplomatically.
As the police commissioner, my reputation was on the line and my ego was about handling the situation well. Therefore, even when the crowd pushed me around, it did not hurt my ego at all. That is why I was unruffled – I wasn’t more mature or anything.
Ego is not your enemy or your friend. It is a beast. If you can tame it, it is a great servant. If not, it is a terrible monster.
So attach your ego to the right thing, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve.