Sunday, December 01, 2013

What's Bigger, Your Ego Or Your Insecurity?

Last week I bought 2,000 Twitter followers.

It only cost me $5, via, and now my mundane Twitterings are reaching two thousand more individuals than they did before. Largely in Bangladesh, I gather.

I'm not quite sure why I did it, but if pushed, I would have to say it was either ego or insecurity. 

Having insecurity means worrying that everything you do is shit, or meaningless, or both. Having ego means other people think you're a dick.

Creatives are regularly slammed for being egotistical. We're told that we shouldn't think of ourselves as the most important people in the agency, and that it's wrong to believe that all of one's ideas are brilliant.

But conversely, we are also viewed as insecure. People accuse us of getting overly defensive when our work is criticised. We also exhibit other insecure traits, such as envy, and a constant need for validation in the form of awards.

Is it possible to be both egotistical and insecure at the same time?

I guess it must be.

One of John Lennon's biographers, Larry Kane, wrote: “People would be surprised at how insecure he was, and his lack of self-esteem. Throughout his life, even during the height of Beatlemania, he had poor self-esteem, even though he exuded confidence.”

Another point: Insecurity is only a problem for those who have it, whereas Ego affects everyone around them. Maybe that's why the phrase "Creative insecurity" returns 7.1 million Google results (in just 0.27 seconds!) whereas "Creative ego" gets a whopping 50 million. 

I don't know. For us, it's a simple cause-and-effect, isn't it? We have the urge to be creative, but because what we create is out there for all to see, we feel insecure about whether anyone will like it - and in fact people are queuing up to tell us what's wrong with it. Therefore, we are forced to develop an ego, just to survive until Friday.

Does that describe you?


Anonymous said...

That's fuckin' bullshit, I'm not egotistical or insec......

lubomir said...

I think both are connected. The step from – “I am amazing – Ergo, I’m not like the others” - to – “I never fit in, I’m not worthy – Ergo, I’m not like the others” – is so small.

Insecurity comes from our “amazing-ness”. We think that we are brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous, and after it we ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"

Anonymous said...

insecurity comes with pleasing others rather than yourself.
ever met a person who's insecure about his/her hobby? I sure haven't.

ego? well, you're talking to ego-infested industry. it's a standard equipment.

Scamp said...

That's an interesting take on Insecurity, 9.17.

Certainly made me think.

I'm not sure I entirely agree though... a lot of hobbyist writers and musicians worry that they're no good, don't they?

Anonymous said...


precisely my point.
hobbyists who do it for themselves are genuinely happy with the activity itself, not the impression they make.

they are those weird neighbours everyone knows.

but I take your point - it's a fine line.