Colin Powell, who is a retired U.S. Army four-star General and the 65th U.S. Secretary of State, had a powerful quote about keeping our egos in check, especially when we have it tied to something tangible, when he said, “Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.”
There are so many people who have their ego tied to their position, job, business, title, bank account, significant other or things having nothing to do with their character and pedigree, that they are seemingly blinded by those things.
Many times they come off more like an “egotistical jerk” than anything.
So what is an “egotistical jerk”? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The root word of ‘egotistical’ is the word ‘ego’. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of the word ‘ego’ is “the strong opinion you have about yourself”. In addition, Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘jerk’ as a person who is “an unlikable person; one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded”.
So if you allow me to put it all together for you, we find that an “egotistical jerk” is a person who has a strong opinion about themselves, but to other people, they are an extremely unlikable person who is typically cruel, rude or small-minded.
Now, is there anything wrong with having a big ego? Absolutely not!
I have a huge ego, and totally believe in myself, but I try not to allow my strong opinion about myself demean people, mistreat others rudely or treat others as if they are less than me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know that we all have at least one “egotistical jerk” in our lives that makes our skin crawl and our blood boil. Let’s talk about them for a minute!
Now, I don’t have to mention any specific names to you, because quite frankly, those of you who are reading this either know whether you fit the description, or you know someone who does.
In essence, your/their reputation typically precedes you/them.
All of us have that one family member, friend, colleague, neighbor, co-worker or associate with an ego the size of Texas. Now, while an “egotistical jerk” tends to come across as extremely confident and somewhat intimidating on the surface, the truth of the matter is, most of them are dealing with major self-esteem issues and have very little confidence in themselves.
There are some interesting characteristics of an “egotistical jerk” that are typically evident. An “egotistical jerk” rarely produces results that are visible or tangible. In other words, an “egotistical jerk” talks a big game, but without the assistance of others, they are rarely able to step up to the plate and effectively deliver. They are usually just pretenders.
An “egotistical jerk” likes to compare themselves to other people and find themselves overly obsessed with ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ even when it becomes blatantly obvious.
An “egotistical jerk” brings attention to themselves, and overly emphasizes things like how much stuff they possess, or whether they have the biggest or most expensive material items, or what fancy title or position they hold, or what table positioning or seat assignment they have at social events, or who may have captured a glimpse of them at a fancy gala.
An “egotistical jerk” believes they have to be the center of attention in order to feel validated, and will usually neglect others close to them or ignore those around them, in exchange for an opportunity to hopefully be accepted by a group or people they have always wanted to be a part of and acknowledged by. It is almost like a disease or a sickness.
An “egotistical jerk” is always on the defensive and their actions drive others away. Trying to deal with an “egotistical jerk” can be extremely stressful and tends to drain the joy and happiness from your life to the point you want to sever all dealings with them and cut them off completely.
It’s truly sad when an “egotistical jerk” can’t stand to see someone else succeed in life and believes that another person’s success equates to them somehow failing.
An “egotistical jerk” would rather be around people who have less than they do and are seemingly in a more vulnerable position than they may be. They are not driven by personal success as much as they are driven by the desire to see you lose or come up short.
We all have at least one “egotistical jerk” in our lives. We are all connected to at least one person who has an ego larger than the sun, or maybe have been at some point in our lives.
Just take a moment and look at the people around you. Better yet look at yourself.
Are you, or are those around you, an “egotistical jerk”? If so, the question now becomes what do you plan to do about it?
Do you continue on making the people around you miserable, or do you acknowledge that having an “egotistical jerk” personality is wrong and needs to be dealt with head on?
It is my sincere hope that you deal with it quickly, so that at your funeral you’ll hopefully have at least one other person with something nice to say about you other than the preacher.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at email@example.com.