The Strategist

Depleted Ego

04/22/2015 - 17:46

Responsibility and developed volitional qualities contribute to a successful career development. It is almost an axiom, because success comes only to those who know how to be responsible for decisions, set goals and reach them, despite the obstacles. But the catch is that sooner or later, even the most strong-willed and responsible begin to unravel. Psychologists calls this phenomenon the syndrome of "depleted ego" or fatigue from decision-making.

Solutions flow

In everyday life, we constantly make decisions related to the satisfaction of both biological and social needs. Selecting, associated with building a career, is the most accountable for many people. Not only social status depends on the options, but also the financial position, the possibility of self-realization and the availability of certain vital goods.

Constant awareness of responsibility, coupled with the lack of room for error seriously undermines the emotional reserves of the body, provoking emotional burnout and chronic fatigue.

Some professions literally made for continuous decisions that affect not only the company's reputation, but also human lives. And if a false move of a call-center operator will cause damage to the company, the air traffic controller error can be disastrous.

Constant awareness of responsibility, coupled with the lack of room for error seriously undermines the emotional reserves of the body, provoking emotional burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome and the so-called depleted ego. This condition is dangerous because a person subjectively feels as before, but is not capable making informed decisions.
Our brains are aimed at finding the path of least resistance, and if a day requires continuous decision-making and hard self-control, the first hours of operation will be more effective than the next. Even if fatigue will not be felt on the physical level, the nervous system starts a defense mechanism known to physiologists as protective inhibition. If one continue to make responsible steps in this state, leaning on the strength of will, further action may be either untested or ineffective.
As an "antidote" to the fatigue associated with permanent decision-making, psychologists advise periodically taking timeouts. But the specifics of most business processes is that the break in the middle of the day is simply impossible. And already pretty tired, we still show character, strength of will and work on.

Those who are forced to make permanent decisions and take responsibility for their own choices are at risk.

It is not so simple to find themselves with the presence of "depleted ego". If chronic fatigue, emotional burnout, creative or professional crisis are felt in the bud, this syndrome is dangerous because it does not manifest its manifestations in the initial phase of development.

At risk are primarily those who by profession or occupation forced to accept permanent solutions and take responsibility for their own choices. Hard self-control, renunciation of fleeting pleasures in the middle of the day - all this only accelerates the depletion of voluntary resource.

How to recognize?

Syndrome "depleted ego" is usually easily recognized on the grounds having no direct relation to career and profession. Loans made on impulse buying unnecessarily expensive items or serving alcohol after working as a compensation for another difficult day may be evidence.

Permanent operating of one’s own willpower, contrary to popular belief, does not train endurance; on the contrary, it undermines it. Someone does not withstand heavy loads and breaks, gaining credits, weight and undone business as a result, and the most radical dare to downshifting.

Tiring of decision-making eventually begins to appear at the professional level too, causing a person to take surface, unweighted, often impulsive decisions. There may be refusal of immediate action, excuses like "I need to think all is well." In fact, it is nothing more than an attempt to take the path of least resistance - not to take any sort of moves.

- The depletion of the ego directly affects the relationships with co-workers, changing them for the worse. If employees are forced to work in the mode of increased returns within a certain time, the result is that their mental reserves of strength are getting exhausted. When it comes to jobs episodically involving all hands or completion of another deadline - this is understandable, but if you need constant improvement of dedication, the volitional mechanisms are beginning to show a serious failure. A person may experience irritability towards colleagues, gradually trying to shift its part to other artists, often shows indifference to perform the duties. In contrast to the emotional burnout caused mostly by external factors, the syndrome of "depleted ego" arises in the case of transcendental level of self-control in high responsibility.

How to prevent?

Willpower, ability to self-control and ability to make decisions in cases of force majeure are necessary qualities for anyone who wants to make a successful career. However, in order not to become easy prey of "depleted ego" syndrome, you must follow a few simple, yet essential rules.

    Learn to delegate

Psychologists have found that this syndrome often occurs in people who prefer to work alone, even on the most labor-intensive projects. If you have a lot of work, decide in advance who would be able to help with certain tasks. You can enlist the support of colleagues in advance, warning them that you may require assistance from their side.

    Seek advice

In particular, this method works well if you only acquire a new team. Building a communication network with colleagues, you internalize valuable information for his work.

    Take breaks

It is not necessary to earn a reputation of a robot that can work without rest. Lunch break, a small five-minute breaks during the day needed for further work effectively. If you are sorry for lost time, think about how much you will lose in the future, if it is "pound" the nervous system.

Lunch break, a small five-minute breaks during the day needed for further work effectively.

    Entertainment required

Of course, you have come to work not for fun, earn money and make a career. However, the constant mental stress and fixation on what needs to be done cause depletion of mental reserves. Five-minute chat with friends in social networks or looking on your favorite hobby site will not harm the common cause (unless you do this during your lunch or coffee breaks).

    Career horizontally

Sometimes it is useful to ask, do you really right for this level of responsibility? If you want to make a successful career in your chosen profession, but are not yet ready to related stress, you can start to grow as a specialist in the horizontal direction. So you can keep your nervous system well, and at the same time gain a lot of valuable knowledge and skills.


Specificity of many business processes today is that the majority of employees requires the ability to quickly make complex decisions, while maintaining self-control, and performing several tasks practically simultaneously. However, it is worth remembering that the volitional resources required in such situations need mandatory rehabilitation.

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