Two in one tonight since I didn't do any last night and these two certainly blend in together I think...
I think these two things are vital in your attitudes to help to combat that ego too, to be thankful for what you DO have and to be content with what you already have, stops you longing for more in a way that would only focus you on what you lack. Sure you can be content and appreciative and still aim to do better in whatever area of your life, be it spiritual or physical, but to have those attitudes in your heart and mind will help keep the dissatisfaction that the ego tries to sabotage us with at bay.
A couple of things about these things is I guess it's easy to have these attitudes when things are going smoothly isn't it, harder to keep hold of when you're facing some challenges, however although it should be easy to do when things are going well, how many of us actually stop for more than 5 mins to appreciate what you have, or what you've just obtained? Often the thrill of obtaining whatever it may be brings in a very thankful attitude for all of an hour, a day, a week, but there is not a lasting contentment with that, all too soon we take the aquisition for granted, we get blase about our attitudes and the appreciation is soon lost under the chase for the next aquisition. I think you have to learn to be content with what you have, at ALL times... after all, what you have right "now" is all you have, if you are not content with what you have you are not honouring the Now as ET would say, you are at odds with what is at this present moment... That is of course, not to say that you can't have goals of things you would still like or things you are still aiming for, but you need to appreciate what you DO have.
Murat Yagan, Elder of Kebzeh, says much the same thing, and it follows that whole "abundance" thing I talked about earlier... Be content with what you have, know that you have what you need at the time, AND (not 'but' as but has a negative connotation) that you can do better. Appreciating what you have doesn't stop you aiming to have more but it will aid you to be happy with what you have right now and if you can't find a contentment and happiness with where you are or what you have right now, what is the point of life???
Appreciating anything, just helps keep that ego at bay. It's not all about being thankful for something to the point of "I'm so lucky I have this in my life" or thinking about how much harder than someone else you worked to get something, it's about honouring that thing, or that person, or that attitude... of realising that with that in your life, your life is 'more', your life is enriched because of it, and by being thankful for that enrichment, it is being thankful for what it has given you right now, not for what you think you can get from it in the future. I guess that's where the contentment comes in too. You are not looking for what you might get from it as a future thing where you are setting it up for a possible failure and yourself for disappointment if it then doesn't happen, you are content with the gift it has brought you at this present moment AND you look forward to having that contentment in the future too.
It is us and only us who controls our attitudes, sure others can influence us but only if we allow them too, whether that allowance is given unconsciously due to the fact we are just not aware how much control our 'mind' or ego has taken over our thoughts and we allow ourselves to be buffetted by others negativity etc, or whether we consciously put ourselves into situations to build ourselves up by putting ourselves into circumstances where we are around others with the 'energy' we want... Groups, individuals, whatever, the energy that helps lift our own, that feel good factor that we want to rub off on us, but unconsciously or consciously only WE control our own internal dialogues and consequently our feelings and emotions, so it is up to us to find contentment and appreciation for what we have in our lives right now.
Do you see the negatives first? Or the positives? Do you grab a negative of "...but! I have this health issue!" or do you bring in appreciation for the support group of family or friends that are around you? Do you grab a negative of "...but! money is short and I can't afford ...." or are you content with what you DO have right now, a roof over your head, food on your table and Love of those close to you? EVERYONE faces challenges in this life, if you can keep an appreciation in focus, if you can find even a tiny contentment in where you are at, those challenges will be perceived as less consuming for a start and often will smooth themselves out quite considerably in external ways too. Keep a positive mental attitude that is NOT just ego based and see how the Universe starts aligning with you and not against you!
"every moment is made glorious by the light of Love."