How I Fought my Worst Enemy as a Designer

Turn it be my strongest ally.


Hoang Nguyen

2 years ago | 2 min read

Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash

What belongs to you, but other people use it more than you?

When I was a child, this was my most impressive riddle. The answer is quite simple: it is the “NAME” of each person. From the moment we were born, perhaps the first thing we own is our name. NAME also signals your “presence” in this world, and then the “Ego” comes to light.

It is the fact that the older we get, the more vulnerable our ego becomes. Children only need one candy to be happy, while adults are so egotistical and not easy to calm down. In particular, “Ego” is directly proportional to the ability and the results that we achieve.

Everything always has two sides, and so does the Ego:

  • Positive side: the ego creates pride and self-esteem, contributes to the courage to be yourself.
  • Negative side: it creates misconception. Or more accurately, misjudging ourselves, making us feel inferior or arrogant — and then gradually skeptical of our existence.

The design industry is halfway between Logic and Emotion — it’s hard to know when to keep the “Ego” and when to give up. So do I. The more experienced I get, the higher my pride and prejudice are, leaving me in an awful situation that affects my teammates.

Someone said that “Ego is a Designer’s Worst Enemy,” but I think this is both right and wrong in some aspects:

The ego helps us to retain our love

for our professions and confidence in our expertise: after a few working years, if we let the Clients, the Manager, or the choosey Leader overwhelm us, then soon the thought “Whatever, just get it done perfunctorily” will invade our motivation to grow and we gradually become a zombie.

The ego makes it harder to accept the “rejection”

of design options: we spend hours thinking and making some great options and then sending them to the client with a bold mind.

The next day, the customer coldly declines, which makes you feel deeply hurt. Instantly, the ego creates a fog that causes you to insist that the client is not qualified instead of finding out the rejection reasons. Design is to solve problems, so it needs to have many different perspectives.

The ego helps us understand ourselves,

thereby knowing what to do to progress: a sense of the right strengths and weaknesses is the first growing condition.

(Source) | Art by Gautam Partho Roy

Honestly is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom — Buddha.

The ego makes us lose our empathy and ability to listen

as designers; we have to be mindful of the customer’s goals and user experience. Leave the ego at home and put it in the box when doing things that need to focus on feeling or listening.

The ego helps us keep product quality in a specific “Standard.”

nothing is worse than creating things that the creator cannot be proud of with. Do not let the pressure of time and money make us “Fast Food.”

Understanding the ego to use in the design process:

  • Identify stakeholders;
  • Listen to their opinions, get them involved in the process. — Leave your ego at the door.
  • Follow the standard design process. — Keep your standard by your Ego.
  • Present the result, and don’t forget to link it to their comments. — Balance your Ego.

And finally, In my opinion, you don’t need to bury your ego; instead, make use of it.

A good ego can make you shine. At the same time a bad one ruin! — Mr Mrinmony

Originally published here.


Created by

Hoang Nguyen

Co-Founder and Product Design Coach at GEEK Up. Writing about Product Design, Creativity, and Personal Awareness. Site:







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