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3. It's too late to live on ego candy.
My client Gloria is a physician whose first words to me were, "I hate people, and I hate to touch them." When I asked why she'd chosen such a people-touching profession, she replied, "So I could say I'm a doctor."

This is what I call ego candy, and it encompasses anything we do purely for approval, admiration, or status. The ego's appetite for adulation is endless, its capacity to create genuine happiness nil. It's far too late to spend another minute starving your soul to feed your need for praise.

Think of something on your bucket list—something you'd like to experience but haven't yet—and answer the following true-or-false questions:
  • I want to experience the activities involved in this goal, whether or not I achieve the milestones associated with it. (For Èexample, if the item is "run a marathon," would you enjoy the months of training as much as crossing the finish line?)
  • I'd want to have this experience even if no one else would ever know I had.
  • I feel no inferiority, jealousy, or competitiveness around people who have done this thing, and no superiority toward people who haven't.
  • I'd be thrilled to do this even if everyone I know thought it was weird or stupid.

If you didn't answer "true" to all of these statements, your goal is ego candy. It may give you momentary sugar highs of pride, but it will inevitably drop you into a state of insatiable craving. Scratch all the ego candy off your bucket list, and replace it with things that truly nourish you.