The Importance of Ego Management in Outdoor Pursuits


March 25, 2024


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The Importance of Ego Management in Outdoor Pursuits

Many of us love to set off on adventures whenever we get the chance. Exploring the other hillside, pitching a tent in the snow, hitting a trail that stretches far ahead… No matter how thrilling it is to explore the vast open spaces, safety and humility in the face of nature are always crucial. The greatest explorers do everything they can to limit the inherent risks of their outdoor adventures. We should do the same. Bianca from Peak Secourisme shares her insights on enjoying the great outdoors while staying safe, by putting aside our ego.

In this article, you will discover how an overinflated ego can be harmful in the great outdoors:

  1. What is ego in the outdoors?
  2. The downsides of ego in the outdoors
  3. Ego in the outdoors: is there a positive aspect?
  4. How to control or master your ego
  5. FAQ

What is ego in the outdoors?

Our love of the outdoors – whether camping, hunting, hiking or anything else – should never lead us to ignore the risks. Between the cold, snow, wind… nature can be dangerous. That’s why it’s so important to stay humble when venturing into it.

As Bianca puts it, when we fail to control our ego, we expose ourselves to dangerous conditions. For example, if you go hiking in the mud without proper hiking footwear because you consider it unnecessary, you increase the risk of slipping and getting injured. As a first aid and safety specialist, Bianca believes it is crucial to raise awareness of this issue among outdoor enthusiasts, particularly the younger ones.

Controlling our ego allows us to better assess each situation, judge risks more effectively, and stop when necessary to avoid “going too far.” Bianca points out that the human body is well made and will send you signals when something is not right. Pay attention to everything it tells you. Respect your body and respect nature!

Learning to control your ego doesn’t mean you have to leave your dreams and goals behind – far from it! In fact, being aware of the risks of injury, potential dangers, weather conditions, etc., increases the likelihood of successfully completing your outdoor adventures. When you keep your ego in check, you stay one step ahead; you understand your abilities and the tools available to you, enabling you to safely push beyond your limits! Not every unexpected event is worth facing.

The downsides of ego in the outdoors

ego in the outdoors

When going on a summer hike, a cross-country skiing expedition, or a long trail running session, safety isn’t always our first consideration. Only a few of us think of packing a first aid kit when leaving for a weekend of camping or a few hours of walking in a provincial park.

All outdoor activities come with risks. An overinflated ego may cause us to overlook them. According to Bianca, the ego can trick us into ignoring the signals given off by a situation, putting ourselves (and others) at risk. A misplaced ego increases the risks of injury, overtraining, anxiety if objectives are not met, etc.

There’s no reason to stop yourself from going on solo adventures, whether it’s a long hike, a day on the slopes or a morning hunt. Just remember that it’s always safer to have at least another person with you. Listen to yourself and listen to your body to avoid (minor) injuries like blisters, which can often happen when hikers wear the wrong socks or footwear. In this case, a misplaced ego might make someone believe it’s okay to leave with a pair of worn-out shoes or socks that are unsuitable for the season.

Bianca also reminds us of a very common mistake: ignoring the body’s warning signs. From dehydration to minor health issues you might have overlooked, pay attention to any signals it may send to minimize risks and fully enjoy the outdoors. It’s always best to listen to yourself and adapt, even if it means adjusting your goal a little when necessary!

In Quebec and Ontario, weather conditions can also change quickly and unexpectedly. A sudden temperature drop or heavy downpour can be enough to turn a leisurely hike into a real struggle. Avoid heading out assuming the weather will stay the same throughout your activity. It’s always worth being prepared and bringing sensible clothes. In winter, for example, consider using the multi-layer technique to effectively manage and regulate your body temperature.

Ego in the outdoors: is there a positive aspect?

According to Bianca from Peak Secourisme, there’s also something to be said for having an ego in the great outdoors. It is our ego that drives us to push our own limits instead of simply lounging on the sofa. Having the right amount of ego can lead us to discover new outdoor activities, push ourselves further in our practice, explore areas we’ve never visited before… For this first aid and safety specialist, ego can indeed have a very positive aspect in the outdoors. Ego and performance often go hand in hand.

Our ego pushes us toward adventure. When it’s not overinflated, ego can give us that “little boost” we need when we start to feel tired.

Of course, Bianca reminds us we should always keep safety in mind. Listen to your head and your body at all times. If you still have a few kilometres to go to reach the next viewpoint but you’re not sure if you’re up for it, don’t let your ego carry you away. You will have other opportunities to come back even better prepared!

How to control or master your ego

master your ego

As part of her work with Peak Secourisme, Bianca asks her clients to clearly define their expectations. One of her valuable pieces of advice is to establish clear and precise objectives – like setting a specific duration for trail running, for example. It’s all about being realistic and knowing your own limits. By performing a “self-check,” all participants can communicate their current physical condition and help prevent potential risks.

For Bianca, clear objectives enable us to react more effectively in the event of a problem. She also insists on reminding everyone that nothing can go 100% according to plan in the outdoors. When hiking with a group, for instance, it’s important to check in regularly to ensure everyone is doing well and to confirm that the chosen goal is still suitable. This is especially important when not all participants know each other well (think of the last in the line), as some may not feel comfortable enough to express themselves.

Bianca firmly believes in the value of going out in a group, whatever the activity. Everyone can prepare independently, for example by practising, learning techniques, and developing good reflexes for outdoor situations. Knowing theory (practical information, medical facts, etc.) is a great way to understand the aspects we can control when we are in the midst of nature.

Assess the experience level of each participant before setting off on an outdoor adventure, whether it’s mountain biking, hiking, or any other activity. If the right pace isn’t the same for everyone, take your time. As Bianca reminds us, slowing down is never a bad thing in the great outdoors.

When you’re outside in nature, putting your ego aside doesn’t affect your performance or the beauty of what you see around you. Setting realistic goals, knowing where you and your companions stand in terms of fitness level, having a basic set of skills in case a problem occurs… These are all good reflexes you should have when heading out on an adventure. Thanks to Bianca, we now know how to manage our ego in the outdoors and aim for pleasure and performance in the best conditions possible. Have fun!


1. How does ego manifest?

2. Why can ego be a problem in the outdoors?


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