There has been a sea change in the spiritual awareness in recent decades. It now occurs to many of us that we can participate and flourish in today's society while deepening our spiritual journey at the same time. I believe reaching enlightenment is now easier than what it was centuries ago. Every liberated soul who walks the earth leaves a trail for future generations to follow. Still, the big task remains the same: you have to shed your self (the I, ego or accumulated experiences) like an old skin in order to discover the hidden gem inside.
Somebody at the self-development forum (http://www.stevepavlina.com/) made a very good point: the ego always shows up where you are lacking something (or you think you do). In the old days a spiritual person would have said you have to submit. God didn't endow you with it, so be it. Today's response probably is just to go after your desire and be done with it once and for all. There is no right or wrong, there is only useful for our spiritual journey or not. Yes, you can go after your ego driven desires just as long as you understand the driving force and that know when to stop.
Take 3 examples, your work, your body and sex. If the ego propels you to succeed at work go for it. Just use this experience to discover the "ego at work" and learn to distance yourself from the little fellow. As far as your body is concerned, if an inner voice tells you to diet, body build or even getting plastic surgery done, you can go for it too; just be able to know when you have reached your goal. The ego, once you let him run will always ask for more and get more and more unreasonable. Take the last case, sex. If you are married you might say that you are tempted by the opposite sex but you choose to not react to it. The downside is clear, adultery is a breach of trust and where there are lies you will have deviated from your spiritual path. Life is an ongoing choice. You can go after your desires and you can choose to ignore them. Whatever you do, go all the way. The sooner you can say "been there, done that" the better.