Q: Is it necessary to develop qualities?
M: That is only for beginners. For the advanced ones it is enough to look into their nature. This is the direct method.
In all other paths the ego is involved. This alone answers the question of what the ego is. Yoga Vasishta says that the quest 'Who am I?' is the axe which, when struck at the roots of the ego, destroys it.
In fact, there may not be any individual in the world possessing all the qualities of perfection necessary for a seeker as mentioned in the Yoga Sutras etc, but the pursuit of atma jnana should not be abandoned.
We are all the Self by aparoksha (directly), although we may not be aware of it; instead, we identify the Self with the body and feel miserable.