Ego is the enemy Summary author says maybe you’re young and you’re struggling. Maybe you’ve made that first couple million, signed your first deal, been selected to some elite group, or maybe you’re already
accomplished enough to last a lifetime. Maybe you’re stunned to find out how empty it is at the top. Maybe you’re charged with leading others through a crisis. Maybe you just got fired. Maybe you just hit rock bottom. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you: your ego.
EGO IS THE ENEMY BY RYAN HOLIDAY
Book : Ego is the Enemy
Summary of Ego is the Enemy By Ryan Holiday
Author says most of us aren’t “egomaniacs,” but ego is there at the root of almost every conceivable problem and obstacle, from why we can’t win to why we need to win all the time and at the expense of others. From why we don’t have what we want to why having what we want doesn’t seem to make us feel any better.
If your purpose is something larger than you—to accomplish something, to prove something to yourself then suddenly everything becomes both easier and more difficult. Easier in the sense that you know now what it is you need to do and what is important to you. The other “choices” wash away, as they aren’t really choices at all.
Whatever we seek to do in life, reality soon intrudes on our youthful idealism. This reality comes in many names and forms: incentives, commitments, recognition, and politics. In every case, they can quickly redirect us from doing to being. From earning to pretending. Ego aids in that deception every step of the way.
BECOME A STUDENT
A true student is like a sponge. Absorbing what goes on around him, filtering it, latching on to what he can hold. A student is self-critical and self-motivated, always trying to improve his understanding so that he can move on to the next topic, the next challenge. A real student is also his own teacher and his own critic. There is no room for ego there.
We don’t like thinking that someone is better than us. Or that we have a lot left to learn. We want to be done. We want to be ready. We’re busy and overburdened. For this reason, updating your appraisal of your talents in a downward direction is one of the most difficult things to do in life—but it is almost always a component of mastery.
“It is impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows,” Epictetus says. You can’t learn if you think you already know. You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.
Today, books are cheaper than ever. Courses are free. Access to teachers is no longer a barrier technology has done away with that. There is no excuse for not getting your education, and because the information we have before us is so vast, there is no excuse for ever ending that process either.
GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD
All of us are susceptible to these obsessions of the mind—whether we run a technology startup or are working our way up the ranks of the corporate hierarchy or have fallen madly in love. The more creative we are, the easier it is to lose the thread that guides us.
Our imagination—in many senses an asset—is dangerous when it runs wild. We have to rein our perceptions in. Otherwise, lost in the excitement, how can we accurately predict the future or interpret events? How can we stay hungry and aware? How can we appreciate the present moment?
THE DANGER OF EARLY PRIDE
Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind. Our ability to learn, to adapt, to be flexible, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pride. Most dangerously, this tends to happen either early in life or in the process—when we’re flushed with beginner’s conceit.
Pride takes a minor accomplishment and makes it feel like a major one. It smiles at our cleverness and genius, as though what we’ve exhibited was merely a hint of what ought to come.
As the famous conqueror and warrior Genghis Khan groomed his sons and generals to succeed him later in life, he repeatedly warned them, “If you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.” He told them that pride would be harder to subdue than a wild lion. He liked the analogy of a mountain. He would say, “Even the tallest mountains have animals that, when they stand on it, are higher than the mountain.”
WORK, WORK, WORK
As a young basketball player, Bill Bradley would remind himself, “When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.”
The Bible says something similar in its own way: “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes.” You can lie to yourself, saying that you put in the time, or pretend that you’re working, but eventually someone will show up. You’ll be tested. And quite possibly, found out.
Every time you sit down to work, remind yourself: I am delaying gratification by doing this. I am passing the marshmallow test. I am earning what my ambition burns for. I am making an investment in myself instead of in my ego.
About the Author :
Ryan Holiday is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist, and the author of many bestselling books including The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; and The Daily Stoic. His books have been translated into over 30 languages and read by over two million people worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family.