EGO IS THE ENEMY – RYAN HOLIDAY
The book has 3 parts: Aspire, Success and Failure.
The author uses historical figures to examine and explain the destructive properties of ego. With these stories, you will gain clarity on how dangerous your ego can be and how the suppression of it can lead you to a better life.
Part 1: Aspire
Most people at some point in their life had a vision of where they wanted to be in life…They had dreams, ambitions goals, etc…Yet, far too many of us never reach our intended destination. Why? The author tells us the reason might be our ego. Ego is your worst enemy if you want to achieve greatness. Success requires you to learn from people around you but your ego isolate you from others. Your ego makes you pretend like you have it all figured out. Because you pretend that you know it all and you lie to yourself, you will never achieve greatness.
Achieving greatness requires hard work…It can be demoralizing, draining and sometimes really frightening, and this is why some people prefer to live in an imaginary world and talk instead of going. They talk about what they are going to do, they talk about their past successes, on how they will be successful in the future, but in reality they are just avoiding hard work. They talk to fill the void and the uncertainty and to make themselves feel good.
Remember this: it is way easier to talk about your work than to actually commit the act itself. Way too many people focus too much on goal visualization…The problem with this approach is that your mind can be confused with actual progress.
Try to work for something larger than you. Have a purpose. Try to prove something to yourself instead of to other people and everything in your life will become both easier and more difficult at the same time. Things will be easier because you will know exactly what you need to do and what is important to you. All of the other options will wash away, because you will know with certainty that they won’t lead to happiness. You will see all of the other options as distractions and noise. Things will be harder because each options will be evaluated within strict guidelines. You will start to say no often…Every time you are making a decision, you will ask yourself : does this help me do what I have set out to do?
Always be a student
We are in 2016…Education is pretty much free these days. Access to teachers is no longer a barrier. You can almost find ANYTHING on the internet. So why is it that most people don’t succeed? Well first of all, not everyone has ambition and not everyone is driven. However, there are a lot of people that are really driven but it seems like they just can’t progress. Why?
The author tells us this is because of their ego. The author tells us that our ego gives us wicked feedback. Our ego is completely disconnected from reality. It is impossible to improve if you don’t receive valid feedback and the ego is too protective. It won’t allow yo to look at reality. It wants to protects you but by doing it, it restrain you from learning and improving.
Forget about passion
Try to get purpose and realism instead. People with passion are all over the place and to achieve success you need focus. Having a purpose is much better. Realism gives you detachment and perspective so you can look at yourself without the need to distort reality.
Realism will gives you a good perspective on what you need to do. Champions are people that are able to look at reality in the face and then put in the work. People that are controlled by their ego live in an imaginary world in which it seems like they are successful, it seems like they are on the path to success, but in reality they are not. The only thing thy are doing is avoiding the inevitable hard work.
The canvas strategy
The strategy is to find canvases for other people to paint on. The author gives the example of a new employee for an organization. If that person really wants to climb the ladder, the smartest strategy would be to make other people look good. Serve other people and keep your head down.
If you do that, if you provide support to others so they can be good in their work, they will like you and they will make sure you will succeed. If you let your ego control you, you will try to impress your boss and other people just won’t like you. If other employees don’t like you, it will be MUCH HARDER for you to success in the organization.
Learn to restrain yourself
When you become successful, you have to expect that a lot of people will criticize you and a lot of people won’t like you. When that happens, you have to remove your ego from the equation. If you let your ego control you, you will get on the defensive and you will attack anybody that doesn’t like you…The problem with this strategy is that you will NEVER WIN. If you are highly successful, there will always be haters out there. Also, you will lose a lot of of energy by going after each one of your detractor.
What you have to understand is this: It doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them.
Instead of going crazy every time someone doesn’t approve of what you do, just ignore the noise and work harder. Remain focus and do not let it distract you.
Be careful of pride at the early stage
You have to be careful with pride in the early stages because pride will take a minor accomplishment and make it feel like a major one. The problem with that is that it will make you lose your focus and you will not work hard enough to reach the top. Again, the ego is making you do this and the ego is the enemy. Pride can lead you to a path of delusion and delusion will lead you to failure. You can’t accomplish anything when you live in delusion.
What you have to realize in the early stages of your development is that you need to keep your focus, you need to keep working hard even if you get a few small win. If you let pride control you you might lose your focus and without focus, you won’t reach the top.
You have to work hard
People that are controlled by their ego live in an imaginary world. They live a life of illusion. It seems like they are working hard BUT THEY ARE NOT. They are not able to delay gratification by working, and this is the big difference between champions and the rest of the people.
Each time you are sitting down to work. remind yourself that what you are doing is delaying gratification. When you are working, you are literally investing in yourself instead of your ego. When you live in an imaginary world in which the only thing you do is talk about your past wins, how you are going to win big in the future, etc, what you are doing is feeding your ego and nothing else.
True champions, true warriors are those that work hard no matter what. Some people dream of getting fit but as soon as it rains a little bit outside, they don’t go to the gym. They will NEVER make it. Their commitment and efforts do not reflect the size of their goals.
Part 2: Success
Now that you are at the top, you still have to be careful of your ego…You will face new challenges and new problems. If you let the ego control you, you will stop listening and you will stop learning and you will quickly lose everything that you have gained
Stay a student
If you stop learning, even if you are t the top, someone will soon beat you and you will lose everything that you’ve gained really quickly. The moment your ego feels like it has mastered everything and you let your ego control you, the downfall starts.
You have to always stay a student. That’s the only way you can stay on top. You have to see learning as an ongoing and endless process is you want to stay on top.
When you reach the top and you keep getting better and better, you need to stay sober. You need to stay focused. When you lose your focused, the downfall starts. When you are at the top, it’s REALLY easy to get distracted and lose your focus.
Take Warren Buffet for example. He still lives in the same house that he lived in many years ago. The guy could literally buy ANY house in the world bu he choose to stay in the same one. He knows that these things won’t make him happier. What makes him happy is progress in his business and that’s what he focus on.
Part 3 Failure
No one is permanently successful. At some point everybody will fail or their goal will turn out to be much harder to achieve than they anticipated. Most of the time, it is Ego that leaves people unprepared for these circumstances…To rise again, it will require awareness and focus.
Spend your time wisely
There are two types of time in our life: dead time and alive time. Dead time is when you are passive and are not taking action and alive time is when you are learning and taking action.
You have to spend your time wisely. Your goal should be to minimize the dead time as much as possible and maximize your alive time as much as possible in order to achieve greatness and stay on top.
Have your own scorecard
It will make you way less selfish and self-absorbed. Yes, it is a much harder road, but it is worth it. The bottom line is that someone who judges himself based on his own standards does not crave the spotlight. However someone who base his success on applause WILL crave the spotlight and this could be really dangerous.
It is important because if you judge yourself based on your own scorecard, you won’t get affected by what people think of you. It won’t have any impacts on you and you will stay focused.
Forget about hate
It is easy to hate in the face of adversity. It’s a normal reaction to attack back when we get attacked but what you have to realize is that it is a distraction. When all of your time is spent getting revenge, you are not working hard and you are not improving.
When you hate, is doesn’t bring you any closer to where you want to be AT ALL. It actually arrests your development totally.
Overall this is a good book and I recommend everybody to read it. Ego truly is the enemy. This book made me realize a few areas in my life where my ego was taking too much place.
I’ve done a lot of coaching in the area of online marketing and my best students were the ones that were really open minded. They didn’t act like if it was easy, like if they already knew how to do it, etc. They truly listened to what I was saying and they applied it. They let their ego aside and this is why they learned so fast.
Please leave a comment below or let me know any questions you have. I’d love to hear what you think!
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