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Introduction: Why is the ego the enemy?
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The ego is the sense we have of our self-esteem and our self-worth. When it comes to moving forward in life, Ryan Holiday, author of Ego is the Enemy argues that both in success and in failure, ego only gets in the way and holds us back. The time we spend in our own heads comparing ourselves to others and measuring our esteem is time that is distracted from the real work we could be doing—the work of producing our art and cultivating our life’s task.
“If your opinion of yourself means more to you than other’s opinions of you, you won’t feel the degradation if someone disagrees.” ~ Matt Karamazov, High Existence
“The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become in trying to get there.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“It does not count if you believe in yourself when it’s easy to believe in yourself. It does not count if you believe the world can be a better place when the future looks bright. It does not count if you think you’re going to make it when the finish line is right in front of you. It counts when it’s hard to believe in yourself, when it looks like the world’s going to end and you’ve still got a long way to go. That’s when it counts. That’s when it matters the most.” ~ Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You
“Christians believe that pride is a sin because it is a lie – it convinces people that they are better than they are, that they are better than God made them. Pride leads to arrogance and then away from humility and connection with their fellow man. You don’t have to be Christian to see the wisdom in this. You need only to care about your career to understand that pride – even in real accomplishments – is a distraction and a deluder.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“A healthy sense of self-confidence is a critical factor in achieving our goals. This holds true whether our goal is to earn a college degree, build a successful business, enjoy a satisfying relationship, or train the mind to become happier. Low self-confidence inhibits our efforts to move ahead, to meet challenges, and even to take some risks when necessary in the pursuit of our objectives. Inflated self-confidence can be equally hazardous. Those who suffer from an exaggerated sense of their own abilities and accomplishments are continuously subject to frustration, disappointment, and rage when reality intrudes and the world doesn’t validate their idealized view of themselves. And they are always precariously close to sinking into depression when they fail to live up to their own idealized self-image. In addition, these individuals’ grandiosity often leads to a sense of entitlement and a kind of arrogance that distances them from others and prevents emotionally satisfying relationships.” ~ Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
“Fear is a conditioned response: a life-sucking habit that can easily consume your energy, creativity and spirit if you are not careful. When fear rears its ugly head, beat it down quickly. The best way to do that is to do the thing you fear. Understand the anatomy of fear. It is your own creation. Like any other creation, it is just as easy to tear it down as it is to erect it. Methodically search for and then destroy every fear that has secretly slid into the fortress of your mind. This alone will give you enormous confidence, happiness and peace of mind.” ~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
“Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence – like a gift – by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.” ~ Carol Dweck, Mindset
In our own lives, having a mind-set of expecting to win increases our odds of winning. It helps us get better results. And better results help us increase our credibility and self-confidence, which leads to more positive self-expectancy, and more winning – and the upward cycle continues. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As Harvard Business School professor and writer Rosabeth Moss Kanter has observed, “Confidence consists of positive expectations for favorable outcomes… winning begets winning, because it produces confidence at four levels.” The first of those levels, she says, is “self-confidence: an emotional climate of high expectations.” The second level is “confidence in one another.”
So if you want to increase your results, expect to win – not only for yourself, but also for your team. Not at all costs, but honorably. Not at the expense of others, but in conjunction with others. Expecting to win – and expecting others to win – is a fundamental approach of helping to bring it about.
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