“Sometimes greater danger comes from success and praise than from criticism. If we learn to handle criticism well, it can strengthen us and help us become aware of flaws in our work. Praise generally does harm. Ever so slowly, the emphasis shifts from the joy of the creative process to the love of attention and to our ever-inflating ego. Without realizing it, we alter and shape our work to attract the praise that we crave.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
By: Ryan Holiday
Book Overview: Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back. Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.
Post(s) Inspired by this Book:
- Malcolm X’s Alma Mater – And How Choosing Between ‘Dead Time’ and ‘Alive Time’ Can Change Your Life.
“All great men and women went through difficulties to get to where they are, all of them made mistakes. They found within those experiences some benefit – even if it was simply the realization that they were not infallible and that things would not always go their way. They found that self-awareness was the way out and through – if they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have gotten better and they wouldn’ve have been able to rise again.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Attempting to destroy something out of hate or ego often ensures that it will be preserved and disseminated forever.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Why is success so ephemeral? Ego shortens it. Whether a collapse is dramatic or a slow erosion, it’s always possible and often unnecessary. We stop learning, we stop listening, and we lose our grasp on what matters. We become victims of ourselves and the competition. Sobriety, open-mindedness, organization, and purpose – these are the great stabilizers. They balance out the ego and pride that comes with achievement and recognition.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
Sharing weaknesses is never easy.
It leaves you feeling vulnerable and feeble and the ego absolutely hates that.
The ego only wants to talk about the strengths, the victories, the accomplishments, etc.
…But meaning and fulfillment don’t come from feeding the ego – they come from feeding the soul.
…And it’s time for some soul food.
One of my weaknesses is that I’m exceedingly anti-confrontational.
In order to avoid a conflict, either verbally or physically, I’ll shut down, close my mouth and try and separate myself from the situation as fast as possible.
There have been times when I have chosen to remain silent about things that I believed to be wrong, unjust, or hurtful.
I was the bystander; the watcher; the one who becomes the gas for the fire of hate.
And it kills me inside to know I acted (or didn’t act) this way.
When it comes to making a difference in the world, you’re either a fire type, a water type, or a gas type.
“We tend to be on guard against negativity, against the people who are discouraging us from pursuing our callings or doubting the visions we have for ourselves. This is certainly an obstacle to beware of, though dealing with it is rather simple. What we cultivate less is how to protect ourselves against the validation and gratification that will quickly come our way if we show promise. What we don’t protect ourselves against are people and things that make us feel good – or rather, too good. We must prepare for pride and kill it early – or it will kill what we aspire to. We must be on guard against that wild self-confidence and self-obsession.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“The art of taking feedback is such a crucial skill in life, particularly harsh and critical feedback. We not only need to take this harsh feedback, but actively solicit it, labor to seek out the negative precisely when our friends and family and brain are telling us that we’re doing great. The ego avoids such feedback at all costs, however. Who wants to remand themselves to remedial training? It thinks it already knows how and who we are – that is, it thinks we are spectacular, perfect, genius, truly innovative. It dislikes reality and prefers its own assessment.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“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.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Appearances are deceiving. Having authority is not the same as being an authority. Having the right and being right are not the same either. Being promoted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing good work and it doesn’t mean you are worthy of promotion (they call it failing upward in such bureaucracies). Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Living in the moment can become a moralistic principle, a burden rather than a way to intensify life. The difference might depend on who takes the lead in the dance and who chooses the music. The soul is a community of many interior persons, many of them capable leaders. The ego is only one among them and probably should not always run the show. A good dancer or musician allows the music to take over, becomes absorbed in the complex harmonies and tempos, and is the servant of the materials at hand. The secret of a soul-based life is to allow someone or something other than the usual self to be in charge.” ~ Thomas Moore, Original Self