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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.
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:
- 6 Quotes on EGO from EGO IS THE ENEMY [VIDEO]
- 12 Humbling Quotes on Ego from Ego is the Enemy
- 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’t have been able to rise again.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Almost universally, the traits or behaviors that have pissed us off in other people – their dishonesty, their selfishness, their laziness – are hardly going to work out well for them in the end. Their ego and shortsightedness contains its own punishment. The question we must ask ourselves is: Are we going to be miserable just because other people are?” ~ 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
“Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of – that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“The more you have and do, the harder maintaining fidelity to your purpose will be, but the more critically you will need to. Everyone buys into the myth that if only they had that – usually what someone else has – they would be happy. It may take getting burned a few times to realize the emptiness of this illusion. We all occasionally find ourselves in the middle of some project or obligation and can’t understand why we’re there. It will take courage and faith to stop yourself.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“[Success] is not about beating the other guy. It’s not about having more than the others. It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go. About accomplishing the most that you’re capable of in what you choose. That’s it. No more and no less.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Too often, convinced of our own intelligence, we stay in a comfort zone that ensures that we never feel stupid (and are never challenged to learn or reconsider what we know). It obscures from view various weakness in our understanding, until eventually it’s too late to change course. This is where the silent toll is taken.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Do you know how you can tell when someone is truly humble? I believe there’s one simple test: because they consistently observe and listen, the humble improve. They don’t assume, ‘I know the way.'” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Success is intoxicating, yet to sustain it requires sobriety. We can’t keep learning if we think we already know everything. We cannot buy into myths we make ourselves, or the noise and chatter of the outside world. We must understand that we are a small part of an interconnected universe. On top of all this, we have to build an organization and a system around what we do – one that is about the work and not about us.” ~ 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
“Work is finding yourself alone at the track when the weather kept everyone else indoors. Work is pushing through the pain and crappy first drafts and prototypes. It is ignoring whatever plaudits others are getting, and more importantly, ignoring whatever plaudits you may be getting. Because there is work to be done. Work doesn’t want to be good. It is made so, despite the headwind.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“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. Give yourself a little credit for this choice, but not so much, because you’ve got to get back to the task at hand: practicing, working, improving.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy