Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday highlights the negative effects of ego, comparing it to a disease that will be detrimental to your growth if left unchecked.
Ego is a heightened sense of self and the best definition of Ego I came by is Ego is your over-hyped cheerleader.
If you want to find out more about how ego can hurt you in both your personal and professional life, read further!
The challenge for most of us isn’t how to find success but rather how to manage it. Many people hit a certain level of success and go off track, failing to appreciate what they have and what got them there.
If you want to find success in any field, whether it’s business or sports or relationships, stoicism can help you appreciate what you have while keeping your ego in check and allowing you to focus on achieving new heights.
The book is divided into 3 parts Aspire, Success, and Failure. I wanted to summarize my key takeaways from each chapter in hopes of encouraging others to read or listen to it as well.
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
So what exactly is ego?
I think Ego is how you view yourself. We all have egos—they’re inherent to being human. The problem isn’t ego itself, but when we let it control us and become a destructive part of our lives.
When you develop a sense of self-importance, an outsized perception of your own importance, a need for constant praise or admiration, and feel your accomplishments are never enough (to name just a few examples), that’s when things can go wrong.
According to bestselling author, Ryan Holiday in his book Ego Is The Enemy, overconfidence or big egos lead to mistakes even successful entrepreneurs make because they fail to recognize their own faults and continue down a bad path until it’s too late for redemption.
Watch this video before you go ahead.
Live with Purpose Not Passion
Living with passion means you do what makes you happy, regardless of whether it helps or hurts others or accomplishes anything in particular.
To live with purpose however, means that you decide what your core values are and then find a way to build your life around them.
We all need to be able to enjoy our lives—but if we base our actions on happiness alone, we will often end up taking advantage of other people and pursuing false solutions for fleeting joys.
Without purpose, who are we really serving? Ultimately, living with purpose is living with intention. It’s being clear about who we are and how we want to contribute in an observable way.
Always Be a Student have a Beginners Mindset
When we are starting out on something new, we have a beginner’s mindset. After a couple of months in, we think we know it all and we slack off.
This is where our big-headed ego gets in the way. We stop improving; we stop showing up and ultimately we’re found out.
It’s important to always have an attitude of you’ve never arrived because arrival is the death of inspiration.
The core concept of Beginner’s Mindset is that you see every interaction as an opportunity to learn something new, gain insight, or develop a new skill.
Ultimately, there are three major ways in which it helps you grow: First, it allows you to see problems with a fresh perspective. Many times we get so invested in our own ways of doing things that we overlook better alternatives because they aren’t familiar.
Frank Shamrock an ex-MMA fighter had a system where he trained fighters in a system he called plus, minus, and equal. Each Fighter trained with someone one step better than, equal to, and someone lesser than to challenge themselves.
The purpose of this system was to get continuous feedback to improve, and humility was the tool.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Set Realistic Goals don’t take on too much right away.
As Ryan says in his book, The enemy of creativity is self-doubt. Being overly critical and negative about yourself sets you up for failure.
Realistic goals are a great way to combat self-doubt because then when you achieve them, it validates your work and proves that you’re doing well.
If you’re not setting realistic goals or taking on too much, you can’t be disappointed with yourself because they weren’t realistic in the first place. Having unrealistic expectations causes us to feel bad about ourselves; then we get angry at someone else (like our boss) for making us feel bad.
The solution is to keep things simple and set one goal at a time; then once you complete that goal, move onto another one – all while not taking on too much.
Identify What’s Under Your Control And What Isn’t
A powerful concept in stoicism is to divide everything into what’s under your control and what isn’t. What isn’t: The past, other people, and circumstances.
Here’s a simple exercise draw a circle on a piece of paper. Now write whatever you can control inside the circle and whatever you can’t is outside it. Now just focus on what you can control that’s simple and effective.
So many of our problems are caused because we focus on external factors that we have no control over (or very little) instead of what’s actually within our power.
It’s liberating to realize that you can overcome so much by focusing on your mindset and not the numerous obstacles in front of you. The next time something bad happens to you or something doesn’t go your way remember that it’s not about the obstacle but about how you react to it.
Own Your Failures As Well As Your Successes
What we often do, however, is become extremely self-absorbed and narcissistic. While self-esteem comes from our own successes, true pride in oneself comes from learning to own our failures just as much as we do our successes.
When you fail at something it doesn’t make you a bad person–it only makes you human. It’s easy to blame people around us when things go wrong and to think of our mistakes as theirs but when things go right, we tend to take all the credit ourselves.
A great start towards better ego management comes from understanding that everything happens for a reason and owning up to your mistakes like a man would rather than being stuck in denial or blaming others for your shortcomings.
Be the best that you can be and don’t worry about how everybody else is doing. Easier said than done.
If you are not humble life will visit humbleness upon you. Controlling our ego allows us to focus on pursuing a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
What does “Ego is the Enemy” mean? Is ego actually an enemy for success or growth?
The book does not consider ego a negative trait, though it does direct our attention to the ways in which our egos can work against us. It’s a great read, especially if you’re interested in self-growth/enlightenment. According to Holiday, “Our egos can be our greatest enemy. They are the source of our greatest moments and our worst mistakes. Very often, the actions we take to protect our egos lead to more problems, more pain, and more suffering.
Will reading “The Ego is the Enemy” change my life?
The ego is a very important part of life. It is what makes you who you are. It defines who you are and what you feel. Ego is necessary for survival because it’s what makes you want to continue to keep on living. However, Ego should not be used as an enemy to success. By reading Ego is the enemy you will learn how to manage your Ego.
What can I learn from the book “Ego is the Enemy”?
In this book, Ryan Holiday writes about how ego can destroy our success in life. If you read this book, you’ll know how to detect and how to avoid ego traps. The book is recommended for anyone who is ambitious and has a lot of dreams but is not able to achieve them. The book is about the real purpose of ego, about how to realize our true potential, about how to bet on yourself, not on ego, and about being a humble winner.
What does “Ego is the Enemy” mean? Is ego actually an enemy for success or growth?
The book “Ego is the Enemy” is all about how the ego can prevent you from succeeding. It is all about the lessons from the greatest people in history who have failed and also the modern day people. He explains why ego is bad for a person and how it can ruin a person’s career, relationships, and success. The book is easy to read and highly recommended for anyone out there who want to learn more about ego and how to avoid it.