Summary: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Summary: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Summary: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Work and chatter

The only relationship between them is one kills the other.

Ego is the Enemy

It blocks us from improving by telling us that we don’t need to improve.

Then we wonder why we don’t get the results we want, why others are better and why their success is more lasting.

Find canvases for people

So, they can paint on. Clear the path for people so eventually you will create a path for yourself.

Restraint is a difficult skill

But a critical one. you will often be sabotaged, and you will often be tempted to retaliate. Nonetheless you must try to restrain.

Work to be done

Work is finding yourself alone at the track when weather kept everyone else indoors. Work is pushing through the pain and crappy first drafts and prototypes. This is ultimately what separates winners from the crowd.

Always stay a student

An amateur is defensive. A professional find learning to be enjoyable; they like being challenged and humbled and engage learning as an endless process.

Accept others know more than you and that you can benefit from their knowledge.

A true student is like a sponge. Absorbing what goes on around him, filtering it, latching on to what he can hold.

A student is self-critical and self-motivated always trying to improve his understandings. He has no room for ego.

Learn from people you beat, people who beat you, people who you dislike, who dislike you.

At every step and every juncture in life, there’s opportunity to learn.

Pick up a book on a topic you know next to nothing about. Put yourself in rooms where you’re the least knowledgeable person.

Define your success

Especially true with money. If you don’t know how much you need, the default easily becomes “more”.

3 fuels of Ego

  1. Entitlement – doesn’t encourage valuing anyone else’s time as valuable as your own
  2. Control – the belief that everything must be done your way can create more problems than solutions
  3. Paranoia – the concept of looking out for number one can make you lonely in your false reality

Harsh truths over sweet lies

Worse yet are those who surround themselves with yes-men or sycophants who clean up their messes and create a bubble in which they can’t even see how disconnected from reality they’re.

No one did it alone

Soccer coach Tony Adams expressed it well

“Play for the name on the front of the jersey. They’ll remember the name on the back.”

Dead or Alive

Dead time is when you’re passive, biding time and alive time is moments of action, learning, evolving and growing. Every time I face is failure, the choice is mine.

Ego is the Enemy

  • Ego is the reason we delay things that may change our lives for the better.
  • Ego blocks us from thinking long term, from sharing credit with others.
  • Ego deceives us to crave the spotlight.

Failure is inevitable

The key is to learn from not just my failure, but from others’.

Aspiration, Success, Failure

At any given point in life, we find ourselves at one of these 3 stages.

Aspiration – trying to make a dent in the universe

Success – perhaps a little, perhaps a lot

Failure – recently or continually

Ego is the enemy every step along this way.

Humility is the gem

What is rare is not raw talent, skill or even confidence.

What is rare is humility, diligence and self-awareness.

Silence is scarce

The ability to deliberately keep myself out of the noise and subsist without its validation.

Talk depletes us. Talking and doing fight for the same resources.

Visualization is important, but don’t confuse it with actual progress. The same goes for verbalization.

Plus, Minus, Equal

MMA pioneer Frank Shamrock has a system he trains fighters in which he calls plus, minus and the equal. Each fighter to become great have someone

  • Better who they can learn from
  • Lesser who they can teach
  • Equal who they can challenge themselves against

Sabotage is inevitable.

Count on it. When I do something big and meaningful, I will always be subjected to treatment ranging from exclusion to outright sabotage.

Privately thinking you’re better than others is still pride.

It’s still dangerous.

No grand narrative.

When we achieve our own, glamorous success, we must resist the desire to pretend everything unfolded exactly as we’d planned. There was no grand narrative. You were there when it happened.

Best version of you.

It’s not about beating others. It’s not about having more than others. It’s about being what you are, being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it.

With power, comes responsibility.

Days become less and less about doing and more and more about making decisions.

Such is the nature of leadership. This transition requires reevaluating and updating my identity.

It requires a certain humility to put aside some of more enjoyable or satisfying bits of my previous job.

It means accepting that others might be more qualified in which you previously considered yourself competent – or at least their time is better spent than yours.

When success starts to slip.

Don’t grip and claw so hard that you shatter it to pieces.

Understand you must work your way back to the aspiration phase.

Get back to its principles and practices.

The only failure is abandoning your principles.

If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place.

When you look up to the universe

You know you’re small but you’re also big. You’re big because you’re connected to the universe and the universe is connected to you.

Up ahead there will be Contempts. Dismissals. One-sided compromises.

You’ll get yelled at. You’ll have to work behind the scenes to salvage what should have been easy. All this will make me angry.

This will make you want to fight back. This will make you want to say: you’re better than this… you deserve more.

Of course, you’ll want to throw that in their faces. Worse, you’ll want to get in those faces who don’t deserve the respect, recognition or rewards they’re getting.  When someone doesn’t reckon you with the respect and courtesy you’d like, the impulse is to correct them, to say:

Do you know who I am?

You want to remind them of what they’ve forgotten. Instead, you must do nothing. Take it. Quietly brush it off and work harder.

Play the game. ignore the noise. Don’t let the insult distract you.

Restraint is a difficult skill but a critical one.

Because for whatever comes next… and Ego is always the enemy.