ego is the enemy
Issue 146 - August 11th, 2023
“Here, we are setting out to do something. We have a goal, a calling, a new beginning. Every great journey begins here - yet far too many of us never reach our intended destination. Ego more often than not is the culprit. We build ourselves up with fantastical stories, we pretend we have it all figured out, we let our star burn bright and hot only to fizzle out, and we have no idea why. There are symptoms of ego, for which humility and reality are the cure.” - Ryan Holiday
I am an avid reader, and at any given time I am more than likely reading 4-5 different books. I have a short attention span some may say, but I love books and I love learning and this reading style suits my learning behavior. Also, never be afraid to “quit” a book - I learned this lesson years ago and it has changed my appreciation for reading. Start many books but finish few - it is ok if you don’t like it - find another one and keep going! Charlie Munger is famous for saying: “Most books I don’t read past the first chapter. I am not burdened by bad books."
Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego Is The Enemy” is a book that has had a profound impact on how I think and the way I live, and I wanted to mention it today - hopefully you are inspired to order a copy and read it too!
I re-read parts of it frequently, and the lessons contained in here will speak to every person in different ways. I am highlighting some of my favorite lessons in today’s post - enjoy!
1. Everyone Has An Ego
We often look at others and think they have an inflated ego. However, when we assess ourselves, we absolve ourselves of any guilt.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether we like it or not, all of us have an ego.
And when I say ‘ego’, I’m not talking about the Freudian interpretation of it. I mean the more colloquial interpretation.
“An unhealthy belief in one’s own importance.” — Ryan Holiday
Ego is: an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Ego is a primary factor in the self-destruction of many people across the world, especially those who think they have found success through materialistic gains such as money and status.
2. Learn Forever - Always Be A Student
Embrace the role of a perpetual learner, maintaining this mindset even after achieving success. The ego often urges us to believe we've concluded our learning journey prematurely, repeatedly suggesting this at various points in our lives. Contrary to this, we should actively pursue chances to acquire knowledge beyond our assumed requirements. Engaging in learning places your ego in a vulnerable position, compelling you to acknowledge that others possess greater knowledge. As you persist in your learning journey, your awareness of the vast expanse of the unknown expands, revealing the depth of your own ignorance.
3. Be Thankful For What You Have
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” - Epictetus
Connect with what is important to you. Our ego turns to others and compares, longing for the next thing, both not appreciating what we have and grasping for that which we don’t actually want. Decide on what’s actually important for you to achieve, have, and experience, and then forsake the rest.
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