Ego is The Enemy
Ego is The Enemy summary

Ego is The Enemy

Rating: 8/10

Author: Ryan Holiday Read The Original

High-Level Thoughts

Media portrays those with larger than life egos as the ones on the top, all the fame, wealth, and happiness. In reality, ego is a poison that slowly kills you until your an empty shell, what the media doesn't show you are the countless downfalls and failures of those who were unable to put down their ego. A short but very powerful read for sure.

Many times we believe we are humble people, but in reality, everyone has an ego, and the more success we atain the more dangerous it becomes. I had to put the book down on multiple occasions and reflect, this goes to show you how powerful some of the examples and questions that Holiday provides throughout the chapters. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, no matter what stage you are in your life right now this is a timeless piece of non-fiction that I foresee myself reading multiple more times.

Ego is The Enemy Summary

  • You can never improve if you already believe you're the best.
  • Confidence doesn't external recognition. Confidence comes from self-satisfaction knowing you put everything on the table regardless of the results good or bad.
  • Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.

Book Notes and Highlights

  • Ego -> an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.
  • Ego exists for our comfort, when we are pursuing greatness it soothes our fear. However, this is a short-term fix with long-term consequences.
  • Many of history’s most famous men and women were notoriously egotistical. But so were many of its greatest failures. Far more of them, in fact.
  • Your ego is not some power you’re forced to satiate at every turn. It can be managed. It can be directed.

Part 1 Aspire

  • One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible. And certainly ego makes it difficult every step of the way.
  • We seem to think that silence is a sign of weakness. That being ignored is tantamount to death (and for the ego, this is true). So we talk, talk, talk as though our life depends on
  • Research shows that while goal visualization is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress. The same goes for verbalization. Even talking aloud to ourselves while we work through difficult problems has been shown to significantly decrease insight and breakthroughs.
  • "The voices of a generation work quietly in the corner. They turn their inner turmoil into product—and eventually to stillness. They ignore the impulse to seek recognition before they act."
  • "He wanted to be promoted, and he wanted to do well. He was a leaf that could be blown in any direction and Boyd knew it."
  • A man is worked upon by what he works on,” Frederick Douglass once said.
  • In this course, it is not “Who do I want to be in life?” but “What is it that I want to accomplish in life?”
  • To be or to do—life is a constant roll call.
  • We don’t like thinking that someone is better than us. Or that we have a lot left to learn. We want to be done. We want to be ready. We’re busy and overburdened.
  • “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
  • She had direction. She wasn’t driven by passion, but by reason.
  • Wooden, a famous succesful basketball coach, wasn’t about rah-rah speeches or inspiration. He saw those extra emotions as a burden. Instead, his philosophy was about being in control and doing your job and never being “passion’s slave.” The player who learned that lesson from Wooden would later change his name to one you remember better: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • How can someone be busy and not accomplish anything? Well, that’s the passion paradox. Dog's for example are passionate.
  • Find canvases for other people to paint on. Be an anteambulo. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself
  • Our imagination—in many senses an asset—is dangerous when it runs wild. We have to rein our perceptions in. Otherwise, lost in the excitement, how can we accurately predict the future or interpret events?
  • There’s no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us.
  • 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

Part 2 Success

  • Howard Hughes, despite his reputation, was quite possibly one of the worst businessmen of the twentieth century.
  • “a persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation, and constant revision driven by his uniquely disciplined and focused will.”
  • John Wheeler, who helped develop the hydrogen bomb, once observed that “as our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.”
  • Peter Drucker says that it’s not enough simply to want to learn. As people progress, they must also understand how they learn and then set up processes to facilitate this continual education. Otherwise, we are dooming ourselves to a sort of self-imposed ignorance.
  • Narrative is when you look back at an improbable or unlikely path to your success and say: I knew it all along. Instead of: I hoped. I worked. I got some good breaks. These narratives don’t change the past, but they do have the power to negatively impact our future.
  • When we are aspiring we must resist the impulse to reverse engineer success from other people’s stories.
  • Paul Grahm explicitly warns startups against having bold, sweeping visions early on.
  • “The way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things.”
  • A great destiny, Seneca reminds us, is great slavery.
  • Instead of pretending that we are living some great story, we must remain focused on the execution—and on executing with excellence.
  • Ego leads to envy and it rots the bones of people big and small.
  • On an individual level, however, it’s absolutely critical that you know who you’re competing with and why, that you have a clear sense of the space you’re in. Only you know the race you’re running. That is, unless your ego decides the only way you have value is if you’re better than, have more than, everyone everywhere.
  • Euthymia is one we should think of often: it is the sense of our own path and how to stay on it without getting distracted by all the others that intersect it.
  • DeLorean “had the ability to recognize a good opportunity but he didn’t know how to make it happen.” -> businessman who led his company to bankruptcy and disgrace.
  • Responsibility requires a readjustment and then increased clarity and purpose.
  • Ego needs honors in order to be validated. Confidence, on the other hand, is able to wait and focus on the task at hand regardless of external recognition.
  • Creativity is a matter of receptiveness and recognition. This cannot happen if you’re convinced the world revolves around you.
  • By widening our perspective, more comes into view. It’s sad how disconnected from the past and the future most of us really are. We forget that woolly mammoths walked the earth while the pyramids were being built.
  • " As a kid on that diving board, she wanted to use every allotted second to make the right decision, not driven by recklessness or fear. " -> Angela Merkel spent multiple minutes standing there before diving.
  • There’s an old line about how if you want to live happy, live hidden.
  • Most successful people are people you’ve never heard of. They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs.
  • what’s difficult is to apply the right amount of pressure, at the right time, in the right way, for the right period of time, in the right car, going in the right direction. Because even if we manage ourselves well, prosperity holds no guarantees.

Part 3 Failure

  • They can get by without constant validation. This is what we’re aspiring to—much more than mere success. What matters is that we can respond to what life throws at us. And how we make it through.
  • “From then until I left that prison, in every free moment I had, if I was not reading in the library, I was reading in my bunk.” He read history, he read sociology, he read about religion, he read the classics, he read philosophers like Kant and Spinoza. Later, a reporter asked Malcolm X, “What’s your alma mater?” His one word answer: “Books.” Prison was his college #[[reading]]
  • fulfilling our own standards is what fills us with pride and self-respect. When the effort—not the results, good or bad—is enough.
  • is, too, can bear;—I still Am Belisarius!
  • John Wooden’s advice to his players says it: Change the definition of success. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” “Ambition,” Marcus Aurelius reminded himself, “means tying your well-being to what other people say or do . . . Sanity means tying it to your own actions.”
  • “We cannot be humble except by enduring humiliations.” - William A Sutton
  • “He who fears death will never do anything worthy of a living man,” Seneca once said.
  • If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place.
  • Bo Jackson wouldn’t get impressed when he hit a home run or ran for a touchdown because he knew “he hadn’t done it perfectly.”
  • This is characteristic of how great people think. It’s not that they find failure in every success. They just hold themselves to a standard that exceeds what society might consider to be objective success. Because of that, they don’t care what other people think; they care whether they meet their own standards.
  • Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.
  • the Streisand effect (named after a similar attempt by the singer and actress Barbra Streisand, who tried to legally remove a photo of her home from the Web. Her actions backfired and far more people saw it than would have had she left the issue alone.)
  • Not to aspire or seek out of ego. To have success without ego. To push through failure with strength, not ego.
  • Bismarck that says, in effect, any fool can learn from experience. The trick is to learn from other people’s experience.
  • Working to refine our habitual thoughts, working to clamp down on destructive impulses, these are not simply the moral requirements of any decent person. They will make us more successful;

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