Everybody “owns” an ego. However, the ego doesn’t serve your interest. It’s more likely that it will block your way to success.
In our summary of “Ego is the Enemy,” we show why having a big ego is bad for you, and what strategies you can utilize to neutralize the ego’s impact.
Who Should Read “Ego is the Enemy”? and Why?
“Ego is the Enemy” is a book that recommends that people stopped looking for their passions, and start looking for a purpose.
Author Ryan Holiday argues that accepting failure, learning from your mistakes and continuing to work hard is the only way to succeed. He shares stories about politicians, professional athletes and business leaders who have already learned harsh lessons about the dangerous side of ego. He also shares anecdotes about amazing quiet workers who made significant differences in the world and remained unknown.
We recommend “Ego is the Enemy” for all readers who want to move forward by working on self-improvement.
If you want to tame your ego, Ryan Holiday will show you how.
About Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is a best-selling author and the former director of marketing at American Apparel.
“Ego is the Enemy Summary”
Every ambitious person has an ego. People who work to improve their skills and to meet their goals have an ego. Scientists, artists, athletes, and entrepreneurs achieve their goals by desiring to create and discover.
However, most of the time, ego is the driver of these activities. Getting ahead is necessary. However, too much of anything is a bad thing: too much ego will have the opposite impact and stop your progress.
Ego fuels self-congratulatory, lazy daydreaming. It undermines your capability to grow.
To accurately assess your strengths, accept a feeling of confidence and humility. Recognize that also ego can offer you the comfort of self-satisfaction, it can make you blind to opportunity.
If you wish to become great, you have to realize that greatness is a quiet act. Know the difference between working to get something accomplished and working for recognition.
Being “somebody” is much easier than getting things done.
You have probably heard or read advice on finding your passion many times before. However, this can be wrong advice, since passion leads to enthusiasm, and thoughtful deliberation suffers in the process.
Passion fills you with excitement and energy that can hide weaknesses. However, those flaws are bound to appear eventually.
So, our advice to you is that instead of passion, you look for purpose.
Furthermore, feelings of resentment, anger or pride can cloud your reasoning.
Accept that you are not unique or irreplaceable just because you studied in a good school, you are a hard worker, or your family is influential.
You may think your colleagues are frustrating or your boss is rude, but just pointing the finger at everyone and thinking you deserve better will not get you anywhere.
Instead, focus on your work and value the lessons that you get along the way. We promise you, you will be much happier.
Key Lessons from “Ego is the Enemy”
1. “The Canvas Strategy”
2. Problems with Narratives
3. Keeping the Motion
“The Canvas Strategy”
The canvas strategy translates as: be a canvas for other people to paint on. In other words, you should move from the short-term satisfaction that resentment gives you, and embrace the long-term “magic” of self-development.
To use the canvas strategy, whenever you start out some work, keep the following ideas in mind:
- Chances are you will need to cultivate a better attitude.
- You are not as good or important as you may believe you are.
- You do not know everything, and you need to gain more knowledge than your education gave you.
Your success will often come along with the success of other people around you. So, work to make the work of people that surround you easier. You may get an initial feeling of subservience, but starting at the bottom gives you a chance to learn how something works.
Problems with Narratives
Stop talking and start doing. Social media, for instance, encourages a lot talk and very little productivity. Posting updates all on your social media profiles focuses your attention on words over action. Status and picture updates create the false impression of confidence and accomplishment. However, all of that talk just takes up your energy that you could use for doing real work.
Furthermore, goal visualization may help you to focus at the beginning of a project, but when you do it in the midst of your work, it gives a misleading impression of progress.
Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are part of human experience. Being a creative person or an entrepreneur requires you to take risks, and risks do not always yield positive outcomes.
The problem is not a failure. The problem is identifying with failure.
Your ego makes you think that there are only two options: success or failure.
However, failure is not who you are – it is what you did. Let that resonate, and you will feel much better.
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“Ego is the Enemy” QuotesDoing great work is a struggle. It’s draining, it’s demoralizing, it’s frightening – not always, but it can feel that way when we’re deep in the middle of it. We talk to fill the void and the uncertainty. Click To Tweet The pretense of knowledge is our most dangerous vice because it prevents us from getting any better. Click To Tweet Be lesser, do more. Imagine if, for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you. Click To Tweet You’re not able to change the system until after you’ve made it. In the meantime, you’ll have to find some way to make it suit your purposes – even if those purposes are just extra time to develop properly, to learn from others on… Click To Tweet 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… Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“Ego is the Enemy” is a book written in a warm and conversational style. The chapters are short and easily understandable so just about anyone can read it. However, if you decide to read it, be prepared for some repetition and similar topics in a few different entries.