Ego is the Enemy

ego is the enemy

We are talking a lot about the Ego this week in my ACIM series, I thought this would be a great time to review another one of my favorite books: Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday.

“While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” – from the Prologue

Ego is to blame for most of our human complaints. Fear, Anger, Frustration, Depression, these are all functions of the Ego. In fact, we learned that any time we are feeling less than joy, we are operating in the ego. Yet, in the moment, if asked, we are likely to blame something outside, another person place or thing for our failures and frustrations. We are likely to blame anyone but ourselves. Now we know all of our strife comes from an internal source: The Ego.

When we are young, the ego impedes us from learning. I see this almost daily with my young adult children. They prefer to learn things the hard way, over taking my advice. Their ego makes them struggle with a task or challenge for hours or even days before they ask for my help, if they ask. We often think we know it all when we are young, and many of us were completely unwilling to listen to anyone, about anything.

As we gain experience in life, we start gaining confidence and thus, once again ego has the tendency to hold us back as it blinds us to our own part in our lives, it blinds us from seeing our personal power of choice.

The ego is also responsible for the runaway train of arrogance that happens when we think we are invincible and we leave everyone around us in the wake of our ego, or we stand on them to get where we are going.

With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.

This book draws on literature, philosophy and history to share rich examples of fascinating historical figures overcoming their egos to achieve the highest levels of success and influence. We learn the strategies and tactics of tackling the ego from Howard Hughes, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, all of whom reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Ryan show us how their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that promotes and glorifies big ego. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes,

“you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.”

The type of people who tend to succeed early, tend to be the same people in danger of ego taking the dominant voice in their actions. As your body of accomplishments grow, your ego may keep pace, installing itself in you as arrogance. Arrogance is often confused with power and self-confidence, both by the person, and by people around them. We know however, that Arrogance has nothing to do with the true wisdom and self confidence  that come from knowing intuition.

Ego is responsible for all pain, anger, depression and fear.  Ego will always blame something outside for its failures.

Ego is happy with the status quo because as long as it is the predominant voice in our head, it feels safe. Once we accept intuition, we let go of the Ego. Ego actively prevents us from getting better.

The ego is always striving for its day in the limelight, it always wants attention and recognition. The ego always has an excuse for why things don’t work out, yet the ego is also often likely to sabotage our own successes. While the ego can become arrogant, it is also insecure.

The ego is the separation,  It closes options. It mesmerizes. It clouds your mind, and puts blindfolds on you. It narrows perspective. It makes you see what you want to see. Ego is the default choice, because it’s soothing. That is precisely why we must be cognizant of it, and counter-balance it. In every situation, ask yourself who is acting. Is it you, your goals, your vision, your long-term accomplishments, and your confidence?  Ask yourself why. We must know the purpose of everything we are doing, is it your intuition speaking or is it your ego?
Ego is the enemy.

ego 3

This post contains amazon affiliate links for the purchase of the book I have reviewed. The opinions are my own. I am not compensated in anyway unless you purchase from a link on this blog. If you choose to buy a book based on something you read here, please use the link provided, it helps me support my blogging activity. The opinions expressed here are my own and I have not reviewed any books or placed affiliate links for any products that I have not tried and reviewed for myself. Thanks for your support.

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