Ego is the Enemy

Ryan Holiday

Personal skill, effort, and consistency is only a small part of success. We are not that good. We need other people. We need them to strive at our side. We need luck. Don’t let ego make you think otherwise. Don’t let ego make you think that you can be successful completely on your own. Stay focused and do better.

My rating: 5/5 · It was awesome!
4 min · June 21, 2017 · Amazon

My Notes

We might not ever be straight, but we can strive to be straighter — Ryan Holiday

Your worst enemy is your own ego: the need to be more than, better than, recognized for, etc. It’s the sense of superiority that exceeds the bounds of your confidence and ability.

Ego prevents you from realizing that you’re just not that good. It prevents having a honest connection with the world around you.

Cultivate the ability to evaluate your own ability.

At any point in time your either aspiring something, achieved success, or failed. Be humble in your aspirations, gracious in your success, and resilient in your failure.

Find someone equal to you to challenge yourself, someone to learn from, and someone to teach.

Be a student of life. The pretense of knowledge prevents you from improving.

You’re always the least important person in the room until you change that with results.

Valuable endeavors are painfully difficult. Talking is easy. Too much talking, too much visualization, and our mind will confuse it with actual progress.

What is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong. — Ryan Holiday

Figure out what’s important to you. What you would do for the sake of doing it, not the recognition.

Continually ask yourself: Do I need this? Or is it really about ego?

Have purpose, not passion. Busy but not accomplishing anything? That’s passion. Let purpose and reason direct you.

Passion is form over function. Purpose is function, function, function. — Ryan Holiday

Don’t make people look good. Provide them support so that they can be good.

  • Come up with ideas to hand over to your boss.
  • Find what nobody else wants to do and do it.
  • Find inefficiencies and fix them to free up resources for new areas.
  • Produce more than everyone else and give your ideas away.
  • Find ways to promote their creativity.

Don’t protect yourself from negative feedback; protect yourself from positive feedback.

Pride dulls your ability to receive feedback. Be honest and willing to receive feedback, no matter how hard it is.

When you feel pride, even if you only think it, ask yourself: What are you missing right now that a more humble person might see?

It’s not ten thousand hours to mastery. There is no end zone but continual effort. Work, work, work, forever and ever, with purpose.

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 instead of in my ego. — Ryan Holiday

Push through the pain and crappy first drafts and prototypes. It always happens. This is work.

Put yourself in situations where you’re the least knowledgeable person. Grow from that uncomfortable feeling and defensiveness you feel when all your assumptions are challenged.

Don’t reverse engineer success from other people’s stories. Don’t pretend that your own story went exactly as planned.

Focus on the execution and on executing with excellence.

Success comes from work, creativity, persistence, and luck.

Saying “yes” more doesn’t make you accomplish more; it prevents you from getting what you want.

All of us waste precious life doing things we don’t like, to prove ourselves to people we don’t respect, and to get things we don’t want. — Ryan Holiday

Competition is important but it’s even more important to know who you’re competing with and why.

Stay on your own path without getting distracted by all the others that intersect it.

Fight the feeling of:

  • Entitlement. You haven’t earned anything more than the person next to you.
  • Control. It doesn’t have to be your way. Perfectionism paralyzes; pointless battles drains energy.
  • Paranoia. You’re not better than everyone else. Rely on people.

When you’re moving up the ladder, your system and work habits might not be what you need in your new role. Deliberate introspection and personal organization is required at every level.

As your responsibilities begin to change, you might end up doing less but making more decisions. Be humble enough to put aside the more enjoyable or satisfying parts of your previous role. Accept that others might be more qualified or specialized to take over your previous role.

Doing the right thing is enough. Do your work. Do it well. Then let go. Everything else is just extra.

What is your reward for suppressing your ego? Just another job well done. Nothing more.

Most successful people are people you’ve never head of. They want it that way. — Ryan Holiday

Don’t let power make you delusional or take what you have for granted. Use that time to prepare for the shifts of fate that will inevitably occur.

Everyone fails—sooner or later.

This moment is not your life. But it is a moment in your life. How will you use it? — Ryan Holiday

Don’t care what other people think. Care whether you meet your own standards.

The only real failure is abandoning your principles.