The Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday — 10 Golden Nuggets
Golden Nugget #1 — Aspire
In the first chapter of the book Ryan says that to dream or to have ambition is a product of our egos (our idea of ourselves and what we are capable of achieving).
When we do find success usually it is accompanied by praise from our loved ones, friends, and family. This same praise feeds the ego, and causes us to generate an inflated sense of self-worth.
When we believe that we can do no wrong, we begin to overlook fine details and start to make careless mistakes.
Our goal should be to temper the fire of the ego with the cool calmness of humility and self-awareness, to do this we must always see ourselves as imperfect with an ever-expanding potential to improve.
We must never allow ourselves to get comfortable because comfort gives us a false sense of self-worth and capability.
Golden Nugget #2 — Talk, Talk, Talk
Talking about our goals and what we are doing such as the projects we want to complete or the plans we have, gives us too much satisfaction for something that doesn’t further our efforts, talking is a big distraction from the work that needs to be done.
The people whose words are remembered are the ones who hardly said anything at all except when asked.
I had a big problem with this at the beginning of my entrepreneur journey, I would tell anyone who’d listen all about my grand plans to make a boat-load of cash and talk down on their plans to go to college and get a stable job, of course nothing materialized for me until I actually sat my butt down and got to work.
I noticed the less I talked and bragged about my knowledge or how other people are going about their lives in the wrong way, the more successful I got because I only focused on what’s important and stopped seeking validation from other people.
Golden Nugget #3 — To Be or To Do
In life many of us chase the opportunities that will make us look good and when we do that, often times we sacrifice our integrity. The path to fame and fortune is usually rife with people who would use you to further their own goals.
It is important we keep in mind or ponder why we are on the path that we are on. when we do this we decide whether those goals are worthy and we know instantly when an “opportunity” conflicts with our principles.
Golden Nugget #4 — Become a Student
This means having the awareness to know that you know nothing. A person cannot learn what he thinks he already knows, so we must set our egos aside and realize no matter how great we think we are, reality rarely agrees.
I had an enormous ego about my knowledge (because it was the only thing I had, I didn’t have money or nice clothes or even a car!) but even with all the knowledge I thought I had, I kept having setbacks because of my arrogance.
I refused to learn new things like online marketing because I thought I knew it all, I would laugh at people who were giving advice on the internet about how to gain traffic or make sales because it didn’t match up with my own (limited) ideas on online marketing.
A book this chapter reminded me of is called Mastery by George Leonard, in it he tells this great story about a recently deceased martial arts grand master who had requested to be buried in his white belt because he knew that in order to be a true master at something, you must be willing to be a student and never stop learning your craft. He knew nothing about death and therefore donned his white belt for his burial.
Golden Nugget #5 — Don’t Be Passionate
This is because passion clouds judgement, a passionate person also falls in love with the idea or story of what they want to accomplish instead of actually following through with their plans. Furthermore, the passionate person gets nothing done because dreaming about what they want to achieve sets up false expectations for the journey they will have to embark on.
We see where we are right now and we dream of the end goal but we are not dreaming of the countless hours of working, mistakes, and learning it’s going to take to get there.
So instead of being passionate we must be systematic, that is to say we have to look at the data, feedback, and results of what we are doing and adjust our actions accordingly.
Golden Nugget #6 — Follow the Canvas Strategy
Many times while doing “grunt work” (like a minimum wage job or household chores) we think to ourselves “I’m too good for this” when we really don’t have a reason for believing that.
There is a lot of value to be gained from doing work for others for little recognition or money, Now I know this sounds absolutely insane but there is a reason Holiday says this…
When we do our so called crappy job, it’s like a testing ground for our skills, we only need to see it that way, we can easily meditate while we do menial tasks and build our concentration, we can test our conversational skills on our co-workers and customers or even on our boss (if we are feeling Machiavellian).
Additionally, later on in life when we let other people take all the credit for our ideas, you see that they will be eternally grateful to you and treat you with more respect because now they see the value in keeping on your good side, they’ll sing your praises and even defend you behind your back if anyone’s trash talking you, what’s even better is that you get to see your ideas tested with no risk on your part.
Lastly by giving away your ideas, you’re in a way controlling the other person’s path/destiny and making them dependent on you (use that however you like), and at the same time developing an abundance mindset that will continually give you greater and greater ideas because you’re not clutching on to any particular “golden” idea tightly.
Golden Nugget #7 — Restrain Yourself
Practicing restraint is extremely important because if you lash out at the wrong people or in the wrong place, you could effectively end your journey or make it very hard to continue it in a meaningful way.
When people demean you or try to halt your path, it is a reflection of themselves as they are probably stuck on their own journey or unhappy with their lot in life, it’s very likely that they aren’t at ease with themselves.
Practice restraint because it gives your willpower strength and it might save you when it matters most.
Golden Nugget #8 — Get Out of Your Head
In life many of us tend to act out situations in our head that will probably never happen, so we worry or we develop confidence over nothing.
Either way this holds us back tremendously by filling us with undue fear or accomplishment. The best thing to do is to live within the present because then we can focus all of our efforts on taking right action and learning valuable lessons.
Before reading this book I used to walk around all day in my head thinking of my great success *that didn’t exist* and not working on the things that needed to be worked on because it was much more fun to spend my time daydreaming about what I’d do with all the money I imagined myself having.
It doesn’t take psychologist to know that when your reality is the opposite of what you’re constantly thinking about then that’s a recipe for insanity (or at least deep depression in my case).
Which leads us to…
Golden Nugget #9 — The Danger of Early Pride
In relation to the last nugget, this one tells us how having pride before we’ve actually done anything dulls our minds.
By having too much pride we tend to take any form of accomplishment no matter how small and use it to validate our egos which causes us to lose our momentum because the ego now has what it wants and sees no need to continue working.
Instead of aiming to do things so we can brag, we should ask ourselves why we are doing something and how a humble person would go about doing it.
Golden Nugget #10 — Work, Work, Work
“You can’t build a reputation on something you’re going to do.”
Henry Ford said it best, work is the most important piece of the puzzle, without doing any work you’ll never get anywhere. we should strive to work as much as we can because that is the only way our dreams and goals will ever be realized.
Work is the way you walk the path on your journey of life, and so it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get past the challenges of things because we will keep working and we won’t stop working until our heart does first.
Originally published at http://forgefinancialfreedom.com on March 8, 2019.