October Read: Ego Is The Enemy

Two weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on the book “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss. Thinking and writing about it boosts stronger recall and I’m sure if I didn’t write them down, I would have forgotten about most of them, however appealing they were at the time of reading.

Today, I’m going to share about another book called “Ego Is The Enemy” by Ryan Holiday.

Ego is inside everyone of us. The degree of how much ego we display varies. In this book, Ryan Holiday shares about how ego obstructs us to learn new things, blinds us to the reality, and prevents us from absorbing feedback. It makes us make poor decision because the basis for evaluation is not rationale,

But you’re not able to change the system until after you’ve made it.
It reminds me of another phrase I read about in the newspaper: Champions learn the rules and then they change it. You cannot effect change as a newcomer without any credentials. No matter how talented you are or how great the solution you proposed is, you have to prove yourself before people are going to take you seriously. As the author puts it “Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room—until you change that with results.”

Think about this the next time you face that choice: Do I need this? Or is it really about ego? Are you ready to make the right decision?
I’m often at this crossroad, struggling to make the right decision. I’ve made many poor judgement calls as I seek to satisfy my ego over long-term goals. It’s a shame because doing that leads me astray from my dream.

Even the tallest mountains have animals that, when they stand on it, are taller.
No one is the best, at least not forever. There will be someone or something that’s faster, cheaper, and better. Complacency sets in when we think we are better than others.

Another executive described his management style as “chasing colored balloons”—he was constantly distracted and abandoning one project for another.
Always chasing after the shiny new thing. We can do anything, but not everything. In this age where we have access to virtually every bit of information, it’s even more important to double down on what we set out originally to do, and not be derailed off track by other seemingly glittering path.

“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.”
Success is doing our best. We don’t have to measure against others. When the work is done, ask ourselves “Am I proud of this work? Is there something I can take pride in?”.

In the Internet age, we call this 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.)
The best way to handle untrue rumour is to let it die down by itself. You’ve seen it before, the more the accused tried to defend himself, he dig a deeper hole. Though it’s probably wiser not to take a stand to clarify your innocence, because it will only add fan to the fire.

Let the others slap each other on the back while you’re back in the lab or the gym or pounding the pavement.
Get the head down and work hard. Success never comes overnight and even if miraculously it does, you still need to put in a good shift to sustain it. Don’t worry about other’s progress because they are at different stages. Instead, focus on putting one foot ahead of the other.

Like the previous book I’ve read, this book is also filled with tons of helpful information on why keeping our ego in check is important. So folks, stay grounded and humble.

Ego Is The Enemy is available through Amazon.