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August 14, 2017

Ego is the Enemy: An Overview

“To be egoless one must withstand repeated attacks of success” – Ryan Holiday

If you think you are safe from the silent darkness of ego, the book’s rich stories of powerful leaders who have fallen at their own hand may shift your perspective. Whether subjecting yourself to the Greek tragedy, or minor displays of ego driven behavior, understand that it comes with being human and affects everyone. Ego is the salve we all crave that soothes the fear and insecurity.  Following is an action overview of the book Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. The book caught my attention after reading that when Pete Carroll asked Bill Belichick what recent great steps he has taken to improve his team, Bill sent him a copy of this book.


Here are the top 10 steps to manage your ego:

1: Be fact driven. Suffocating egos with facts and hard data is effective.  Warning: one must develop great intestinal fortitude to become effective at this step. Ignorance is bliss behind rose colored glasses.

2: Pursue regular self-evaluation with detachment. The reason 360 Degree reviews are so effective. With detachment is key.

3: Embrace continuous improvement. The first step in learning is admitting there is much you don’t know, further being concerned that what you think you know, might be wrong.

4: Avoid passion, focus on purpose. Passion is unbridled enthusiasm and a form of mental retardation, deliberately blunting our most cognitive functions. Purpose is like passion with boundaries.

5: What is your purpose? What are you here to do? Answer these questions every day.

6: Create a grand purpose that is larger than you. Now your standards of achievement have become more difficult and easier at the same time. Might be my favorite point of the book.

7: Stay present with decisive action. A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except their thoughts losing touch with reality. Idle action allows depression and anxiety to set in, both of which are merely our egos at work.

8: Do not talk or write about your potential success. It saps your energy away from taking action. Silence is the respite for the confident and strong. The only relationship between work and chatter is one destroys the other. “Those who know do not speak, those who speak do not know.” Lao Tzu.

9: How do your Performance Standards rate? Compare yourself or business model to industry peers. Best way to fool yourself is to stay in your bubble.

10: Have a mentor to look up to, peer to compete with and someone you are mentoring. Many do this at work where personal economic rewards are the goal. Challenge yourself to also achieve this in an environment absent of economic motives.  Might be the most powerful words I took out of the book. A clear path into the most powerful universal energy.


“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” 
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

To your measured success and resiliency through failure!  -Tony

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