Ego is the Enemy

Posted by on October 30, 2019 · 2 mins read

The author of Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday, believes that a person’s ego manifests itself in all parts of life, deterring people from their long term greatness and potential. The main parts of life he discusses include ambition, success, and failure – all of which ego can take a part of. He argues that ego is the force that brings everyone into a failing mode and a person with a high ego will always end up failing in the long run.

Holiday doesn’t describe ego as a subconscious act in the way that Freud thinks about ego; instead he describes ego as something more practical that always requires maintenance. To Holiday, ego is an unhealthy belief in your own importance, inflating your own abilities with reality. Ego often shows up when ambitious people crave power and often want that power in the shortest time possible. One symptom of a high ego is bluffing, enabling a person to claim they are better than they truly are. In the short term, an egoist will often look good, but over the long term, when things become clear that knowledge isn’t there, they will fail.

The book describes many stories and parables about how ego can cause failure, but doesn’t go into great detail on a generic solution for a rising ego. Given Holiday’s definitions, stories, and parables, I believe that a person can consistently shut down ego by exaggerating their humbleness. Acting humble in all situations forces a person to always continue learning and simultaneously underpromises for all commitments. Under these situations, actions will take a longer time to show true capability, but when it becomes clear that the person is knowledgable ego gets squashed and success continues. Everything aside, wouldn’t you rather know things instead of just claim to know things anyway?

When building teams for business, one value is required of your company: humbleness.