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Ego Is The Enemy Book Notes

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I will start out by saying that, for the most part, I try really hard to apply humility to all areas of my life (family, work, church, friends, hunting, etc.). These efforts are a daily battle though, and this book helped me recognize several areas
  Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday Book Notes/Summary by Corey Jacobsen, These are the notes I took, and the quotes that stood out to me, as I read Ryan ’  s book, Ego Is the Enemy. I will start out by saying that, for the most part, I try really hard to apply humility to all areas of my life (family, work, church, friends, hunting, etc.). These efforts are a daily battle though, and this book helped me recognize several areas where I have slacked and need to do better. Each one of us has the ability to improve in this area, and we also have the ability to neglect the efforts needed to stay on top of ego and pride. One of the examples Ryan uses in the book was that our ego is like a floor. A floor needs to be swept continually, as dirt and dust are continually building up. We sweep one day, and we need to sweep it again the next day. Our egos are similar … .just because we do it once  –  or once in a while  –  doesn  t mean it stays clean forever. Ego (pride, arrogance, whatever you want to call it) is at the center of almost every detail of drama. From issues at work, in our marriage and family, and within our endeavors in hunting, ego works as a wedge to separate us from true happiness. When what we want becomes a greater desire than what we want for those around us, ego has become the enemy. I first listened to the audiobook of Ego Is the Enemy on Audible on a roadtrip a month or two ago. About halfway through the audiobook, I found myself thinking about all the people I knew who struggled with ego, and assessing how ego was causing them to act in certain ways. It was like an alder branch slapping me alongside my face as I realized it was ego in me that was causing me to focus on the weaknesses and shortcomings of others. I listened to the rest of the audiobook with more of an open mind on how I needed to work on my own ego. Then, a few weeks later, I ordered the hardcopy of the book and read it again, this time focusing on what I could apply to my own ego. It was life-changing. I took notes, and highlighted multiple pages in the book as I read it for the second time. I hope these book notes and quotes will resonate with you in a way that will pique your interest and inspire you to evaluate how ego is affecting you in your life. If you feel so inclined, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the book or listening to the audiobook as well. In no way am I affiliated with the book or with Ryan Holiday  –  I am just simply passing along a resource that I feel has been a great help to me in my life. My notes are written in standard font, and quotes from the book are italicized   ( and sometimes bold if they really stood out to me ). Book Notes and Quotes from Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday   After the Intro, the book is broken into 3 sections: Aspire, Success, Failure. In all that we do, we are either aspiring to do (or become) something, achieving success, or going through some challenge, trial, or failure. In all three aspects, Ego is the Enemy! Ryan categorizes these three aspects as: ambition, achievement, and adversity … In short, this book will help us be: humble in our aspirations, gracious in our success, and resilient in our failures. If you struggle with ego  –  or any of the associated symptoms of ego and pride  –  you need to read this book. If ou dot struggle ith ego, ou eed to read this ook tie…   Once to recognize how ego affects all of us,  and then again to see what you can do to make needed changes to reduce ego in your life …   ( see quote #4 & #5 below  ) Sometimes, we don  t even recognize what ego is or how it might be affecting us. Ryan defines ego by saying,   The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition, an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition. That's the definition this book will use. It's that petulant child inside every person, the one that chooses getting his or her way over anything or anyone else. The need to be better than, more than, recognized for, far past any reasonable utility - that's ego. It's the se se of supeioit ad etait that eeeds the ouds of ofidee ad talet.    One of the comments he makes on ego really resonated with me:   Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. It's the difference between potent and poisonous.     Introduction Ego is the   type of storytelling in which eventually your talent becomes your identity and your accomplishments become your worth.    To be successful: Goals must be put  –  and kept  –  higher than a desire for recognition. If you are wanting to  be   something or somebody, ego is setting your course. If you are wanting to  do   something, you will be far more successful and far better able to keep ego at bay. Plus, by  doing   something, you will naturally  become   someone. The opposite is not true …     While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive, visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I found that if you go looking you'll find that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognit  io.    QUOTE #4  -   Perhaps you've always thought of yourself as a pretty balanced person. But for people with ambitions, talents, drives, and potential to fulfill, ego comes with the territory. Precisely what makes us so promising as thinkers, doers, creative and entrepreneurs, what drives us to the top of those fields, makes us vulnerable to this darker side of the psyche.     QUOTE #5  -   We think something else is to blame for our problems, most often, other people. We are, as the poet Lucretius put it a few thousand years ago, the proverbial "sick man ignorant of the cause of his malady." Especially for successful people who can't see what ego prevents them from doing because all they can see is what they've already done.     Aspire As I read the book, I think I felt the most resonation with this section. Even if we are successful  –  or we are failing  –  I think we are all still aspiring and working towards something greater. Because of that, I feel that the info in this section applies to the other sections as well. Ryan mentions that as we are working toward a goal, it is   Poise, Not Pose    that will get us there. United States military officer William Sherman, during the Civil War, was a great man.   One of Sherman's biographers summarized the man in this way: "among men who rise to fame in leadership two types are recognizable, those who are born with a believe in themselves and those in whom it is a slow growth dependent on actual achievement. To the man of the last type their own success is a  constant surprise, and it's fruits the more delicious, yet to be tested cautiously with the hunting sense of doubt whether it is not all a dream. In that out lies true modesty, not the shim of insincere self-depreciation, but the modesty of "moderation", in the Greek sense. It is poise, not pose."      I mentioned it in the Intro section, but it is far more important  –  and effective  –  to focus on doing something rather than trying to be something. Ryan said, To e or to do –   life is a constant roll all.      It's about the doing, not the recognition. In this course, it is not "who do I want to be in life?", But "what is it that I want to accomplish in life?"      Ryan uses several real-life examples of people who have succeeded by keeping Ego at bay, as well as several real-life examples of people who have crashed and burned due to their egos. One of my favorite stories he shared was of the lead-guitarist for the band Metallica, Kirk Hammett. (I blame Dirk for introducing me to Metallica back in high school) …  In a nutshell, Kirk Hammett had only been playing guitar for a few years (he was 19). The previous guitarist for Metallica, Dave Mustaine, was fired by the band, and they called Hammett to see if he wanted to come audition. He sold a few items to be able to afford the plane ticket from California to New York, and was hired on the spot. It would be easy to sit back and think,  I  ve arrived   in this situation, but Kirk knew better. He signed up for guitar lessons from legendary guitar teacher, Joe Satriani. "That was the point –   Kirk wanted to learn what he didn't know, to firm up his understanding of the  fundamentals so that he might continue exploring this new genre of music you know had a chance to  pursue."   In other words, despite joining his dream group and quite literally turning professional, Kirk insisted that he needed more instruction –   that he was still a student.       The power of being a student is not just that it is an extended period of instruction, it also places the ego and ambition in someone else's hands.       The pretense of knowledge is our most dangerous place, because it prevents us from getting any better.     I love that last quote … .I think we sometimes feel like we know  enough   and stop yearning to learn more. To be truly successful, we must remain forever a student! You aot get ette if ou’e oied ou ae the est.    Frank Shamrock, the great UFC fighter, has a system he uses for training new fighters. He calls it the  plus, minus, equal   system. He said,   Each fighter, to become great, needs to have someone better that they can learn from, someone lesser they can teach, and someone equal that they can challenge thems elves agaist.      You will not find the answers if you're too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you're convinced you are the best.     Similar to the concept of  doing   rather than  being  , Ryan points out the importance of doing things with PURPOSE, not PASSION.   Purpose de-emphasizes the I. Purpose is about pursuing something outside yourself as opposed to  pleasuring yourself.    (self-promotion, recognition, etc.)    Passion is seen in those who can tell you in great detail who they intend to become and what their success will be like. They can tell you all the things they're going to do, or have even begun, but they cannot show you the progress. Because there rarely is any.       The world tells us to keep and promote a "personal brand." We are required to tell stories in order to sell our work and our talents, and after enough time, we forget where the line is that separates our  fictions from reality.       In reality, there's no one to perform for. There is just work to be done.     Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you are the least important person in the room  –  until you change that with results. I remember loving Michael Jordan while I was growing up. I even had the opportunity to watch him play. It always amazed me how detailed and diligent he was. He was the greatest basketball player of all time (in my humble opinion), yet he always practiced with intense focus and attention to details. When he came out of retirement, he was 40+ years old, and playing with and against some amazing talent that was half his age. Yet in pre-game warm-ups and in practice, he did all the small things. He ran all the way out to the free throw line during drills and reached down and touched the line before sprinting back to the baseline. The other players would walk out and look down at the line, then jog lazily over to the baseline. His attention to details and his amazing work ethics are what propelled him to be the best. He was 40+ years old … .he was already recognized as the best. Yet he continued to do what made him great in the first place, and never lost sight of what that was  –  hard work! Fake it til ou ake it…DOE“NT WO‘K!!!!     There is the popular quote, fake it till you make it. When it is difficult to tell a real producer from an adept self-promoter, of course some people will roll the dice and managed to play the confidence game. Rather, make it so you don't have to fake it –   that's the key.       If you were doing the work and putting in the time, you won't need to cheat, you won't need to overcompensate.       Bill Walsh was the coach of the San Francisco 49ers in the early 80s. They were two and 14 the season before he took over. He implemented what he called his "standard of performance". Basically what should be done, when, and how. Things like no sitting down on the practice field, coaches had to wear a tie and took their shirts in, everyone had to give maximum effort and commitment, the locker room was kept neat and clean, no smoking, no fighting no profanity, passing routes were monitored and graded down to the inch, practices were scheduled to the minute. It would be a mistake to think this was about control. It was about instilling excellence. The seemingly simple but exacting standards mattered more than some grand vision or power trip. In his eyes, if the players take care of the details, "the score takes care of itself." The winning would happen.     Lastly, there is the jealousy we sometimes feel as we see others trying to achieve success. Maybe they are hollow self-promoters who are trying to be something without trying to do something. Maybe they are trying to get attention for something they feel they are good at. Regardless of what others are doing, it  s important to realize that their efforts are not going to affect the outcome of your efforts. Even if they are direct competitors. You just go and  do   what it is you are striving to do, and don  t focus on what others are doing. Set your goals, create a plan to achieve those goals, then work. When we continually look back to see what everyone else is doing or saying, it distracts us and takes our focus off what we need to be accomplishing.  A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.    –  C. S. Lewis  In the podcast with Brian and Jordan, we mentioned the  Crab Analogy   that we see so often in the world today (and even unfortunately, amongst fellow hunters). If you place a single crab in a bucket, the crab has the ability to climb out. So, in order to keep the crab in the bucket, it  s necessary to place a second crab in there with him. As one crab begins to attempt to climb up out of the bucket, the other crab will reach up and pull it back down, preventing it from ever climbing out. Pulling those around us down in NOT the way to get to the top.   Vai e ee hea athig ut paise.      Ego –   it feels good. So much better than those feelings of doubt and fear and Normalness. And so we stay stuck inside our heads instead of participating in the world around us. That's ego, baby.     Success   Here you are at the pinnacle. What have you found? Just how tough and tricky it is to manage. You thought it would get easier when you arrive to; instead, it's even harder –   a different animal entirely. What you found is that you must manage yourself in order to maintain your success.     Success often rigs ego…ad oe ego gets used to eig stroked, it a e alost ipossile to satiate. Don  t confuse ego with confidence in this state (or any other state). Confidence is OK, and necessary. But when our attitude exceeds the bounds of confidence  –  which can be a very thin line  –  ego takes control. Ego eeds hoos i ode to e alidated. Cofidee, o the othe had, is ale to ait ad fou s on the task at hand regardless of external recognition. Let's make one thing clear: we never earn the right to be greedy or to pursue our interests at the expense of everyone else. To think otherwise is not ol egotistial, it's outepodutie.    Ther e is o arrial… going back to my example of Michael Jordan, no matter where you are in the process, hard work is the only thing that will keep you there AND keep you moving forward.   Instead of pretending that we are living some great story, we must remain focused on the execution –   and on executing with excellence. We must shun the false crown and continue working on what got us here. Because that is the only thing that will keep us here.     “uess is ot i eig soethig or ahieig soethig….its i fidig otetet…     That's how it seems to go: we are never happy with what we have, we want what others have too. We want to have more than everyone else. We start out knowing what is important to us, but once we've achieved it, we lose sight of our priorities. Ego sways us, and can ruin us.       Napoleon said, "man of great ambition have sought happiness, and have found fame." What he means is that behind every goal is the drive to be happy and fulfilled –   but when egotism takes hold, we lose track of our goal and end up somewhere we never intended.     Success cannot be tied to what you think others want you to do or become. Think about what you want to achieve, and what will make you happy. Then, go do it.   So, why do you do what you do? That's the question you need to answer. Stare at it until you can. Only then will you understand what matters and what doesn't. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of the stupid races that don't matter, or even exist. Only then is it easy to ignore successful people, because most of the time they aren't –   at least relative to you, and often even to themselves. Only the a ou deelop that uiet ofidee.      It doesn't make you a bad person to want to be remembered. To want to make it to the top. To  provide for yourself and your family. After all, that's all part of the allure. There is a balance. Soccer
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