BB2ME #14 — Make sure you are friends with your ego

Image for post
Image for post

I punched the numbers into the calculator. Awesome. The total showed that I was going to make more money that year than I ever had in my life.

It was summertime 2018. My annual bonus was bigger than normal.

I was pleased with the situation and relieved that money would not be tight. Work was going well. I was finally reaping the rewards after many years of toil.

I felt proud, and a little scared at the same time. Ego is the enemy.

Like many people, I work hard. I am competent at my job. I like my profession and enjoy a reasonable amount of success.

I used to think that my success resulted mainly from my own efforts. The harder I worked the more success I experienced.

Over time my ego became a problem.

The reality is that success can go to your head if you are not careful.

Image for post
Image for post

A few years ago I read the book Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. It is excellent. One of the best I read in the past decade.

In the book, Ryan describes various ways that your ego can be a problem. He provides pertinent examples throughout.

I reread the book in 2018 as a reminder to myself that my ego is the enemy. I wrote this billboard to remember that I needed to proceed with caution.

My inner confidence is more important than monetary rewards.

Image for post
Image for post
An excellent book about your Ego

The book is broken into three major sections — aspire, success, and failure. Each section contains multiple chapters full of important lessons.

Too many to share here. Instead, I am going to highlight three points Ryan makes in the first section of the book to whet your appetite.

Hopefully, you will be inspired to read all of it. It is definitely worth the investment of time.

One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible. And certainly, ego makes it difficult every step of the way.

Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

It is difficult to see your own flaws. We look in the mirror and see what we want to see. The older you get the harder it is to recognize your own flaws.

You may miss the things that are keeping you from being your best.

I know this point is true because I fall into this trap all the time.

Many of us do. Try to avoid this mistake.

Ego is the enemy.

It’s a temptation that exists for everyone — for talk and hype to replace action.

Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

Years ago I signed up for a marathon. I told my friends all about it. I finished my inaugural race with a respectable time but had not trained properly.

My second marathon was going to be different. I would train properly and finish faster. I explained my new approach to any of my friends who were willing to listen.

In my head, it was different because that is what I told myself, and others.

I started to believe my own story.

Image for post
Image for post
I can tell how well I trained by my finish times.

The reality is that I did not train differently. I skipped many of the long runs.

Guess what happened — I finished with almost exactly the same time as before. I blamed the weather which was a lame excuse.

I should have done less talking and more running.

Classic mistake. Nowadays, I am better at avoiding this pitfall.

I try to talk less and do more. You should do the same.

Ego is the enemy.

A true student is like a sponge. Absorbing what goes on around him, filtering it, latching on to what he can hold. A student is self-critical and self-motivated always trying to improve his understanding so that he can move on to the next topic, the next challenge

Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

It is easy at my age to think that I know it all. The older I get the more I realize how little I know.

The funny thing is that when I was your age I thought that I knew all I needed to know. Don’t be like I was.

Rather always be a student and keep growing more wisdom. You will be amazed at how quickly you can gain knowledge, especially nowadays.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you know it all. Never stop learning.

Ego is the enemy.

Book Case
Book Case
My old bookcase — much larger than my current one.

Re-reading Ego is the Enemy made me re-think many parts of my life.

Was I being honest with myself?

Was I talking too much and not doing enough?

Was I learning new things that would help me grow?

The answer to all three questions was no. I decided to address all three issues over the coming years. The last thing I want is for my ego to become my enemy. I want to be friends with my ego.

How are you dealing with your ego?

Are you friends with it, or is it your enemy?

If you have not read this book, I recommend that you do. I am planning to read it again this year. Another measure to hold myself accountable, and keep my ego in check. Ego is the enemy.

You are not quite as good as you think you are, but you are better than others realize


I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it

Leader and learner. Father of two young men. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store