Goals and Success Motivation

Why ego is your worst enemy

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Your ego is one of the main things why you are not growing as a person. We also have this feeling of superiority towards the others that is innate to each one of us.

Our ego is also a source of conflict for some of our relationship, we feel that our importance should be validated by how other people treat us and when people doesn’t meet the standard that we set for ourselves (which in this case our Ego) that’s the time that we felt like people are undermining us or invalidating us.

I realized that the ego of each person plays a significantly role on how we can quickly grow as a person. The more you see yourself superior the more barrier it creates for us to learn something from other people and that’s also where arrogance started to creeps in.

Admitting that you need some help and there is more stuff for your to learn and understand is the initial step for us to discover something. However, our ego avoid this kind of attitude, our ego always have this assumption that “we are better than everyone”. This hinders our personal growth and success in life.

Now, let’s understand what does Ego really means.


A quote from Ryan Holiday best explain what EGO is:

“The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition: an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition… 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 sense of superiority and certainty that exceeds the bounds of confidence and talent.”

I would say that this is our self-centeredness, we often see ourselves as superior to other people. This is not something about just being confident but more so on the aspect of self-importance over the other people.

Ego leads you to presume that you “deserve” an inevitable outcome, an employment opportunity, a raise, a sporting victory, etc., because of your previous actions. This generates an attitude of superiority. If you let your ego take quite enough influence of yourself, you would become extremely dependent on foreign reassurance. Your ego desires and needs this external assurance to allow you to feel comfortable.


1. Keeps you out of touch with reality

Your ego makes you over-estimate your own abilities and worth, and because of this you often under-estimate the required effort for you to do something. You are being blinded by the your own abilities that you missed the opportunities where you can improve and grow.

You are missing-out the reality that you have some weakness that you can improve, and just focusing too much on “what you think” is your strength.

2. Creates unrealistic expectations and entitlement

Ego often think that you always “deserve” the best outcome – a job opportunity, favorable result, promotion which sets you with too much expectations. Your ego feeds your entitlement that you have to be given with what you always think that you deserve.

This often leads to either massive disappointment or dimes other people. you can’t see the value of others as you always focus on what you should have.

3. Makes you dependent on external validation

As quoted from Ryan Holiday’s book – Ego is the enemy;

“Ego needs honors in order to be validated. Confidence, on the other hand, is able to wait and focus on the task at hand regardless of external recognition… [With ego], we need to be recognized. We need to be compensated. Especially problematic is the fact that, often, we get that. We are praised, we are paid, and we start to assume that the two things always go together. The ‘expectation hangover’ inevitably ensues.”

Ego often requires validation, there should be something that should feed this ego. You often seek what will verify your self-importance. You may not noticed it but your ego should be fed with the praises, compliments, recognition and attention of others.

And without these external validation, you won’t be able to value your self-importance.


1. Live with purpose Not Passion

“The critical work that you want to do will require your deliberation and consideration. Leave passion for the amateurs. Make it about what you feel you must do and say, not what you care about and wish to be.” – Ego is the enemy, Ryan Holiday

Most people aren’t living on purpose. They wander around life distracted, looking for the next form of gratification, wondering why they aren’t happy and why they don’t get what they want. They drive to a job they hate to pay for a car that brings them to that job, which also pays for a house they abandon during the day to go to that job. The ego loves the comfort a “secure” job has, but purpose, as well as the best things, happen outside of your comfort zone.

On the other hand, those people who are able to determine what their purpose in their life, who they really are, what they really want are those who succeed in this journey of life.

Let us not be driven by just our passion or those that are comfortable for us, we should be driven by our higher purpose. Our ego wants as to always stay at our comfort zone and don’t want us to grow.

Face all the odds and let your greater purpose drive your life. You will see how different it is to live with a purpose and take action on what you must do instead of just staying in what is comfortable, which is what your ego wants you to always stay.

2. Be a student

“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. A real student is also his own teacher and his own critic. There is no room for ego there.” – Ego is the enemy, Ryan Holiday

When you start seeing yourself as a student, you become like sponge who absorbs information and learning something new. The worst thing that we can do to ourselves is listen to our ego that we already know everything.

To become the best you can be, and to maintain that greatness you need to have a student mindset. You need to always be learning. Everything in life has something to teach you, but ego gets in the way of opportunities you have had or will have. The ego tells you that you shouldn’t do an internship because you are overqualified for it.

The ego doesn’t want to do the grunt work because it thinks it’s too good for that. People living with purpose look past this, and they focus on what is important, believing in what they need to do. Appreciate the opportunity. Take the internship and be a student of life.

3. Talk and think less; do more

“You know that all things require work and that work might be quite difficult. But do you really understand? Do you have any idea just how much work there is going to be? Not work until you get your big break, not work until you make a name for yourself, but work, work, work, forever and ever.”– Ego is the enemy, Ryan Holiday

When you begin to live with purpose instead of passion your ego will begin to lessen, and you will gain the quiet confidence the philosopher Seneca referred to as Euthymia: having a sense of your own path and not getting distracted by externals.

We have to let our ego go and just do the necessary actions. Our ego often times hinders us from taking action. All things requires hard work and you can never attain it, if you just let your ego rule your life.

Just focus on what needs to be done, we often talk too much on what we want and think of all the ideas but never took an action. All greatest ideas will be in vain if there is no execution. Take action more than thinking and speaking.

Final Thoughts

Let go of your ego and start thinking about your purpose, take action and don’t let external factor hinders you from doing your higher purpose. The more you let your ego control your life, the more you will feel stuck. Learn to let go of yourself and see life on a different perspective.

It is not the people that you should be afraid of but your own self. Your ego always keeps you from achieving what you wanted in life. The moment you let go of it, is the exact moment that you will start to grow as a person.

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