Take that Freud


It\’s not your mind. It’s that formless voice in our head wanting to form a grand narrative about our importance or a reason why we shouldn’t do something. It has single-handedly caused wars between countries, households, and ourselves.  Freud inspired the western world to call this entity the “ego”, the Latin word for \”I\”.  

Everyone has this “ego\” thing and Ryan Holiday makes the powerful case to check it as much as possible. Like his mentor Robert Greene, Holiday uses a diverse and interesting collection of stories to show how to manage the ego when you aspiring, succeeding, or failing. He extracts lessons from entire lives and day-long experiences—from everyone Angela Merkel to Bo Jackson. It’s a great book that everyone can take something away from. Here are some of my notes.

Must learn to be humble in our aspirations, gracious in our success, and resilient in our failures


Arrogance,fantasy, and vision inhibit growth

Practice seeing yourself with distance, detach

Don\’t be infatuated with your own work.

Thing big but act and live small

Be action and education focused, forgo validation and status

Talking and action fight for the same resources.

Stop seeking recognition before action

What is rare? Silence. Keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation.

Passion vs. purpose

    • Your passion may be the very thing holding you back from power or influence or accomplishment.
    • Passion- unbridled enthusiasm, the bundle of energy that our teachers and gurus have assured us is our most important asset. It is that burning, unquenchable desire to start or to achieve some vague ambiguous and distant goal.
    • Passion usually masks a weakness. Its breathlessness and impetuousness and franticness are poor substitutes for discipline, for mastery, for strength and purpose and perseverance. You need to be able to spot this in others and yourself because while the origins of passion may be earnest and good, its effects are comical and then monstrous.
    • Purpose is passion with boundaries with realism, detachment and perspective. 

    • Great passions are maladies without hope”-Goethe

Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you. The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound. You\’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road.

\”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

Always stay a student.

Failures only ruin you if they ruin your character.

Find canvasses for other people to paint on

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