Reflection on reading ‘Ego is the Enemy’

Overall impressions

For the last 3-4 days I’ve been reading the book and I’d like to jot down the thoughts that came up. They are not necessarily a summary of what is written in the book, but the points I learned, and other things I was reminded of as I kept on reading.

In this process, I also ended up watching a few YouTube videos from the author’s channel known as the ‘Daily Stoic’.

When I first started reading the book, a lot of emotions came up in me, mostly due to the confronting nature of the book.

As I read, I started realizing how many negative behaviors I’ve held onto without even fully realizing I was doing so. In the first 2 days I felt disappointed in my self and worried about the kind of person I’d become. But overtime, it has been developing into a more calm concern about what I will do next to change my perspective.

I think my growing depression played a role in the development of my negative attitude towards life’s situations but I won’t get into that right now.

Here’s some stuff I want to remember (Part 1):

1. Don’t talk. Just do. There’s a consistent pattern of people who talk about doing something, but somehow the act of talking sucks out their attention/motivation from actually doing the thing. There are authors who will make lots of social media posts but not be able to pick up the pen to start writing. So just don’t say you’ll do it at all.

Chapter: Talk, Talk, Talk

2. To be, or To do? Do you want the title of something, or do you want to actually do that something? Be honest. Not keeping this straight will cause problems when you’re at a crossroads and close to making things way more complicated than needed. But be very honest! Only doing can also mean you never get recognized for it. But if that’s what you choose to make any change, then better stick to it. There are many people who have significantly changed the world we live in today. Except we never hear about them. They still made change. So what is the main priority here?

3. Become and stay a very good student for life. Ties in with the first point. Shut up and listen to learn from others instead of resisting so much. Learn more by helping others whenever you can too. Remember that as one human being you can never know everything, or even have the exact same perspective. So read lots of different books to learn from the wealth of lessons from the past, and also allow others to teach you. Put that ego-driven guard down. You really don’t know everything.

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears”

Also, recall that Kobe Bryant used to study and refine his skills all the time. And he’d also reach out to others who he thought knew more than him to share their knowledge with him. This trait in present in a lot of people who seem to excel in their crafts.

4. Purpose not Passion. Have a quiet constant sense of personal purpose that drives you. Discipline naturally becomes a part of the process then. But the bursts of passion only last for so long. They fizzle out like foam over water. So have something more solid to rely on.

This was quite eye-opening for me. I was conflicted about why people kept debating between finding your passion vs. not relying on it. The latter felt like boring, joyless work that I don’t wish to imagine myself doing for the rest of my life. But the explanation of why passion isn’t the key was more helpful.

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  1. Am I being lazy?
  2. Am I being a good student?
  3. Am I listening to criticism or putting up mental walls to protect my ego?
  4. Am I helping others and making their path easier? Am I thinking from their perspective to see what their needs are first and how I can meet them? (helping others will give exposure to develop some skills too)
  5. Am I doing or just talking?
  6. Am I off course? Am I doing what I’m meant to be doing in my life? Do I remember my main life purpose?
  7. Am I admitting to my flaws and open to change despite the stakes? or am I prioritizing protecting my image (ego)?
  8. Am I riding on the wave of passion or doing what I need to do out of a sense of purpose?
  9. Do I remember my role on planet earth, on team humanity, in the grand scheme of things? grand scheme includes considering the past, present, and the future, as well as my role as a living being in the larger ecosystem of life.
  10. Am I allowing negative perspectives to override my ability to see the good in ‘bad’ situations? Am I having trouble practicing genuine gratitude? Why? Is my ego in the way?


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