Reflections on Ego

There is no doubt that the biggest obstacle to achieving success in organizations is ego. All the training and coaching in the world will be rendered ineffective when ego gets in the way. Ego is the Enemy, presents us with a thorough discussion of ego – what it means and how it can destroy lives and careers.

Some thought-provoking excerpts from this must-read book:

  • “Ego inhibits true success by preventing a direct and honest connection to the world around us”.
  • “Whatever we seek to do in life, reality soon intrudes on our youthful idealism. This reality comes in many names and forms: incentives, commitments, recognition and politics. In every case, they can quickly redirect us from doing to being. From earning to pretending. Ego aids in that deception every step of the way”.
  • “Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room – until you change that with results”.
  • “When you want to do something – something big and important and meaningful – you will be subjected to treatment ranging from indifference to outright sabotage. Count on it. In this scenario, ego is the absolute opposite of what is needed”.
  • “We stay stuck inside our heads instead of participating in the world around us. That’s ego, baby. What successful people due is curb such flights of fancy. They ignore the temptations that might make them feel important or skew their perspective”.
  • “Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind. Our ability to learn, to adapt, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pride”.
  • “Who wants to look at themselves and their work and find that it does not measure up? And so here we might bluster our way through. Cover up hard truths with sheer force of personality and drive and passion. Or, we can face our shortcomings honestly and put the time in. We can let this humble us, see clearly where we are talented and where we need to improve and then put in the work to bridge the gap. And we can set upon positive habits that will last a lifetime”.
  • “As success arrives, like it does for a team that has just won a championship, ego begins to toy with our minds and weaken the will that made us win in the first place”.
  • “It takes a special kind of humility to grasp that you know less, even as you know and grasp more and more”.
  • “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”.
  • “With success, particularly power, comes some of the greatest and most dangerous delusions: entitlement, control and paranoia”.
  • “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”.
  • “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”.
  • “You could say that failure always arrives uninvited, but through our ego, far too many of us allow it to stick around”.
  • “Ego, like any drug, might be indulged at first in a misguided attempt to get an edge or to take one off. The problem is how quickly is becomes an end unto itself”.

Don’t let ego get in the way of your success. A good start is to get a copy of Holiday’s book, read it and, even more importantly, apply its lessons.

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