Ego is what makes us look to the top, Is what makes us want to become good at something in a superficial way.
"I want to become the best guitar player", "I want to be a famous actor", "I want to be a millionaire". Okay, but why do you want that?
Sometimes, these aspirations are nothing but only a desire to be noticed, seen as somebody important, to feel validated and to have status.
Ego makes us dependable on external opinions, making us waste our time doing things that we actually don't like instead doing things we like but are seen as weird or different. We forgot about our self motivations, our principles and our own identity. This way, ego drives us away from our true purpose in life. This is what keeps you in that boring job you hate but pays good.
On the other hand, there are many examples of minds that achieved the top of their field not by the sake of being there, but for their true pursue of purpose in life. Do you want a good example? look for Angela Merkel's story.
One of the biggest dangers of ego is that it makes us think that we are better than what we really are and sometimes it makes us stay stuck in some phase of our craft because we are already "amazing".
Ego makes us want grown fast, we want to be young and seen as early geniuses, the entertainment industry loves to create this image of prodigies that sometimes are just a result of an enourmous investment of money and pressure.
It also makes us spent an unreasonable amount of time in specific areas of our lives forgetting about the others.
How many artists died early because they were so focused on the art and forgot about their health? How many celebrities lost their minds after achieving fame and having nothing else to do? No friends, no family, nothing. That way, ego makes our life unbalanced.
The absence of ego in our lives makes us see the process over the outcome, so we enjoy the ride and slowly, we grow.
Detachment is a good tool against the ego, being able to see you through an external point of view, but not from somebody else's point of view, doing so is not different from external validation.
You need to have an external you, neutral, without biases and opinions that differ from your own true beliefs. We must focus on our own education over validation and status.
So... my main takeaways from this book are:
- Be honest with yourself and stop doing things that you know you don't like just to impress people.
- Don't compare yourself with others, you only need to be better than the you form yesterday.
- Listen to people's opinions, access them trough a detached perspective. Sometimes they are right.
This way, success happens as a very delightful surprise, step by step, without even realizing you are already harvesting the fruits of it.