The ego is not the enemy is often portrayed to be.
Defined as a person’s sense of self-esteem, the ego has become a sort of villain in the personal development community, mostly by Ryan Holiday trying to sensationalize a rather complicated and often nuanced philosophy called stoicism.
Your ego is not your enemy. Your ego is not an excuse for being obnoxious, arrogant, or self-centered.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Charles Bukowski almost didn’t become the writer he had always dreamt of being. He worked in a post-office until his fifties, even though he tried and often failed to earn enough from his writing so he could quit his job.
Abraham Lincoln failed time and time again. He lost his bid for State Legislature when he was 23 years old. Six years later, he lost his bid to become Speaker in the Illinois House of Representatives.
In 1848, at the age of 39, Lincoln failed to become Commissioner of the General Land Office in D.C. Ten years later, he failed to become a U.S. Senator.
Rock bottom is never the end. It’s only the beginning.
“When this ultimate crisis comes… when there is no way out — that is the very moment when we explode from within and the totally other emerges: the sudden surfacing of a strength, a security of unknown origin, welling up from beyond reason, rational expectation, and hope.”
I remember watching one of Jim Rohn’s speeches. He was sharing with the audience the story of being 25, a college graduate, freshly married, and not being able to afford to pay the girl scouts who knocked at his door to sell him cookies.
There’s a fascinating story about the biblical King Solomon. It is said that he was searching for a cure against depression. He assembled his wise men together, which gave him the following advice: to craft himself a ring engraved with the words ‘This too will pass.’
“Every struggle is like mud — there are always some lotus seeds waiting to sprout.” ― Amit Ray
I am writing these words to you, who are struggling. I am writing these words to let you know that this is the moment when you want your dream to come true, but it doesn’t.
You gave it your best shot, but it didn’t happen.
And this dream of yours, it could be anything. Writing a book, starting a business, landing a new job, losing a few extra pounds, or finding your soulmate.
It’s what you want to be doing, what you know you should be doing, but you’re struggling. You want to throw in the towel.
Because it’s not working out. It’s all setbacks and restlessness and this pitch darkness when you think about the future. It’s no visible progress. It’s fear and anger and bitterness and envy, all mixed up together, all demons afraid of each other.
Maybe that’s not your thing, after all? Or are you paying your dues?
Are you wasting your time or are you on the way to success?
There’s a Japanese word that has become synonymous with continuous improvement.
It’s a term used to define small, daily improvements. The 1% daily improvement. The compounding effect of such improvements.
It’s a wonderful dream to aspire towards daily improvements. Most of your days should and can be about small, constant, improvement.
There are days when that’s just not possible.
Maybe it’s because of failure or setback, but I find it’s rarely the case. Mostly, it’s because of lack of success.
The daily failure.
Maybe your online store isn’t selling enough products, maybe your content isn’t consumed or appreciated.
It’s not the spectacular failure or rejection that breaks most people, but rather a constant lack of success, of something worthy of celebration.
During those days, the best thing you can do is to simply go through the motions. Yeah, I know you don’t feel like it. And I know you’re sure that nothing good will come of it, but the trick is to do whatever it takes to keep going.
That’s all it takes. If you don’t give up, that’s the kind of success you can be proud of, because that’s exactly when most people quit.
When you feel like throwing in the towel, imagine that almost everyone else but those you admire most quit.
Now, do you want to be like everyone else or do you want to be like those you admire?
“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” — Ambrose Redmon
I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote.
But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in — I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.
There’s this poem by a Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu. It’s called To My Critics, and the last verses go like this:
It is easy to write verses Out of nothing but the word.