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.
“Most of the challenges that we have in our personal lives come from a short-term focus”
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these studies, a child had to choose between receiving a small reward immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, during which the tester left the room and then returned.
Ah, your twenties. A decade of marvelous growth, decadent spending, and quite a few heartbreaks. Just like the 1920s.
That’s when you figure out a lot about life. What your teachers didn’t want to tell you, didn’t like to tell you, or didn’t know enough about to tell you.
That’s when you’ll probably fall in and out of love with life, with your soulmate, with your passion. That’s when you will get your heart broken, and when you should fail at something you were passionate about.
“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-years old, Lincoln failed to become Commissioner of the General Land Office in D.C. Ten years later, he failed to become a U.S. Senator.
Colonel Harland Sanders is another famous failure. It was not until he was 65 years old, with just $105 to his name, that he set out to sell his franchise. He was rejected by 1,009 restaurants before one agreed to his business model.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers
Every night is a dark night of the soul; fear and loathing overwhelm you whenever you stare in a mirror or think about your actions. You fail at everything you do. You struggle with low self-esteem, high-functioning depression, and social anxiety.
How do you change that?
Because you’re not going to change by spending all the time wishing you didn’t feel like that; you’re not going to change by writing down a bunch of positive affirmations and reading them aloud in front of the mirror every morning.
The paradox of changing oneself is that the more you want to change a negative trait you have, the more you become it.
When it comes to getting what we want, desire is an important element. Set a goal, go all in, and achieve it. The beach body, the business, or the book you want to write, all require that you genuinely want to do them.
But when it comes to changing the inner reality of who we are, it doesn’t work that way.