Ego is the enemy — giving us wicked feedback, disconnected from reality. It’s defensive, precisely when we cannot afford to be defensive. It blocks us from improving by telling us that we don’t need to improve. Then we wonder why we don’t get the results we want, why others are better and why their success is more lasting.Ryan Holiday
The ego — the part of your brain that feels an offense, that holds a grudge for a wrongdoing — is your biggest obstacle to peace of mind, to growth, and to being a positive influence in the lives of those around you.
Continue reading Ego is the Enemy
“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”
~ Antonio Porchia
Memory is one of the most, if not the most, important capabilities of a human being; it allows us to learn, critically think, and find complex solutions to complex problems. Also, the ability to store personalized information that is read, heard, or experienced is consequently what makes us unique as individuals. Your memories, distinct from my own, are what you have used to develop the concepts that help you navigate the world: your ideas of friendship, of love, of family, of society, of work, are all derived from your experiences throughout life stored as memories. Memories provide guide-rails for the future, however how reliable are they?
Continue reading Brain Fog
“Rule your mind or it will rule you.”
Inner monologue is the verbal dialogue that runs (often amok) in one’s mind, and is in many ways reflective of one’s sense of self. Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions of the human psyche is the idea that you are your thoughts; I think the inner monologue is better characterized as some semi-autonomous entity which, whilst being able to wander independently in the absence of guidance, can be controlled, or at least reined, with adequate awareness and proper practice.
Continue reading In Conversation with the Self
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
~ Viktor E. Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning
I recently joined a book club, and the book for my first session was A Man’s Search for Meaning, a book I had purchased many months ago and never got around to. It is one that I knew I would enjoy given its psychological and existential themes, and it did not disappoint. I learned much from this short yet powerful book, and its relevance is everlasting.
Continue reading Book Review: A Man’s Search for Meaning
“A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence, it has no critical faculty.”
~ Sigmund Freud
One must be conscious of the contagious effect of the crowd: it influences our decision-making processes, our beliefs, and our daily lives in ways that go criminally unnoticed in modern day society. One must also acknowledge that while the individual experience is foremost and invaluable, one exists in a space and time that must be taken into account. Humans are essentially social beings: total retreat and abstinence from the crowd is not only impossible but detrimental. A balance must be struck, one that facilitates individual growth whilst reaping the benefits of community membership and the pleasures of conversation. From time to time, it is useful to retreat into solitude, using such a space to re-calibrate yourself and reflect on your current state of being. Eventually, however, one must inevitably return to the world, and take one’s place within it.
Continue reading The Contagion of the Crowd
“Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called ‘ego’.”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
The unrestrained ego is the biggest obstacle to achievement and peace of mind, the two things people most want in life. Not only is the unrestrained ego bigger than most obstacles one encounters in life, the unrestrained ego often creates obstacles that would not exist if one had control over it.
Continue reading The Horse and the Rider
“Do not judge or you too will be judged. In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
~ Matthew 7:1-2
It is impossible as a conscious being not to formulate opinions or to categorize independent of the influence of our own unique experiences and emotions. It is what makes us human and it is unavoidable. It is an essential tool of the human conscious which has served us well over time, allowing us to defend ourselves from predators and form groups of like-minded individuals, leading to synergistic progress.
Continue reading The Sisyphean Task
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
~ Winston Churchill
There is much to offer in reading the biographies of the great men and women of the world. History should be seen as a guide for the future; human beings, as much as we are unique, are quite similar and predictable in our actions and are therefore easily controlled. The human species has been able to flourish not simply because of our supreme cognitive abilities, but also because we are all essentially one in the same, allowing us to find common ground and understand the struggles of one another. The genetic make up of my own being is for the most part identical to that of your own; the difference genetically between individuals is estimated to be around 0.1%. This applies to other species as well; through our genetic lineage, we can see how it is possible that the behaviours exhibited in a chimpanzee are similar to that of our own. And in turn, there are innate traits that are present in each and every one of us.
Continue reading The Constitution of Greatness
“The individual has always had to struggle from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
~ Rudyard Kipling
When one is young, creative abilities are at an all time high. It is in our youth where our greatest ideas and motivations plant their roots. It should therefore be the ultimate goal of human nature to fertilize this; to not let it wither away with time. Societal structure promotes obedience, and in doing so promotes the death of creativity.
Continue reading The Quintessential Man