One of the best books I’ve read this year is “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday. It talks about the treacherous nature of the ego. One of the chapters I loved is “To Be or to Do”.
Such a simple question with so many philosophical, existential and practical meanings. To put it simply, ask yourselves, ‘Do I want to be a somebody, or do I want to do something different, perhaps more meaningful?’
Sometimes these two go hand-in-hand, often they do not.
How to strive to DO more rather than BE more:
- Stop bragging to yourself and to others before doing any meaningful work. Often we talk about our goals. I’m going to do this, I want to achieve that. The result of this is a short term feed to our ego and a puffing up of our image to others. However, with no real work to support our claims, they end up being dangerously inflating words.
- “Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive”. Ryan Holiday can not put it simpler for us to grasp and utilize this idea. The definition of being truly impressive is yours to unfold but it boils down to putting in the work, hours and possible pain to do something truly impressive.
- Change your perspective when you set a goal. Instead of thinking about what status this goal will give you, focus on the value, meaning and lessons it will provide for you.
There comes a point in life where we must decide if we will strive to be somebody important, or if we will work to do something important.
Inevitably, you will be someone if you did something meaningful, but the whole idea is to avoid feeding our ego. This can happen by putting in the work required to do something meaningful. In contrast to finding shortcuts merely to impress people.
At the end of the day, you set your moral compass so who would you rather impress? Yourself, others or even noone?! Food for thought