Let's Talk Reflections Reviews

I’ll Be Reading Ego Is The Enemy Again In 2019 And Here’s Why You Should Too

My second topic request on Instagram comes from ra_iny_ who wanted me to write on:

Admitting mistakes

This is quite an interesting topic and the immediate thing that came to mind was one of my favourites reads from this year – Ego Is The Enemy By Ryan Holiday – which provides a simple answer to this question.

But first, let me tell you a story.

“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.”- Ryan Holiday, Ego Is The Enemy

A couple of weeks ago I woke up and I was in a rush to get to work. I wanted to take a quick shower then dash out but there was a small obstacle to that – I couldn’t find my towel. I looked everywhere, my bedroom, the bathroom, one of my brother’s room at a certain point and the more I searched, the more worked up I got.  Two things to note:

  1. I was certain that I had left my towel in a particular spot in my room the day before and
  2. My brothers have a knack of constantly being in my room and taking things out that don’t belong to them.

After about 5 minutes of searching, I decided to take my shower and look for the towel when I came back from work. But by the time I was done I was still upset. Cue the tantrum! I started shouting and told my Mum to make sure that my brothers returned my towel because I was certain one of them had taken it! My mum’s response of course was, “What are they going to do with your towel?” but I didn’t care. As far as I was concerned, “Life wasn’t going to be funny for them if I came back from work and I didn’t find my towel.”

I have to tell you, before I started accusing them there was a little voice in my head that told me to bite my tongue even if I was certain one of them had taken it and just leave it till the evening. But what did I do? I ignored it because my anger at the inconvenience overrode the wisdom of the moment. At the last minute, I decided to look at the places I checked initially but this time in the dryer as well because my laundry was in it. Voila, the towel that I had accused my brothers of taking was right there! End of story.

Why am I sharing this story?

Sometimes the mistakes that we make in our relationship with people are avoidable if we listen to the inner sage in us. But there will also be times when we will make mistakes either big or small because we weren’t created to be perfect human beings. But how we deal with those mistakes has a lot to do with our ego. In my case, although my ego was telling me that I was justified in my tantrum (after all they’ve taken things before) I had to apologise for accusing everyone of taking it. I guess the point that I’m trying to make is our personal relationships should always be more important to us than our ego, no matter how difficult it is.

And Subhan’Allah, Allah swt gives us an internal compass so that we are aware of the decisions that we’re making. The moments where I delay an apology I feel uncomfortable throughout the day and sometimes getting rid of that feeling is why I’ll apologise (don’t judge me okay, I’m still working on myself). But if you find yourself still struggling, just think about the angel on your shoulder writing down those good deeds!

In addition, I think it’s important to share about mistakes from a professional perspective. I started working late September and there have been times over the past three months that I have made some silly mistakes! This has brought to the forefront my perfectionist tendencies which are not healthy (I thought I had it on lock after reading Daring Greatly!) In fact I would say I’m more hard on myself than my managers who Masha Allah have just been great examples for me about managing people.

“You could say that failure always arrives uninvited, but through our ego, far too many of us allow it to stick around.” – Ryan Holiday, Ego Is The Enemy

Below are three things that I have learnt about making mistakes:

  1. The earlier you admit to your mistake the better.
  2. Take ownership for it.
  3. Try to come up with solutions for your mistakes.

“Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind. Our ability to learn, to adapt, to be flexible, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pride.” – Ryan Holiday, Ego Is The Enemy

Remember, admitting to our mistakes doesn’t make us weak it makes us human.

I will be getting a paperback copy of Ego Is The Enemy for my second read because I truly loved reading it and the title is so catchy!

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I pray that you benefited from this post and I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic!

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5 comments

  1. Thank you as always for your insight. For me, I like the part about owning our mistakes ( this for me is about responsibility and not blaming others) and not being scared to apologise first.

    I have learnt this as well: do you value being right always or value the relationship more… that’s a good check on the ego.

    May Allāh subhanahu wa ta’ala make it easy for us all. Āmeen

    Shukran Kabeera

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would argue that more often than not we’re completely aware of when we’re making a mistake. We’re completely aware of when we’ve hurt someone or when we need to apologize (usually.) I love this about the human creation, that Allah swt created us to feel guilt when we know we’ve done something wrong. Sad to think that some people have grown numb to the feeling of guilt, though.

    I’ve learned it’s astronomically important to train yourself not to say things that you know you’ll have to apologize for later. What if you don’t get the chance? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not prepared to live a life of guilt for neglecting to own up to my mistakes when I still had the chance.

    Think I’ll give the book a read, sounds really good.

    Liked by 1 person

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