“Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday @Sam's Book Club

When we fail, ego automatically becomes the enemy. It's impossible to talk about it without being vulnerable. On our own, we cannot manage it.

Leadership November 11, 2020

You may have heard the statement: “Pride goes before a fall.”

For the final episode of Sam’s Book Club’s Season 1, we’re taking a look at Ego is the Enemy. This life-changing book is written by Ryan Holiday, an American marketer and author. This book talks about the hazardous nature of our egos.

Pastor Sam Neves shares how this book has helped him build better relationships and effective leadership grounded in humility. He is the Associate Director of Communications at the global headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

When we fail, ego automatically becomes the enemy. It’s impossible to talk about it without being vulnerable. On our own, we cannot manage it. We need extra superpowers to defeat it. Only the Holy Spirit can give us that power because our hearts will always focus inwardly toward ourselves. Without Him, our pride and prejudice will lead us to ruin.

Pride, Great Leaders, and Eternal Students

The idea of having an unending education may sound awful to some of us. But in reality, we are students for life. Learning never ends because it is impossible to know it all. Great leaders are eternal students.

Mistakes are possible in everything we do. Sometimes we won’t even know that we err because we don’t know it all. But great people are the ones who are open to failure and critics. They welcome change and new experiences.

“It is better for you to be quiet and passed for being ignorant than to speak up and take away all doubt.” Pastor Sam recollects these wise words from his Adventist Church History professor. The foolish believe they know enough, but the wise know that they don’t know enough.

Pride and the Discipline in Speaking and Listening

Some folks, especially extroverts, like to talk a lot. And yet after a discourse, they might not have learned anything new. They give and give but do not receive anything. This can be seen as especially true when they are not listening. Proper communication is an antidote to problems with ego. However, let’s not discount the fact that certain people need to talk to think and understand more.

The result must be that we cultivate discipline in speaking and listening.

Pride vs Humility

Pastor Sam shares how his ego was eating him alive as a communication leader. In a room full of church administrators and leaders, a YouTube expert pointed out his team’s failures in using the platform. Pastor Sam could not stand the fact that he was considered incompetent!

But, he asked the expert to help his team by teaching them how to better manage the Church’s YouTube channel. The results were excellent and immediate!

Outstanding leadership requires humility. It needs a willingness to seek collaboration to learn more and improve. Brené Brown was right when she said that people would connect and help you when you allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Let us always remember that there is success in humility.

Demonic Pride

Realize that ego should not be your enemy.

However, if success leads you to think that you don’t need others, think again. Don’t let demonic pride lurk around or inside you. That kind of ego is dangerous and unhealthy, making you believe that you know enough and that you don’t need anyone else’s opinion. You will tend not to listen anymore.

In addition, early pride can lead to complacency as people begin to recognize their skills. Great leaders will tell you that competence matters. It is vital to learn to become better at what you do. Never compromise what you can’t deliver.

The Key to Conquering Pride

Never become angry at someone; act with resolution and not anger. Take it from Pastor Sam’s mother:

“Discipline when you’re calm and not when you’re angry, because it results in violence.”

She learned this from the writings of Ellen White and took it to her heart, applying the principle with her children. Even the Bible affirms its success in leading people away from the pit of demonic pride.

Discipline is the key to overcoming ego.

Pride and Telling the Truth

If you need to express your resentment to someone, speak to them using the following language:

Tell them you understand that their intentions were pure, but that their actions caused you to feel terrible. Be honest, even though it is not the easiest route. Be truthful, even if your mind tries to convince you otherwise.

Telling the truth indeed changes everything.

Pride, Love, and Truth

Life came from love; that’s what Christianity believes. For people to understand the love of God, they should feel yours first.

The family you are building matters! The best contribution you can give the mission may not be your service but your children’s service.

Do whatever it takes to provide a loving environment where truthful leaders who proclaim Jesus’ love will come from and then go out to impact the world.So yes, it is important to finally note that love and truth are the highest virtues.

Author(s)

Sam Neves directs the branding and digital marketing efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church. He lives in Maryland with his wife and their 3 boys.

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