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What is Ego Death? (How to Instantly Transform Your Reality)

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ego death

I had a rather shocking experience upon reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, which I later discovered was known as ego death.

This experience started when I read one little line from this book: “You are not your thoughts. You are not your mind.” Perhaps it was this line alone, or perhaps it was all of the words that led up to it, but I suddenly felt ill.

I literally felt like the room was shaking; I began to feel sick. My body ached for three days straight. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but be still.

And yet, somehow, I was happier than I’d ever been.

 

What is Ego?

what is ego

Your ego is basically a collection of things that you identify with.

Have you ever seen someone who gets really upset when you challenge their authority on something? Maybe a lawyer who gets angry if you know the law better than him, or a doctor who gets mad whenever anyone questions his medical knowledge? That’s ego.

Or maybe you’ve seen someone who has a lot of money, and they always have to flaunt it. If they don’t have their Rolex watch or their Lexus out in public, they feel like they’re naked. That’s ego.

Ego is a massive limitation to your success, because it binds you to a certain idea of yourself.

For some people, ego causes them to always want to be right. This can be a massive obstacle to success, because instead of accepting your faults and improving them, you stubbornly proclaim that you’re perfect.

Ego can also prevent you from admitting when you’re wrong. This will prevent you from accepting new, more helpful beliefs and opinions, which will prevent you from attaining success in all areas of your life.

For example, have you ever seen those authors who endorse a certain diet, like say, vegetarianism? And then when someone shows them a bunch of studies and facts that prove humans need to eat meat for optimal health, they simply can’t accept it?

That’s ego. It locks you into seeing the world a certain way, and prevents you from effectively navigating the reality that you live in. Rather than give in and admit that your business is losing you millions of dollars, or that your lifestyle is causing you pain and suffering, your ego holds onto them until you crash and burn.

 

How Ego Holds You Back

what is ego death

Ego is one of those things that’s incredibly sneaky and insidious, yet can have devastating consequences if you let it go unchecked. I would like to now explore several examples to clarify what I mean by this.

Say, for example, Jerry is an average man. He earns around $15 an hour, doesn’t have any of the essential habits for success, and is generally pretty negative. What do you think would happen when he stumbled upon my blog?

“What? This…Jon Anthony guy, he wants me to invest in the market? He wants me to sell eBooks for money so that I can retire and escape the rat race? FUCK YOU, DUDE!”

His ego would be too big for him to admit that he’d been living his life the wrong way all this time.

It would be way too difficult for him to say: “You know what? Maybe this Jon Anthony guy is right. Maybe I could use some more money, maybe I should listen to his advice.”

He would simply have a visceral reaction, refuse to improve himself, and condemn himself to a life of mediocrity. And do you know what’s really sad, too? This would happen in every area of his life.

He’d be too stubborn to start working out and change his body, he’d be too stubborn to accept that MAYBE he needs to find a better friend group, and he’d be too stubborn to admit that maybe he needs to make some changes with his lifestyle.

His ego would hold him back.

Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you need to do some more introspection. Everyone has encountered their ego at some point in their life, whether it told you that you’re “too weak,” to pick up a sport or start working out, or that you’re “not smart enough,” to start a business.

These are NOT you. They’re pre-conceived notions of you that you learned from your childhood.

 

Ego = Beliefs

dr wayne dyer ego

A lot of the time, your ego manifests itself as a certain belief or set of beliefs. For example, here are some common ego beliefs:

  • I’m too short
  • I’m too ugly
  • I’m too [X]
  • I’m not sexy enough
  • I’m not smart enough
  • I’m not [X enough]

Do you notice the common pattern? They’re all fundamentally a belief that you’re not good enough. A belief that you’re too X, you’re too Y, or that you’re not Z enough. And do you know what? It’s all bullshit.

These are the types of beliefs that hold men back. They stop us from pursuing our passions, and from living life to the fullest. They prevent us from improving ourselves through the acts of working out, reading, accepting new reality paradigms, and learning game.

Sometimes, your ego manifests itself as over-inflated beliefs, but they’re still the same.

For example, sometimes guys that suck with women have the belief that they’re the shit with girls. “Please, I can get any girl I want,” says the guy who has no clue what game is. “Haha, nah, working out isn’t for me,” says the intellectualizing nerd who justifies his weakness by looking down on physical strength.

Although the ego can manifest itself as “I’m too good,” beliefs, fundamentally, they’re the same as “I’m not good enough,” beliefs. The reason why, is because if you can’t seriously consider another point of view, and decide whether or not it seems legitimate, then you’re afraid of it.

That’s the bottom line. You’re afraid that you might be wrong. That’s why the guy who says he can get any girl he wants doesn’t learn game; he’s afraid that actually going out to night clubs will prove just how little he knows about women.

And the scrawny guy who looks down on muscles? Really, he wishes that he could have muscles—he’s just insecure about his size, so he hyper-inflates one of his strengths (intelligence) as a way to avoid confronting his own insecurities.

In short, your ego holds you back, and if you wish to become the best version of yourself, you must demolish it.

 

How to Demolish Your Negative Beliefs

death of ego mind dissolving

One of my favorite books of all time is Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. The entire goal of this book is to help you reclaim power over your life and particularly, your emotions.

The idea is that most people fall victim to their emotions. “Oh, I feel too sad to do anything!” or “Oh I’m too tired to start a business!” or even “Oh, I’m too depressed to leave my partner who isn’t good for me.”

As human beings, we often times become overwhelmed by emotions; but, according to Tony (and I agree), this does us no good. Instead, we must learn to master our emotions, lest they master us. One of the exercises that Tony presents in this book, is to help demolish old dysfunctional beliefs.

We’re going to do it right now. First; choose a belief that you have about yourself, that you don’t like.

It can be anything. I’m not smart enough, I’m not sexy enough, I’m not cool enough, I’m not good enough, or WHATEVER. Just choose a belief about yourself that you know is disempowering. For the sake of the exercise, I’ll use the example of “I’m not good enough.”

Got it? Okay, let’s do the exercise. Get out a pen and paper, and let’s answer each of the following questions together:

 

1. How is this belief ridiculous or absurd?

A lot of the time when we really take the effort to question our beliefs, we see that they’re completely absurd and not founded on reality. For example, the belief that “I’m not good enough.”

How is this NOT absurd? You’re not good enough? For what? Not good enough period? That doesn’t even make any fucking sense! You’re a human being and you have intrinsic worth simply for being yourself.

What accomplishments have you made that completely contradict this belief? Maybe you’ve gotten a job that pays better than your last one. Okay, so you were good enough to get that job. Maybe you’re good enough to get a better job.

You’re alive? Okay, then you’re good enough to be alive. You’re reading this? Okay, then you’re good enough to be literate—the point is that you’re good enough for ANYTHING that you set your mind to!

“I’m not good enough,” is such a widespread blanket statement that it literally doesn’t make any sense; it’s a completely ridiculous belief that is NOT founded in reality.

 

2.Was the person I learned this belief from worth modeling in this area?

Who was it that taught you this belief? If you’re like most people, it was probably someone from your childhood.

Maybe it was your father; maybe he never appreciated you for who you were, so you grew up believing that you weren’t good enough. Or maybe your mother only loved you when you acted a certain way. She couldn’t accept you for who you are.

Maybe it was a teacher who made you feel bad, an uncle who belittled you, or a classmate who bullied you; whoever it was, ask yourself: is this person worth modeling?

100% of the time, the answer will be no. Do you know why?

Because anybody who makes another human being feel like they’re “not good enough,” is literally an emotionally-crippled, unsuccessful, miserable person. Plain and simple. If someone feels the need to put you down, so that they can feel superior, then they’re pathetic.

So ask yourself: who gave you that belief? Your father? Your mother? Your grandparents? A teacher? Then, ask yourself: are they worth modeling in this area?

Again, you’ll get the same answer, loud and clear: no.

 

3. What will it ultimately cost me emotionally if I don’t let go of this belief?

The goal of questions 3-7 is to create so much pain that you can’t help but let go of the belief. So, ask yourself: what will it cost you?

If you don’t let go of this negative belief, it will probably cost you a lot. You’ll feel depressed, you won’t feel like you’re worthwhile, you won’t love yourself…you’ll be miserable!

There’s SO MUCH to lose if you hold onto this old, false belief. If you don’t let go of it, you’ll remain anxious, depressed, and self-hating for the rest of your life. Snap out of it!

 

4. What will it ultimately cost me in my relationships if I don’t let go of this belief?

Again, what will it cost you? The goal is to create so many negative associations with this belief that you can’t help but drop it like a hot potato.

Believing that you’re not good enough will make it EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to find the woman of your dreams. If you don’t learn how to love and accept yourself for who you area, nobody else will.

It’s that simple. If you don’t let go of this belief, you’ll cause yourself a ton of hardship in your relationships. Fighting, arguing, disagreement, bitterness, passive aggressiveness…none of this will go away until you learn to let go of your old, disempowering belief.

 

5. What will it ultimately cost me physically if I don’t let go of this belief?

Depending on the belief that we’re talking about, it may cost you a whole lot or a whole little. Regardless—it will still cost you.

Using the example of “I’m not good enough,” what will this cost you physically? Well, for starters, if you don’t feel like you’re good enough, you probably won’t start going to the gym. You won’t feel the motivation to lift weights, do cardio, or eat well.

Your health will suffer. This means that you won’t be able to think as clearly, you won’t have as much energy, and you’ll look atrocious. This will bleed into all other areas of your life.

If you have poor health, your mind will be poor, so you won’t be able to excel at business. If you have poor health, your dating life will be poor. If you have poor health, your emotional life will be poor.

 

6. What will it ultimately cost me financially if I don’t let go of this belief?

Again, tying in the previous questions, it will cost you A LOT financially. If you don’t think that you’re good enough, your body will suffer. This means that your mind won’t be supported well enough, so your career will suffer, too.

You won’t be able to think as clearly, you won’t be as motivated as you should be, and you won’t feel like you can push yourself to do MORE. You’ll feel like you aren’t “good enough,” for that promotion, so why even try?

You won’t feel like you’re “good enough,” to start that business, write that eBook, invest in the stock market, or take your financial life into your own hands.

In short, you’ll live a life of financial ruin and will never be able to support a wife or a family if you don’t let go of this negative belief…so why not let go of it?

 

7. What will it ultimately cost my family/loved ones if I don’t let go of this belief?

If you can’t get over your negative belief, in this example that “I’m not good enough,” your family and loved ones will suffer greatly.

They will watch you grow depressed, which will cause them to become depressed. They’ll watch you relinquish your passion for life, which will cause them to develop a deep sense of sadness.

They’ll watch you fail in your relationships, they’ll watch you fail in your career, and they’ll watch you fail in EVERYTHING…how painful do you think that would be for your loved ones to watch?

Extremely painful. So why would you hold onto this belief? There’s literally no reason to hold onto this belief. LET IT GO! Not only is it RIDICULOUS, but it will cost you and your loved ones an incredible amount of pain.

There is literally no reason to keep hanging onto that old belief.

 

Meditation and Ego Death

meditation ego death

Meditation is, perhaps, one of the most effective ways of demolishing your ego. Not only do I recommend meditating every day 100%, but countless others have attributed a large portion of their success to meditation.

Meditation allows you to see past the illusion of ego; it enhances your ability to calmly focus on the facts, and to remain at ease in stressful situations.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that meditation is the most useful tool for any man who wants to crush it at life. Meditation will enhance your emotional state, your physical well-being, your intelligence, and every other aspect of your life.

Meditation can sometimes give you ego death.

I’ve experienced many ego-demolishing experiences through reading The Power of Now as well as through meditating—one of the most potent is an experience that I talk about in the video.

There’s been plenty of times where, I’ve been meditating, and I suddenly have a panic attack. I yell and scream, and sob like a baby—but the next few days I feel absolutely amazing. This is what meditation does: it releases repressed emotions that hold you back.

Meditation allows you to come to terms with the past; with decisions you’ve made, with wrongs that have been done to you, and with negative self-beliefs. Meditation sets you free.

If you do not meditate, I HIGHLY encourage that you do. A good introduction to the ideas of presence, ego death, and meditation can be found by reading the book I recommend. I can honestly not praise it enough; I firmly believe that it changed my life, and that it can change yours, too.

 

Summary

rajneesh death of ego quote

In conclusion, your ego holds you back. It latches onto an idea, which you then identify with: I’m this, or I’m that.

This is detrimental to personal growth, because it prevents you from integrating new, more functional ideas into your life. Thus, in order to become the best version of yourself, you must destroy your ego.

I presented you with two ways to do this: one, was through an exercise in Tony Robbins’ book Awaken The Giant Within. The other was meditation, which is a practice that I recommend every man do daily.

I realize that this may be a lot to take down, so if you’re having trouble comprehending this, I’d recommend you just read Eckhart’s book and start meditating. You don’t have to do it perfectly. Action is better than inaction.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to shoot me a comment below. And as always, I’ll see you next time.

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Mike
8 months ago

TLDR version:both. Kill and redesign the ego. Repeat. The death and rebirth cycle as in nature, as in the seasons, etc.

D l
1 year ago

Why would anyone who is content with their life, want the death of ego? If someone worked hard to become a certain status, with training, or schooling, sacrifices etc, they like what they are. This smacks of mind control techniques to me. If someone is forced to drop their enjoyable “identity” for some ideal of “one consciousness” which they have no desire to achieve, its an unwelcome intrusion.

John
1 year ago

Ideas of success and ‘being your best self’ are products of the ego. The concept of ‘personal growth’ is a product of the ego.

You cannot destroy ego with ego.

The goal is not to ‘destroy’ the ego, that would not have a positive impact. The ego allows an individual to function in everyday life.

The goal is cultivate an awareness that allows one to effortlessly observe when the ego arises in the mind. As a greater awareness develops it is possible to recognise thoughts and feelings that are rooted in the ego, note them, and let them go. Accepting that things are what they are. Not striving to change. But accepting each moment is just what it is. To indulge the egos craving for ‘ego death’ is to reinforce the patterns that lead to suffering.

LeftyBillC
3 years ago

Jon, my question is this: How is it that one gets this sudden surge of emotions (ego death) while meditating when I’ve heard that you are to distance oneself from dwelling on specific thoughts while meditating and only focus on your breathing instead to let said thoughts ‘pass you by’? Aren’t the two in conflict? n other words, iIf you ignore deep thought wouldn’t you never get to the point of the self-reflection that leads to supposed ego death?

Super Janice
5 years ago

Mr. Jon,
How do you know that humans need to eat meat for optimal health?

Janice

Kemp
5 years ago

I have read both “Power of Now”, and “The Way of Men”, and I’m currently reading “Becoming a Barbarian” also by Jack Donovan. Eckart says that ego and identity should be let go of, while Donovan’s “Becoming a Barbarian” states that ego and identity are absolutely essential to creating a tribe and having healthy self reflection. Are they contradicting each other? (the authors are obviously VERY different) Or can you have a little bit of both column A and a little column B?

Kemp
5 years ago
Reply to  Jon Anthony

Roger that.

Mike
8 months ago
Reply to  Kemp

I read this guy Van Tharpe now mostly is about stock market stuff but he also talks about a “belief reframe” he has you go over all your beliefs relating to a topic (in his case financial trading) and says the first thing is to ask yourself “did I choose this belief”.

If you designed your ego to protect things you want to protect, after destroying it, it’s fine to have. The problem most people have a false ego of coincidence and circumstance and haven’t had the perspective of sampling different “lives”, or different paradigms/belief systems to know what’s useful, nor have they actively destroyed and rebuilt their ego to optimize it for anything. The idea shouldn’t be finding “good enough” but an emphasis on the process of constant improvement. What you are describing is “hill climbing” you look around you and you climbed the highest point in your local area… great.. but how do you know you didn’t just spend your time climbing the highest hill in Nebraska? Maybe your life could be hundreds of times better and you could rise to peaks you couldn’t imagine in your current life?

Hence, you kill the ego and rebuild it. You can always go back to the approximate set of beliefs you have now later. The truth is you are always a different person every day. The body never had the same precise brain chemistry twice.getting lost in memory of “what you were” to determine “what you are” is probably bad strategy unless it’s better than 85% of everything else you’ve tried and you spend at least 1/3rd of the time trying to find something better starting with that which has the best chance of helping. There’s “stopping algorithms” to estimate how much time to spend improving your current circumstances Vs trying an entirely new set of circumstances, but the point is unless you are both sampling new territory AND looking in that area for higher elevation, you are limiting yourself and what you can ultimately provide to the world (that can live beyond yourself) by potentially massive amounts.

Denis
5 years ago

Hey Jon,
You are saying that you had experienced the ego death. Many spiritual teachers (if not all) preach that the ego death is the way to reach the state of enlightenment. What are your thoughts on this matter, and on the enlightenment itself?

Ben
5 years ago

Heyes Jon. Do yo use a YouTube video or any other other material to meditate. Because the last time tried meditating I used a yt video. So should I start by meditating looking up videos on YouTube or should I do it like you said in your other article just sitting somewhere quiet. That article was very helpful can’t wait to kill that ego.

Stranger
5 years ago

This article really made me think about some things. What I can say about video is that it should be shorter.Once I heard that if you have to deliver short speech you have to prepare longer than to deliver longer speech.I mean channel would explode if videos were like 5-10 min packed with good stuff. Dont take it as insult, just my suggestion 🙂

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