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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
Jon Anthony is a dating coach, fitness expert, and self-improvement guru. He dropped out of college to start Masculine Development in 2015, and has since been self-employed, helping men across the world achieve their best lives. You can best reach him on social media, or via email for questions.