But if I meditate regularly, won’t I dull my edge? And if I pursue spiritual growth, won’t I lose my drive, ambition, and motivation to achieve goals? And if I kill my ego, won’t I erode my chances of becoming successful?
Many people are under the illusion that a man needs a big ego in order to achieve greatness. To prove their intuition, they point at our world’s great egomaniacs, like Donald Trump, who has made it from a millionaire to a billionaire to the leader of the free world. For many millennials, he is a role model and an epitome of success. No wonder that the illusory correlation between ego and success is now stronger than ever.
The reason why I think that this correlation is illusory is because there are numerous people who are also extremely successful, but who have achieved their goals and attained their success without being driven by fear, insecurity, and an enormous ego. These people, however, tend to not have the mainstream fame of great egomaniacs, and that’s what marks the difference.
Most successful people are people you’ve never heard of. They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs. (Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday)
When we hear about egomaniacs who have attained great success, we are quick to assume that we need deep insecurities with a strong ego fortress built around them in order to be driven enough to become high-achieving like them. But we must not overlook the main reason why we hear about those people in the first place—that is, their fame.
Fame is a function of getting massive amounts of attention, and attention is what people feed their egos with. If you have a big ego, you need to feed it with attention. And to always have plenty of food for your ego, you need plenty of fame—you need to be on stage, be on television, be in movies, be in the media, be everywhere on the Internet, be on everyone’s minds. To get a lot of attention and to become famous by design, one typically needs a big ego.
However, I do not see why one would need a big ego to be motivated enough to become truly successful, unless fame is part of one’s definition of success. Therefore, I am not afraid that I will dull my edge, stunt my drive, stifle my passion, or diminish my potential to attain greatness by meditating regularly, pursuing spiritual growth, and substituting my ego pride with true pride.
(Actually, spiritual growth will likely stifle my passion because “passion” is a state of affective slavery and emotional passivity anyway. Passion is not a state of mindcoolness. What I really want is not passion, but the proactivity of doing my True Will! And I am convinced that the more I vanquish my ego, the clearer I will see my true self—and the truer my will can become.)