Ego is the enemy

I’ve recently returned to practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a technical martial art focussing on grappling and ground fighting. There are a lot of lessons to be learned practising this art, the biggest I believe is that ego is the enemy.

Being a white belt, I’m rolling against blue and purple belts who are more experienced and I pretty much get my arse kicked every time I turn up to class. While I’m learning, I’ve got to be willing to get thrown around, sat on and chocked out in order to understand how to advance. I’m embracing failure. If I resisted, I’m likely to either try something too advanced and hurt myself in the process or worse, give up altogether because I’m constantly getting beat.

If we want to get better at something, we’ve got to be willing to fail at it first. If we’re not willing to accept this, it’s because we have welcomed an unwelcome enemy into our world – Ego.

In Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego is the enemy”,  he agrees that our greatest opponent is our Ego and that we need to keep it in check at all stages of our careers and lives to be successful. He explains that to be a high achiever means having the humility of knowing and accepting your weaknesses and having the confidence in your abilities and strengths. Ego is something dangerous that has none of the former and an overestimation of the latter.

The most practical way I keep my own ego in check, other than getting beaten up every Monday and Wednesday morning, is daily self-reflection and practising open-mindedness. Checking in with myself to view my own behaviour and being very open to the honest (and critical) feedback of those closest to me whom I trust to have my best interests at heart.

When it comes to reaching your financial potential, if you think your ego (or your partner’s ego) may be holding you back (for example if you over-spend on things that aren’t actually adding value to your life, or you may have a speculative share investment going, or you might just think you know more than you actually do and are putting yourself at risk of making a mistake), then scheduling a time to chat with us might be of value to you.



Neil Salkow

Director and Independent Financial Adviser