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Taye Diggs, Ryan Holiday, and Justin Baldoni

Mastering Your Ego


You might be consumed by your ego and not even know it.

It can be a powerful tool or the cause of your downfall.

You need to recognize it, be aware of it, laugh at it, and finally work together with your ego to be your best self.

Break the bonds of your ego.

Otherwise, when will you ever be enough?

On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I’ve created a mashup on this topic featuring three people who have learned to work with their ego, not for it: Taye Diggs, Ryan Holiday, and Justin Baldoni.

“Build the muscle that fights the ego.” @justinbaldoni  

Taye Diggs is an actor and singer who is known for his roles on Broadway, TV, and Film. Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of books about marketing, culture, and the human condition.  His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multi-platinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. Justin Baldoni is an actor, director, and filmmaker who currently plays Rafael Solano on the award-winning show Jane the Virgin.

These men have all experienced success in their careers, but they have to constantly work on keeping a healthy ego so that they do not self-destruct. It’s a daily battle.

So get ready to learn what it takes to master your ego on Episode 755.

“Humility and reality are the cure for symptoms of ego.” @RyanHoliday  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What are some ways you can practice self-love? (6:00)
  • How does reality help cure the ego? (8:00)
  • What’s your biggest challenge right now? (12:00)
  • Are you afraid of not being relevant? (14:30)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why knowing that you are enough is so difficult (7:00)
  • Why you need to surround yourself with people who tell you the truth (9:00)
  • The struggle between our lower and higher nature (13:00)
  • How service can help to manage your ego (17:30)
  • How to stop making your good deeds about you (20:00)
  • Plus much more…

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis: This is episode 755 on mastering your ego. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes a former athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.

Sigmund Freud said “The ego is not master in its own house.” Anne Frank said “Everyone inside them has a piece of good news.” The good news is you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish and what’s your potential is. Ego is a topic that so many people are asking questions about lately because it’s the thing that can ruin your life if you don’t know how to manage and control your ego. We all have different shadows and darkness within us, we all have different desires, and dreams, hopes, and things that we think of that maybe aren’t so good as well. And in this episode we breakdown from a few key people about how to be the master of your ego and not how to be afraid of your ego; really know how to shape and mold it to support you in achieving your dreams instead breaking down and ruining you. We’ve got Ryan Holiday who’s a best-selling author and media strategist who is sharing about ego in this episode and really diving into his philosophy of all the different struggles and challenges he’s gone through, and the research he’s done from the greatest leaders of our time on how they overcome ego as well.

We’ve got Taye Diggs who’s an actor and a singer and best known for his roles in musicals and TV series, movies. He breaks down the ego from that point of view. Living a life in entertainment how he’s managed ego to support him and not ruin his life. And we have Justin Baldoni who’s an actor, director and social entrepreneur, focused on creating and affecting positive change. He shares more about the ego on how he’s really shaped this to support him in his life with his marriage, kids, and with his missions and work.

We talked about how to practice self-love without feeding your ego because if you’re allowed to love yourself does that mean you’re just feeding your ego more and more. And is it okay to love yourself and take care of yourself, we dive into that. We talked about how humility and reality cure the symptoms of ego and how ego can hold you back from being the person you want to be.

This is a complicated and challenging concept this is something that holds a lot of people back from having the relationships of their dreams, from feeling fulfilled inside, from finding purpose and meaning in life and really leaving a legacy. I really hope you enjoy this one and please share with your friends

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Hey man you’re around actors all the time. Do you feel like self-love is something that actors need more of?

Taye: I think the world needs more of it.

Lewis: How do you practice self-love yourself and how will you give back to people listening who are maybe struggling or trying to figure out their worth in the world?

Taye: I think it manifest itself differently from different people. Life for me with talent you know I didn’t have an issue because people were always there telling me how that I had something. You have to deal with for me deserving the pretty girl or deserving to be in a conversation. I think at the end of the day it’s tough it’s one of the hardest things to do which is to convince yourself that you are worth it just who you are and not comparing yourself for putting yourself in a context, because it’s so easy to say “Am I as intelligent as this person.” And then looking at what you have you know to offer in terms of intelligence because it’s not about that, because that can be easily taken away or you can not have to. So you have to find who you are as a person regardless of everything else or everyone else around you and just be cool with that and let that power you so that no matter how great, handsome, talented you consider yourself more than enough. And in this world that’s based on all that other shit it’s really tough to do because we’re here and first thing we asked ourselves is what do I have to offer? What makes me special? So that’s where I think the difficulty comes in.

Lewis: You also talked about in the book you said humility and reality are the cure for symptoms ego, why is that?

Ryan: Well ego is being confident and things you shouldn’t be confident reality is like ‘oh wait I was I got too far over my skis.” You know what I mean? Like I went too far on the other direction and I needed a wakeup call. Sometimes that’s why failure can be good not catastrophic failure but little things. Like you’re confident so you put something out there and someone says “Hey this is wrong for the following reasons.” You got to listen to that stuff or you keep investing and you go further and further and then when you do fall and fail it’s like really painful. So, I think you got to really cultivate people around you who are not afraid to tell you the truth, that’s the hard part. I mean especially as you get successful.

Lewis: I think you got to be willing help people tell you the truth because most people don’t want to hear the truth.

Ryan: Right, you have to make sure to punish people for it for telling you the truth by not talking to them and fighting them. Even if you disagree you have to hear them but if you’re like it’s like you can realized like “Man, I only talk to people who work with me today.” Like who are some sense not super motivated to tell me the truth. I’ve been around really successful people and wealthy people and you realize like the only way I could deliver the truth to this person would be like a kamikaze mission. Like we would not be friends after live they’ve gotten so far that I have to go in and say all these unpleasant stuff and that’s gonna be the end of it. And then you realized and then you usually don’t do it.

If I gotten to a point where you follow me on social media and you thought like you knew what my life is like. And like you might know you might want to say like “Hey, Ryan people are starting full of it.” But like you might not do it because you’re worried I’m gonna shoot the messenger essentially. So that’s the difficult thing if you don’t have that realism in your life and if you don’t cultivate it or checking in all the time, you get to a point where it’s like people realize that it is not in their interest to tell you the truth.

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What do you feel like is your biggest challenge to step [?]? Is there something that challenge you right now that you feel like you still get to overcome or embrace?

Justin: Yeah, I don’t think there’s one thing there’s an endless number of things that I am challenged with.

Lewis: What’s the biggest?

Justin: One of the biggest challenges for me is the control of my ego.

Lewis: its hard man you get all these followers and all these opportunities.

Justin: Interesting. But I think part of our journey as human beings is the balance between our lower and higher nature and learning how to control it. So you obviously have spirituality, religion, divinity things that are designed to help us come into our higher nature. And you have everything else in the history of existence and attacking our lower nature.

Lewis: Our ego.

Justin: It’s strong and for me it’s definitely always been my ego and my ego can always be something that cripples me. Because when my ego is hurt or bruised or when it feels attack then I don’t function from my higher nature, I function from my lower nature and that happens in all sorts of ways. And then of course there’s the idea of success which is relative, because it is a never ending journey because there’s no such thing as true success. Find me someone who’s happy with their success you can’t but you can find me someone who is happy because they are content where they are and what they have because they’re grateful. So success is also interesting because where I am so much of what I do also depend on other people validating.

Lewis: Buying a ticket or whatever it is.

Justin: Exactly and especially on our town and this business relevancy is like the delta of everything.

Lewis: Are you afraid of that? Not being relevant.

Justin: I’m not afraid of it what’s interesting is I’m mostly not relevant, but what I am is aware of it. So I am aware of the fact that I have a short window called ‘Jane the Virgin’ that is interesting to people, after 5 years I might not be relevant. So, I look at it like I have this amount of time to say what I want to say and then maybe no one wants to hear what I got to say. And the other night we were just talking about, you know my wife is shooting a movie right now and she’s shooting a movie with a woman who won the academy awards in the 60’s. And we know when you get nominated for academy award your name is everywhere. But I had no idea who this woman was, she had experience tremendous success she’s in her 80’s now. So you just look at like the chart of being in the moment and feeling success and getting to you no longer have that and then you have to realize that ‘do people not care about me?’ because doing a podcast with Lewis does that mean I’m not valuable to the world? Does that mean I might not be relevant to anybody just because I’m not relevant to the media or to social media right now? If I didn’t have any followers would that be a reflection of my self-worth? So these are things that are important and they affect us on both sides of the spectrum. They affect us when we don’t have any success when we’re trying or struggling. We’re trying to be relevant which really something I struggle with is.

On one side you have that struggle and on the other when you have it you have that struggle.

Lewis: The fear of losing.

Justin: And then you have to decide and this is where the ego comes in and this is something that I battle with, am I doing this out of love or am I doing this out of fear? And if I’m doing it out of fear then I’m doing it from a place of [?] because I’m afraid I’m gonna lose it or afraid that if I don’t do it right then someone is gonna respond or I’m not gonna get enough likes. And the same thing goes to writing a television show or being in a show.

So your ego creeps in everywhere, your ego creeps in your relationships. It creeps in absolutely everywhere and so one of the struggles that I think I always have is figuring out the balance between a healthy ego and an ego that’s managed. And for me the only way that I found to be able to manage my ego is through spirituality and it’s through prayer with God and through service. Because the second you’re of service the goal is to take yourself out of the equation. We have a phrase we call it secret service “Would you still do it if you knew nobody had done it?” And that’s kind of your measure it’s service if you will do it and you don’t care if anyone knows.

So it’s a practice it’s building muscle that fights the ego because the ego is strong.

Lewis: You’re using it to serve a bigger purpose on others?

Justin: Yeah and your ego can drive you I mean there’s a reason we have it. If none of us have ego we’d be living in in Utopia and there’d be no reason for us to like why are we here.

Lewis: Fight or.

Justin: But why are we even alive? We’re alive to experience a journey to start somewhere, to go through hardship and eventually learn lesson and come out the other side. So, if there is no journey like there’s no ego, if there is no taking us into the darkness then there’s no light. So ego exist I think so we can overcome it.

Lewis: Yeah, I think if we’re living in service every day whether it’s you know, I do a lot of service where no one knows about. But I think also just smiling to people down the street is an act of service as opposed having your head down and being disconnected. I think showing with an open heart is service and those are the things I battle with sometimes because we build schools for kids all the time around the world who needs support.

I remember when I first got involved I don’t want people to know because I don’t want my ego involved like I did something. Then someone told me “You’re doing this service by not letting other people know because you’re not inspiring other people to do the same thing.”

Justin: There’s a balance and that’s the struggle. That’s the struggle that nobody talks about because I can do the skid row carnival and not tell anybody and have a carnival myself. But how many people can I affect? And this is again controversial but you can look at a lot of these proclaimed life coaches and spiritual guides and pastors. You look at people that are in positions of power whether their job is to influence or help people become enlightened, inspire people and you can see how quickly that can become serving.

Lewis: Everyone is looking at you.

Justin: Everyone is looking at you and we forget that the only reason that you’re there is because you are a clear channel from God to them. So then as man we suddenly go it’s me. So that’s where it can get dangerous is we start to think about ourselves. So even service is a test of the ego.

The challenge is when Lewis becomes more important than the schools. And that’s why it’s important to have friends that are like right in there with you because they always keep us authentic and grounded because it’d be very easy for me to make the skid row carnival about me. But what we realized through the process and by the way I tried to not make it about me it’s that it needed me.

Lewis: A story.

Justin: It needs a story to galvanize people and I was okay being that but it comes at a cost. I don’t get to enjoy the carnival like everybody else. But all I desire honestly is I want to sit down and I watch people’s feet 3 years I’ve done the carnival I haven’t wash one person’s feet and it breaks my heart. And again it is something that we’re working on but my carnival experience isn’t the same as someone else’s. However, my experience is different but the second it becomes about me it dies and that’s where the ego comes in.

Lewis: There you have it my friends I hope you enjoyed this one all about breaking the bonds of ego, mastering and redefining self without ego and with ego. If you enjoyed this and you know someone in your life that this could benefit or help, spread the message of greatness.

Again a big thank you to our sponsor today Again you can check your minutes and borrow up to $40,000 to help you consolidate your credit cards and have 1 low fixed rate.

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My friends ego it’s something that can consume us and Sigmund Freud said “The ego is not master in its own house.” You have the opportunity to master your ego, to recognize it, to be aware of it, to kind of laugh at it and look at it from the outside. I love you all so very much and as always you know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.

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