As was preparing for a class on ego and I re-read the following quotes from one of my favourite books: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

Ryan does a brilliant job of talking about ego. My favourite parts are when he talks about talking, about people who talk a lot

Here are some of the extracts from the book on talking… a lot:

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It’s a temptation that exists for everyone – for talk and hype to replace action.

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The empty text box: “What’s on your mind?” Facebook asks. “Compose a new tweet,” Twitter beckons. Tumblr. LinkedIn. Our inbox, our iPhones, the comments section on the bottom of the article you just read.

Blank spaces, begging to be filled in with thoughts, with photos, with stories. With what we are going to do, with what things should or could be like, what we hope will happen. Technology, asking you, prodding you, soliciting talk.

Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.”

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Talking is always easy.

We seem to think that silence is a sign of weakness. That being ignored is tantamount to death [and for the ego, this is true]. So we talk, talk, talk as though our life depends on it.

In actuality, silence is strength, particularly early on in any journey…

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And that’s what is so insidious about talk. Anyone can talk about himself or herself. Even a child knows how to gossip and chatter. Most people are decent at hype and sales. So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.

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Talk depletes us. Talking and doing fight for the same resources….

After spending so much time talking, explaining, and talking about a task, we start to feel that we have gotten closer to achieving it. Or worse, when things get tough, we feel we can toss the whole project aside because we have given it our best try, although of course we haven’t.

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Success requires a full 100 percent of our effort, and talk flitters part of that effort away before we can use it.

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Talking – listening to ourselves talk, performing for an audience, is almost like therapy. I just spend four hours talking about this. Doesn’t that count for something?

The answer is no.

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They [people who contain their ego] work quietly in the corner. They turn their inner turmoil into product, and eventually to stillness. They ignore the impulse to seek recognition before they act. They don’t talk much. Or mind the feeling that others, out there in public and enjoying the limelight, are somehow getting the better end of the deal. [They are not.] They are too busy working to do anything else. When they do talk – it is earned.

The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.

Let the others slap each other on the back while you are back in the lab or the gym or pounding the pavement. Plug that hole, that one, right in the middle of your face – that can drain you of your vital life force. Watch what happens. What how much better you get.

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One thought on “Talk, talk, talk…

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