Ego is the enemy

I just finished listening to a book called "Ego Is The Enemy" by Ryan Holiday, such a fantastic book. I can relate to many stories he talked about it even I had similar cases in my personal life. That is the power of a book to wake you up and teach you something you didn't know before or you were not aware of it.

Many years ago (around 2011) when social networking websites/apps were quite new and not everyone knew about it, I went to visit my cousin in another town and this time he had a new roommate, for sake of identity, let's call him Ryan.

I sat in the living room while waiting for my cousin to bring me some tea from the kitchen, Ryan entered the room.

Me: Hi, I'm Mehdi.
Ryan: Hi Mehdi, I'm Ryan, nice to meet you.

We continued typical greeting conversations then while we were talking he seems paid less attention to our conversation. since this is considered to be odd to talk to someone while you play with your handset/phone, I asked him:

Me: Are you OK?
Ryan: Yes, I am just chatting to me my friends on Facebook, you know Facebook?
Me: Well, yes, somehow.

My cousin quickly entered the room and asked me to go to the kitchen then he whispered to my ears: "Can you please pretend you know nothing while talking to Ryan? please, please." I asked "Why?" he said, "I will explain it to you later, please.", I replied, "Hope this is not a trap" while leaving the kitchen.

Ryan: Do you have facebook? how many friends do you have there?
Me: No, I don't have facebook, what's all the fuss about it anyway?
Ryan: Oh man, you are really missing, big time, it's kind of different world.
Me: I see, but I don't think anything virtual can replace physical interaction. I am not convinced.

Ryan: Do you want to sign up for facebook? let's try it and if you don't like it then you can delete your account, but I don't think anyone ever deletes their account anyway.
Me: Yes, please. Let's start.
Ryan: What's your email address? do you have one?
Me: I have one but my friend told me not to give it to people I don't really know. why do you need my email?
Ryan: I need your email to sign you up with Facebook. You are way behind in life mate.
Me: I have a computer, my email should be somewhere in it. I have the computer with me, do you want to check it?
Ryan: Please bring your computer, I will check it for you.

While I was leaving to another room to bring the laptop, Ryan told my cousin "this guy is fucked up, he knows nothing."

Me: here is my computer.

Ryan opened the laptop lid and saw nothing like Windows login page. "let me log in, I know how to do this" I told him while he was wondering on how to log in.

I logged in and pass the laptop to him.

Ryan: Where did you buy this laptop?
Me: One of my friends gave it to me.

Ryan was trying to work with this laptop but he couldn't even open any browser nor open up any folder. He was looking for the drive "C" and "My computer".

Me: Is everything OK?
Ryan: Well, your laptop has a very old version of Windows, no one use it these days.

While he keeps comparing his laptop with mine and works with both at the same time for about 10 minutes now, I asked: "Can I check something on my computer?".

Ryan: You need a new laptop mate, he gave you something which even is not a computer but looks like a laptop.
Me: Really? that's strange, I don't have any problem using my laptop.

I opened up a browser on my laptop and straight went facebook and pass it to him. "here is?" I said.

Ryan checked the facebook and move the browser and said: "why this computer is so different, it's very fast." He became very excited when he noticed the wobbly and transparent windows (I customised the operating system).


He fell in love with my computer, how fast and beautiful it is, he forgot about Facebook and was exploring my laptop. My cousin clapped loudly and told him:


"Listen, Ryan, I know that you know more than me about technology but there are some people out there who know more than you, Mehdi is studying Computer Science in university, his final year. He built a Facebook app which you can analyse your friend's profile. His laptop is not an old version of Windows, it's called Linux, I don't know much it but I know that it's for professional users ".

Ryan kept quiet and said nothing, just blink and takes deep breaths.

Then, I explained to him about what I do and advised him about what to study if he is really interested in new technology especially computer.

The moral of the story is that we all have the ego, but too much ego is poison for success.  I felt bad for Ryan but I've been in a similar situation myself, I try to learn from my mistake and others.

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