The Ego Attacks the Awakening Artist



“Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity.” — Marina Abramovic

When you start to figure out and realize your greatest potential, and answer your calling, fear and Ego can get in the way.

Ego attacks the awakening artist.

The Ego runs the show and likes things the way they are.

The more you awaken, the less you need the Ego, and the Ego hates that.

In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield shares his insights on why the Ego attacks the awakening the artist.

We Demolish the Ego to Get to the Self

We’re all on a quest to figure out who we really are and what we are fully capable of.

Via The War of Art:

“Have you ever wondered why the slang terms for intoxication are so demolition-oriented? Stoned, smashed, hammered.  It’s because they’re talking about the Ego.  It’s the Ego that gets blasted, waxed, plastered.  We demolish the Ego to get to the Self.”

The Self is Our Deepest Being

The deepest part of you … is your Self.

Via The War of Art:

“The margins of the Self touch upon the Divine Ground.  Meaning the Mystery, the Void, the source of Infinite Wisdom and Consciousness.

Dreams come from the Self.  Ideas come from the Self.  When we meditate we access the Self.  When we fast, when we pray, when we go on a vision quest, it’s the Self we’re seeking.  When the dervish whirls, when the yogi chants, when the sadhu mutilates his flesh; when penitents crawl a hundred miles on their knees, when Native Americans pierce themselves in the Sun Dance, when suburban, kids take Ecstasy and dance all night at a rave, they’re seeking the Self.  When we deliberately alter our consciousness in any way, we’re trying to find the Self.  When the alcoholic collapses in the gutter, that voice that tells, him, ‘I’ll save you,’ comes from the Self.

The Self is our deepest being.”

The More We Awake, the Less We Need the Ego

Your Ego likes to keep the status quo.   When you awaken, you rock the Ego’s boat.

Via The War of Art:

“The Self speaks for the future.  That’s why the Ego hates it.  The Ego hates the Self because when we seat our consciousness in the Self, we put the ego out of business.  The Ego doesn’t want us to evolve.  The Ego runs the show right now.  It likes things just the way they are

The instinct that pulls us toward art is the impulse to evolve, to learn, to heighten and elevate our consciousness.  The Ego hates this.  Because the more awake we become, the less we need the Ego.“

The Ego Hates …

Maybe hate is a strong word, but the Ego is easily threatened when you try to rise above it.

Via The War of Art:
”The Ego hates it when the awakening writer sits down at the typewriter.  The Ego hates it when the aspiring painter steps up before the easel.  The Ego hates it because it knows that these souls are awakening to a call, and that that call comes from a plane nobler than the material one and from a source deeper and more powerful than the physical.

The Ego hates the prophet and the visionary because they propel the race upward.  The Ego hated Socrates and Jesus, Luther and Galileo, Lincoln and JFK and Martin Luther King.”

The Ego Produces Resistance and Attacks the Awakening Artist

The Ego won’t pull any punches.  Neither should you.  Let your inner Artist take a crack at the art of the possible.

After all, it’s your potential, all Ego aside.

Via The War of Art:

“The Ego hates artists because they are the pathfinder and bearers of the future, because each one dares, in James Joyce’s phrases, to ‘forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated consciousness of my race.’

Such evolution is life-threatening to the Ego.  It reacts accordingly.  it summons its cunning, marshals its troops.

The Ego produces Resistance and attacks the awakening artist.”

When your Ego knocks you down, or worse, keeps you from even trying, punch back.

The Ego is just a bully or sometimes fear in disguise.

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Image by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes.


  1. Wow. This is very controversial article. I sometimes wonder whether it is my Ego or lack of Ego that has put me in the position that I am in today. A lot to think about here. Thanks J.D Meier.

    • Pressfield is an amazing author that pushes the envelope.
      He’s definitely found his Muse.

      David Marcum and Steven Smith wrote about how to strike a balance between ego and humility to take things to operate at a higher level:
      egonomics: What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability)

      It’s powerful stuff, and amazingly good insight (Marcum and Smith based their book on 5 years of exhaustive research.)

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