I'm just a reader for a book named 'Ego is the enemy' by Ryan Holiday.

I was reading it, and I couldn't understand this sentences.

The wheels were coming off, or so it felt. To go from wanting to be like someone your whole life to realizing you never want to be like him is a kind of whiplash that you can't prepare for.

-in "ego is the enemy", Ryan Holiday.

Before this paragraph, he has been talking about his failure and his mentors's failure in several company where he devoted himself to work.

My question is, What is 'wheel'? and who is 'someone'? and what does 'your whole life' mean in 2nd sentence? And why can't we prepare for whiplash(realizing)?

1 Answer 1


"The wheels are coming off" is an expression to mean "things are going very badly wrong very quickly" (If the wheels come off your car you crash suddenly)

"Someone" is literal, it is being used as a way of describing oneself:

I am someone who gets up early every day.

"your whole life" is just slightly hyperbolic it means "since a long time ago"

My whole life I've wanted to be a violinist (or literally since I was five).

  • To James K. Thank you, really really much. But I have one another question. "realizing you never want to be like him" in this phrase, what does he intend to express? He means that he realize that he shouldn't be like someone who he has wanted to be? for some reason, such as, because in fact, that 'someone' is wrong or bad in terms of moral or happiness or something, even though it's hard to realize that fact before we really try to accomplish or experience it? Am I right...? Answer to me, please.
    – resibit72
    Dec 7, 2020 at 12:42

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