The Waves Are Not the Ocean

On ego.

John Gorman


Photo by Brett Meliti on Unsplash

I’ve seen the real you. It is not your Audi; it is not your die-cut business card; it is not your perfectly-pressed non-iron button-up. It is inside all of that, yet apart from it.

It’s not your words or your deeds.

It’s not your church or your faith.

It’s not your mood or your health.

It’s not your friends or your family.

It’s not your country, your race, your culture.

It’s not your dreams, your habits, or your history.

It’s not your morning coffee to kick-start your day.

It’s not your ambitions, your achievements, or your failures.

It’s not where you’ve been, where you are, or where you’re going.

It’s not the cut of your bicep, the spare tire around your waist, the medals you’ve won, or the stories you’ve told.

All of the above are waves; you are an ocean.


When we talk about ego, we are talking about an image — not the ocean itself, but a picture of the ocean we make in our minds or the way we see it when we’re standing on the coast.

That picture can change; it looks different to everyone. Hawai’i? Tierra del Fuego? Different … yet all the same.

The ocean is different on a stormy night than it is on a calm morning.

A fisherman sees the ocean as the bringer of life, and a naval soldier sees the ocean as the bringer of death.

If you have a long, happy history of seafaring, you’ll think of the ocean differently than a landlocked soul who has only seen “Jaws.”

All of these are images; that’s the ego — that image of the ocean.

That image is mostly just waves.


We think we’ll prosper by surfing the waves; we think we will tame that ocean.

We will run, write, earn, fuck, fight, chase, drink, love, and laugh to beat back the waves — chasing ever taller crests to conquer.

We will run faster, write longer, earn more, fuck harder, fight bigger, chase farther, drink another one…



John Gorman

Yarn Spinner + Brand Builder + Renegade. Award-winning storyteller with several million served. For inquiries: