My latest read - 'Obstacle is the Way' Ryan Holiday
I've been highlighting again!
My wife laughs at me with an accepting smile, knowing I'm enjoying the teachings and growing again as a result. That is until I unleash a mountain of quotes the following day and she swiftly reminds me this is my thing, not hers!
Not for a long time has a book been made such an impact as this did. I remember reading some passages and feeling physically moved by the consideration and tone used by Ryan Holiday.
To get full effect you really should grab a copy of the book, but for now here are my highlights and top-takeaways;
1) Remember that this moment is not your life, it's just a moment in your life.
2) Problems are rarely as bad as we think - or rather, they are precisely as bad as we think.
3) If we are to accomplish what we claim are our goals - there is only one way. And that's to meet our problems with the right action;
With a coherent and deliberate process
With strategic vision
With craftiness and savvy
And an eye for opportunity and pivotable moments
Are you ready to get to work?
4) Stay moving, always.
5) Its okay to be discouraged. It's not okay to quit.
6) Great entrepreneurs are:
Never wedded to a position.
Never afraid to lose a little of their investment.
Never bitter or embarrassed.
Never out of the game for long.
They slip many times but never fail.
7) DO YOUR JOB, DO IT WELL
Sometimes on the road to where we are going or where we want to be, we have to do things that we'd rather not do. Often when we are just starting out, our first jobs 'introduce us to the broom'. There's nothing shameful about sweeping. It's just another opportunity to excel and to learn.
8) Whatever we are, whatever we're doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well. That's our primary duty. And our obligation. When action is our priority, vanity falls away.
9) Hard work. Honesty. Helping others best we can.
10) WHATS RIGHT IS WHAT WORKS
We spend a lot of time thinking about how things are supposed to be, or what the rules say we should do. Trying to get it all perfect. We tell ourselves that we'll get started once the conditions are right, or once we're sure we can trust this or that. When, really, it'd be better to focus on making due with what we've got. On focusing on results instead of pretty methods.
Think process, not perfection.
11) USE OBSTACLES AGAINST THEMSELVES
We get so consumed with moving forward that we forget that there are other ways to get where we are heading.
We push and push - to get a raise, a new client etc. In fact, the best way to get what we want might be to reexamine those desires in the first place. Or it might be to aim for something else entirely, and use the impediment as an opportunity to explore a new direction.
12) PREPARE FOR NONE OF IT TO WORK
If someone you love hurts you, there's a chance to practice forgiveness. If your business fails, now you can practice acceptance. If there is nothing else you can do for yourself, at least you can try to help others.
Problems are our chance for us to do our best. Just our best, that's it. Not the impossible.
13) THE DISCIPLINE OF THE WILL
Always prepare ourselves for more difficult times.
Always accept what we're unable to change.
Always manage our expectations.
Always learn to love our fate and what happens to us.
Always protect our inner self, retreat into ourselves.
Always submit to a greater, larger cause.
Always remind ourselves of our own mortality.
And our course, prepare to start the cycle once more.
14) BUILD YOUR INNER CITADEL
This is strikingly similar to what the stoics called the Inner Citadel, that fortress inside of us that no external adversity can ever break down. An important caveat is that we are born with such a structure; it must be built and actively reinforced. During the good times, we strengthen ourselves and our bodies so that during the difficult times, we can depend on it. We protect our inner fortress so it may protect us.
The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher.
15) LOVE EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS - 'AMOR FATI'
At age sixty seven, Thomas Edison returned home early one evening from another day at the laboratory. Shortly after dinner, a man came rushing into his house with urgent news: a fire had broken out at Edison's research and production campus a few miles away. Fire engines from nearby towns rushed to the scene but they could not contain the blaze. Fuelled by the strange chemicals of the various buildings, green and yellow flames shot up six and seven stories, threatening to distort the entire empire Edison had spent his life building. Edison calmly but quickly made his way to the fire, through the now hundreds of onlookers and devastated employees looking for his Son.
'Go get your mother and all her friends,' he told his son with a childlike excitement. 'They'll never see a fire like this again.'
Don't worry Edison calmed him. 'It's all right. We've just got rid of a load of rubbish.'
We don't get to choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it.
Perseverance - With the exercise of self trust, new powers shall appear.
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