There’s no better time and book than this… Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way is important for our times.
What a title!
The book anchors on the Stoicism. In it, you’ll see how to use challenging times to thrive and get better instead of complain.
The complaining mind never gets clarity until it settles down to reflect.
One of the favorite stories from the book is about how Thomas Edison lost his entire laboratory to fire… Everything was gone from patents to experimental results to anything you can think about.
Yet, he went on to start again. Instead of morning his loss, he went in same year and amassed more than $10m in profit.
What a life!
There are a few things to keep in mind when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. We must try: to be objective, to control emotions and keep calm, choose to see the good, to focus on what you can control and leave what you can’t.
Few quotes I’ll share from the book:
“We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.”
“Defiance and acceptance come together well in the following principle: There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up. No one said it would be easy and, of course, he stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take it.”
“When you worry, ask yourself, ‘What am I choosing to not see right now?’ What important things are you missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom?” – Gavin De Becker in The Gift of Fear
“The phrase, ‘This happened and it is bad’ is actually two impressions. The first – ‘This happened’ – is objective. The second – ‘it is bad’ – is subjective.”
“Musashi understood that the observing eye sees simply what is there. The perceiving eye sees more than what is there.”
“Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.”
“Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”
“Our perceptions determine, to an incredibly large degree, what we are and are not capable of. In many ways, they determine reality itself. When we believe in the obstacle more than the goal, which will inevitably triumph?”
“There is good in everything if only we look for it.”—Laura Ingalls Wilder
“The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is the advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”
“Once you see the world as it is, for what it is, you must act.”
“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”
“The only way you’ll do something spectacular is by using it all to your advantage.”
“Remember and remind yourself of a a phrase favored by Epictetus: ‘persist and resist.’ Persists in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder.
“We don’t choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it.”
“Persistence is an action. Perseverance is a matter of will. One is energy. The other, endurance.”