Cover of book The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

by: Ryan Holiday

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29 Highlights | 1 Note
  • Not to an audience or for publication but to himself, for himself.
    Note: do this
  • So that setbacks or problems are always expected and never permanent.
  • The power he held never seemed to go to his head—neither did the stress or burden.
  • But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger.
  • Like oxygen to a fire, obstacles became fuel for the blaze that was their ambition.
  • we’re trying to do something really hard and find ourselves outmatched, overstretched, or out of ideas.
  • Ancient philosophy never cared much for authorship or originality—all writers did their best to translate and explain the wisdom of the greats
  • Not: This is not so bad. But: I can make this good.
  • “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
  • All great victories, be they in politics, business, art, or seduction, involved resolving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring.
  • Instead of opposing enemies, we have internal tension. We have professional frustration. We have unmet expectations. We have learned helplessness. And we still have the same overwhelming emotions humans have always had: grief, pain, loss.
  • Objective judgment, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance—now at this very moment—of all external events. That’s all you need. —MARCUS AURELIUS
  • Perception, Action, and the Will.
  • these obstacles are actually opportunities to test ourselves, to try new things, and, ultimately, to triumph.
  • We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are—neither good nor bad.
  • never rising to take the bait or defend himself or get upset).
  • You must realize: Nothing makes us feel this way; we choose to give in to such feelings.
  • Too often we react emotionally, get despondent, and lose our perspective.
  • To be objective To control emotions and keep an even keel To choose to see the good in a situation To steady our nerves To ignore what disturbs or limits others To place things in perspective To revert to the present moment To focus on what can be controlled
  • This can’t harm me—I might not have wanted it to happen, but I decide how it will affect me. No one else has the right.
  • As for us, we face things that are not nearly as intimidating, and then we promptly decide we’re screwed.
  • Everything is falling and crashing down around us, exactly when we feel like we can’t handle any more.
  • Do we stare it down? Ignore it? Blink once or twice and redouble our concentration? Or do we get shaken up? Do we try to medicate these “bad” feelings away?
  • Obstacles make us emotional, but the only way we’ll survive or overcome them is by keeping those emotions in check—if we can keep steady no matter what happens, no matter how much external events may fluctuate.
  • cultivated—freedom from disturbance and perturbation—so you can focus your energy exclusively on solving problems, rather than reacting to them.
  • Real strength lies in the control or, as Nassim Taleb put it, the domestication of one’s emotions, not in pretending they don’t exist. So go ahead, feel it.
  • Just don’t lie to yourself by conflating emoting about a problem and dealing with it. Because they are as different as sleeping and waking.
  • 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 eight nearby towns rushed to the scene, but they could not contain the blaze. Fueled by the strange chemicals in the various buildings,
  • green and yellow flames shot up six and seven stories, threatening to destroy 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 childlike excitement. “They’ll never see a fire like this again.” What?! Don’t worry, Edison calmed him. “It’s all right. We’ve just got rid of a lot of rubbish.”