June 7, 2020

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday: Why you need to domesticate your emotions and act

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About the Author

Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. When he was 19 years old, he dropped out of college to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power

He had a successful marketing career at American Apparel and went on to found a creative agency called Brass Check, which has advised clients like Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as many prominent bestselling authors, including Neil Strauss, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss.

He is the author of ten books, including Ego Is the EnemyThe Daily StoicConspiracy and Stillness is the Key which have sold more than 2 million copies in thirty languages and have a following among NFL coaches, world-class athletes, TV personalities, political leaders, and others around the world. He spends most of his time on a ranch outside Austin, Texas where he does his writing and work in between raising cattle, donkeys and goats.

Source: https://ryanholiday.net/about/

About the Book

The Obstacle is the Way has become a cult classic, beloved by men and women around the world who apply its wisdom to become more successful at whatever they do.

The book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher.

Ryan Holiday shows us how some of the most successful people in history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—have applied stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.

If you’re feeling frustrated, demoralized, or stuck in a rut, this book can help you turn your problems into your biggest advantages. And along the way, it will inspire you with dozens of true stories of the greats from every age and era.

Source: https://www.amazon.com/

Would you like to take better notes from the books you read?  Get your copy of Archley's beautiful book journal, the Book of Books here: https://www.archleys.com/?ref=JamVyS-U4mVR

Buy the book from The Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Obstacle-is-Way-Ryan-Holiday/9781781251492 /?a_aid=stephsbookshelf

BIG IDEA 1 (5:47) – Invoke the reverse clause.

There’s a quote from the book that says, “The impediment to action advances action, what stands in the way, becomes the way”. Ultimately the obstacle is the way.

Marcus Aurelius, who is talked about in the book, suggests that we need to turn our obstacles upside down and have a way to find another path if necessary.

Stoicism suggests that we have a choice, whether we will move over, around or through the obstacles that appear in our life. One concept in the book is the flank attack on an obstacle – stepping back and finding a new path. Take the line that is least expected which is not always the ideal one but gets us around, over or under the obstacle that is in our way.

BIG IDEA 2 (7:06) – Behaviours and virtues.

If an emotion can’t change the situation, it’s probably unhelpful. This doesn’t mean you can’t feel the emotion – vent, rant or even cry. It is about how you control (or domesticate) your emotions. 

Stoicism is about emotional regulation or control. We need to tame emotions; train them and use them to our advantage.

The virtues of stoicism include patience, courage, humility, resourcefulness, justice, reason and creativity. These are the virtues that you need to have to overcome the obstacles in your way. 

BIG IDEA 3 (8:37) – Act.

The root to overcoming the obstacles is through action. Despite the situation you find yourself in, you have the courage to take action. 

If you fail, that is okay, that’s just feedback that you need a different path and you just have to find a new way. Problems are our chance to do our best. And we shouldn’t assume everything will go well; we should do pre mortem and plan for problems so we know how to react.

External factors influence that path but not the direction. We should always be moving forward. 


See my post about how I use my copy of Archley’s Book of Books here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_OIycvobxU/?igshid=uoytldajyc1d

Listen to the Daily Stoic here: https://dailystoic.com/podcast/

Music By: Arcade Song by Generation Lost

Let’s Connect

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/steph-clarke

Instagram: @stephsbizbookshelf

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